Thoughts on Same-Sex Marriage

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Thoughts on Same-Sex Marriage

22 July 2015 Hits:46773

Someone accused me on Facebook recently of “being quiet” on the issue of same-sex marriage. While that’s not been the case, I have chosen not to engage in the vitriolic rants and raves between Christians and LGBTI people.

It appears to me that some Christians are dug down in one trench and some LGBTI people in an opposite trench and they’re just shooting at one another.  I’d like to declare a ceasefire – shooting at each other is achieving nothing other than causing hatred and anger to be stirred up – and the Christians should stop firing first!  I can’t see anywhere in the Bible that teaches God sent His Son into the world to raise up a people to be the world’s moral police.  In fact, He sent His Son for just the opposite of that – to bring peace, forgiveness, salvation, redemption, grace and new beginnings.

Firstly, let me clearly state my views on Biblical/Christian marriage.  In Matthew 19 some religious leaders asked Jesus about marriage and divorce.  In reply He took them right back to the beginning of the Book (Genesis 1:27; 5:2), “Haven’t you read … that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”  When you read the account of God’s creation of people you find that God created people in His image: “in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  It appears that God divided His nature between male and female so that the coming together of a man and a woman in marriage would be a coming together of the complete image of God hence “the two will become one.”  No other human relationship can reflect the image of God in the way a heterosexual marriage can.

In Ephesians chapter five the apostle Paul speaks of marriage between a man and a woman as symbolising the relationship between Jesus and the church: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church” (31-32).  No other human relationship can reflect the connection between Jesus and the church in the way a heterosexual marriage can.  On the basis of these – and other parts of the Bible – I believe the current definition of marriage, in the Australian Marriage Act, accurately reflects a Biblical and thus Christian view of marriage.

I believe that’s the ideal, but, we live in a far from ideal world.  Just consider again the context of Matthew 19 – a discussion on marriage and divorce.  Jesus makes it abundantly clear that a man and woman are to come together in marriage for life.  I don’t believe most people go into marriage thinking it won’t last – although there seem to be some these days who see marriage as a ten-year lease with an option to extend!  People marry with a view to staying together.  That’s the ideal, but we live in a far from ideal world.  Many people have suffered the pain of a failed marriage and all that that entails.  The church has had to work through this issue over the years and many have come to a place where divorced people are no longer viewed as second-class citizens (for more on this refer to my blog on Divorce and Remarriage.

So, with that in mind, here are some of my thoughts on the same-sex marriage debate:

1. The church doesn’t own marriage in Australia (and many other nations) – the government does.  Christians have as much of a right as anyone else to share their views on same-sex marriage, but it will ultimately be a government decision because the government owns marriage.  As Senator Barnaby Joyce rightly said, “In life, not everybody gets what they want.”  In this debate there are going to be some people who will ultimately be disappointed.

2. Many people in our society do not hold to a Biblical worldview so they simply do not understand, agree with, or want to abide by what some churches and Christians teach.

3. It is my opinion that the Western Church often idolises marriage in a way the Bible doesn’t.  Being single-minded for the Kingdom of God is the emphasis of the New Testament (1Cor. 7).  Think of Jesus, Paul and Barnabas who were all single.  I was 35 when I got married and the pressure placed on me by well-meaning married people to get married was, at times, unbearable.  I feel deeply for single people who are often put under an unnecessary burden because of the Church’s unbiblical view of the importance of marriage.  We are not married to marriage as an institution, we get married to someone we love and choose to spend the rest of our lives with to the exclusion of all others!

4. One of the challenges I’ve had with some of the “Christian” arguments against same-sex marriage has concerned what’s best for the children.  Statements have been made such as, “Children deserve to be brought up by their biological mother and father.”  True.  That’s the ideal.  But when I hear this said my heart goes out to single parents (as well as those who can’t have children) who wanted the ideal only to find out that it wasn’t possible in their case.  I greatly admire single parents who are doing their best in the toughest of circumstances.  They need our support not our ill thought through arguments.

5. Predictions of the downfall of heterosexual marriages if same-sex marriage is introduced are nothing short of ridiculous.  If your marriage and family is so unstable that two men or two women getting married will destroy yours, then you are already in deep trouble.  As for the Christian couple from Canberra who said they’d divorce if same-sex marriage were legalised – you really did a great job of letting Aussies know what the Gospel is all about hey?

6. Please let’s stop using the “slippery slope” argument.  James Dobson, a man I’ve admired for many years as the founder of Focus on the Family, made this disappointing statement on his radio program in February 2013 in the context of same-sex marriage, “How about group marriage? Or marriage between daddies and little girls? Or marriage between a man and his donkey? Anything allegedly linked to civil rights will be doable, and the legal underpinnings for marriage will have been destroyed. Now, that’s more or less a prophecy. Not a divine prophecy, but a prediction.”  This sort of statement makes Christians and the church look and sound ludicrous in the eyes of the broader community.  As for bestiality, until donkeys – or any other animal – learn to write so they can sign their marriage documents I think we’re fairly safe!  James Dobson’s statement perpetuates the “slippery slope” argument that is used in all sorts of ethical disputes.  If we allow “this” then “that” will be the automatic consequence.  But that’s not necessarily true.  I believe the words “to the exclusion of all others” will still be in the Marriage Act so there will be no room for polygamy, polyandry, polyamory, pedophilia, bestiality or any other relationship outside of TWO PEOPLE to be legalised.

7. Everyone is created in the image of God and deserves to be given the dignity of that reality.  A common theme in the Bible is “Love your neighbour as yourself.” This statement is mentioned 9 times in Scripture. In Galatians 5:14 the apostle Paul says “The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In other words, everything from Genesis to Malachi – all of the 602,585 words – can be summed up in just 5 words. In James 2:8 “Love your neighbor as yourself” is called “The royal law.”  That means this is the most important commandment in the entire Bible.  What does “love your neighbour as yourself” look like when that neighbour is gay or lesbian, transgender, bisexual or intersex? Christian compassion must lead us to see what life is like in someone else’s shoes.  What is it like:

  • To be attracted to the same-sex?
  • To feel like you’re stuck in the wrong body?
  • To be born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male?

8. How would you want to be treated if that was you?  Have you ever chatted with someone who is not heterosexual and asked them what life is like for them?  Jesus’ Golden Rule is, ““Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.”  The apostle John put it this way, “let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”  You say you love gay people?  Show them!  As Brian Stevenson says in his amazing book Just Mercy, “You can’t understand most of the important things from a distance … you have to get close.”  It seems to me that there is massive ignorance in the church – and amongst Christians – on human sexuality.  This often leads to fear, generalisations and unkind comments.  Christians and churches need to do their homework and educate themselves on the complexity and variety of sexuality – especially on that which falls outside of heterosexuality.

For more on this aspect listen to my message “Real Christianity is accepting”.  The Christian message is not predominately a message of morality; it is a message of redemption.  Now redemption should lead to morality but I think we sometimes get the cart before the horse.  We build walls instead of bridges and keep people out of the kingdom because of our “moral” stand just like the Pharisees did.  Read Matthew chapter 23 and see how unimpressed Jesus was with this kind of attitude.

9. Christians and the straight community haven’t done a great job at looking after “Biblical” marriage.  Think of the massive divorce rates, the prevalence of domestic violence (most of which occurs in straight relationships), rampant infidelity and child abuse (children are most likely to be abused or neglected by parents).  The Catholic church, and to a lesser extent other churches and Christian schools, has turned a blind eye to the abuse of children for decades, hence it’s very hard for the un-churched community to listen to the church’s defense of traditional marriage and morals when its been so neglectful and hypocritical itself.  Further, it appears to me that some in the church seem to only defend the first part of the definition of marriage not the second part. That is met with silence: “Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.”  We hear a lot about the “man and a woman” bit but nothing about “voluntarily entered into for life.”  Where’s the Church’s voice speaking out on arranged or forced marriages, domestic violence & child abuse in heterosexual relationships, and the epidemic of divorce and remarriage?  For more on this refer to my blog Marriage Under Threat.

10. The Bible teaches a hierarchy of ethics – that is, a higher law will cancel out a lower one.  What is the higher law in regards to same-sex marriage? Would it encourage greater monogamy amongst LGBTI people who want to be together for life?  What about the 33,700 same-sex couples in Australia as per the last Census?  Further to this, if same-sex marriage is legalised how will local churches respond to two men or two women who want to come and discover the grace of God as expressed in Jesus?  Should the church make this conditional on the two people ending their relationship?  What if they have children – should the church break up a family?  What is that the highest law in these situations?  These are all questions that churches and Christians need to think through very carefully.

11.  If marriage is a right then it also has responsibilities. On this “right’ Senator Nick Xenophon said, “Gays have every right to be as miserable as heterosexuals.”  I appreciate his humour but of course in every joke there is a grain of truth.  Marriage is wonderful, exciting, mundane, enjoyable, frustrating, difficult, rewarding and just plain hard work.  If same-sex marriage is legalised I hope gay and lesbian people will do a better job managing its responsibilities than many straight couples have done.

12. Can we Christians please stop making stereotypical comments about LGBTI people?  Remarks about “The gay lifestyle” and “The gay agenda” are incorrect and hurtful.  Gays and lesbians are as diverse as straight people.  Yes, there are radical gay people who have a strong political agenda.  Of course there are no Christians who are like that right?  I’ve met gay people who don’t even want same-sex marriage as they consider it a heterosexual institution.  For most LGBTI people their “agenda” is to get up in the morning, have breakfast, go to work, meet with friends, love their families, make a difference for good where they can, laugh, cry, deal with heartache, pay bills – any of that sound familiar?

Having said these things I will finish by voicing some of my concerns if and when same-sex marriage is legalised:

I’m concerned at the removing (or confusing) of the terms “husband” and “wife.”  I’m told that redefining marriage means changing the Marriage Act to remove these terms.  I am concerned that this will cause confusion.  Many couples in common law relationships currently refer to each other as “partners.”  Would this term not suffice for people in same-sex marriages? Why not allow “husband” and “wife” to remain as terms to indicate men and women in a heterosexual marriage?

I’m concerned that we will lose some terms altogether.  For example, in Spain, birth certificates use the expressions “progenitor A” and “progenitor B” in place of mother and father.  Canada has removed the concept of “natural parent” from its laws and Sweden seeks to remove the terms “boy” and “girl”, replacing them with one term.

I’m concerned that there could be an increase in lawsuits against those who, because of conscience or faith, cannot endorse, or provide services for, a same-sex union.  I’m concerned that refusing service may lead to people being punished under anti-discrimination laws.  Currently none of the bills on same-sex marriage offer enough protection of religious freedom and individual conscience.  Any legislation needs to be carefully drafted to give religious exemptions.  Similar immunities need to be provided to religious colleges, schools and social-service agencies.  Religious institutions and schools should not be punished if they teach their own beliefs about marriage.  And these provisions should also be provided for the protection of LGBTI people too.  For example, in much of the US a gay publicist can refuse to provide services for an anti-gay event – and rightly so.

Of course, if we all respected one another then this sort of legislation would be unnecessary – but there we are back in that ideal world again.

 

 ABOUT ROB BUCKINGHAM

Rob Buckingham is the founding pastor of Bayside Church, a thriving community of faith located in the Bayside suburbs of Melbourne.  Welcoming people from all walks of life, Bayside Church invites all people to experience the Christian faith and God.  For more information about Bayside Church:

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56 replies on “Thoughts on Same-Sex Marriage”

Grant Kirbysays:

Rob, it is inconsistent to label those Christians trying to preserve the current marriage laws as “moral police” when your blog sets out how you would try and preserve certain rights and tenents in the law. We either stay out of the debate or we enter it. If you enter it, then you also assert your views which can be construed as moral, so it is unfair of you to accuse those who seek to preserve the maariage laws of being moral police.

I think it is wise to state your view without criticising other Christians because by doing so you inadvertently set the standard by which you will be assessed (notice that I did not use the word judged because I read your blog on that subject, which I appreciated).
Grant Kirby

Rob Buckinghamsays:

Thanks for your comments Grant. Maybe you could read the blog again. I haven’t labeled some Christians as moral police. I stated that that was not God’s purpose in sending His Son. I have not criticised other Christians in my blog either.

Christine Hanleysays:

Rob, you may wish to change your criticism of Christians using the ‘slippery slope’ argument!
We now have polygamy, beastiality and pedophilia all waiting in the wings. Actually actively pushing the doors open! Pastors who thought they might not enter the battle but rather allow those on the front line deal with it will soon be targets! Everyday I read of pastors and leaders in schools being taken to court because they refuse to play along with the games of the cultural marxists! Church has hidden itself away long enough – it’s time to enter the battle with truth and compassion instead of leaving it to the Lyle Shelton’s of this world and the stop Safe school lobbyists who are making a difference in protecting your children in schools around your state! A little bit of help from pastors would go a long way! Porteous – what a brave man!

Naomisays:

How about Dr. James Dobson?
You were ‘disappointed’ with his comments.
Or the Christians in Canberra re divorce? Not that I agree with there stance.
They are entitled to their opinions as well as yourself, especially in the case of the
much respected Dr Dobson who helps millions of families throughout his ministry.

David Perrysays:

Thanks Rob for an intelligent contribution. Many non-Christians view the traditional Christian opposition to gay marriage as blinkered and bigoted. If I was running the PR campaign for the opposition I would be changing tack! The trend does seem to be pointing in one direction globally. Time to engage

Lyn Bourkesays:

Hi Rob, I have to say I feel for anyone being asked to express their thoughts on some of these controversial subjects where every one has a different view. After reading you first paragraph my thoughts were ‘are the people who are stating that you are quiet, the same ones that want to disagree with your views, or are they just interested in hearing what you have to say. I now have the mind thought about views …. ‘are they saving souls?’ I always remember your comment from the pulpit something like …. ‘the church should be known for what they believe in not what they are against.’ I hope you don’t get too much flack from this one after all you are ‘just giving the people what they want’ blessings and favour Lyn Bourke

Vivsays:

Thanks for such balanced insight Rob, it’s very much appreciated.

Bless you dear Brother

Steve Morrisonsays:

Thank you Ps Rob for your very thorough and thoughtful paper. I for one appreciate it very much.

Philip Strausssays:

Absolutely stunning blog. Great Scriptural reference with Holy Spirit revelation. Enjoyed it thoroughly Ps. Rob. Stay blessed from the Bay CFC.

Janettesays:

Thank you for your thoughts. I agree with most of what you’ve said. As a Bible believing Christian I cannot celebrate the legalization of what is a sin however there are many other sins which are also legal. With the separation of church and state I agree that the church doesn’t own marriage in the way in which it relates to the laws of a country. Keeping biblical morals out of it, why shouldn’t gay/lesbian marriages be allowed.

My concern though and where I disagree is with Dr. Dobson’s comments about a slippery slope. While it is illogical to disallow something because it might allow something else, I do feel he has a valid point. By the same reasoning that marriage be extended to same-sex couples, why shouldn’t it be extended to polygamy or incest? I agree that animals can’t sign marriage licenses and thus that seems a little far fetched but what reasoning could a government give to allow same-sex union but not polygamy? Incest runs the risk of defects in children but other than that, how is it that we can open the definition of marriage up and not allow a person freedom to marry whomever they please? The family as God intended it has been in trouble for awhile and I only see things getting worse.

I also greatly fear for Bible-believing Christians – will it be considered a hate crime to teach your children that homosexuality is a sin? Will a minister be forced to perform same-sex marriages on the grounds of anti-discrimination? Lastly, will churches be forced to accept memberships from same-sex couples whom by continuing in that lifestyle indicate severe problems with their faith? (as does unfaithfulness and many other sins in which Christians are to gently rebuke each other in)

The church doesn’t own marriage | NSW Council of Churchessays:

[…] for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 26 July 2015 In the debate on marriage reform, one recent contribution especially caught my eye, an article by the pastor of Melbourne’s Bayside Church, Rob […]

Kim Grittensays:

great blog mate but there are now some other concerns for Christians. 1) There has now been a move to legislate alternate sexuality lessons into junior primary school lessons. 2) Discrimination laws that will accompany this legislation will also pav the way for homosexuals to bring action against any Christian Schools that have an employment policy that prevents them from gaining Teaching or other employment there

Peter Sandemansays:

Thank you for the extremely well reasoned statement, it’s a very useful contribution to my thinking this issue through.

Lisa Perkssays:

Hi! Thanks so much for this. Some great points made. However, I find there is an important element of the discussion missing on same sex relationships…. Human rights. At present the discrimination against gay households is extensive. Many financial and welfare benefits that heterosexual households are given are not provided to same sex households, this includes those with children and ex veterans. For a look into this go to http://www.humanrights.gov.au same sex- same entitlement report.
Gay people deserve exactly the same human rights as straight. Period. They are not sub human and society needs to stop treating them as such. By legalising marriage there would be no choice but for the government and welfare system to provide these people the same support as those in heterosexual marriages. Please church, understand that these folks are precious to God – yes just as precious as you!

Rob Buckinghamsays:

“Gay people deserve exactly the same human rights as straight. Period.” spot on Lisa, I totally agree.

Bensays:

Lisa, this issue has been addressed already:
http://www.ag.gov.au/RightsAndProtections/HumanRights/Pages/Samesexreforms.aspx
“Following the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report Same-Sex: Same Entitlements and an audit of Commonwealth legislation in 2009, 85 Commonwealth laws were amended to eliminate discrimination against same-sex couples and their children.”
The debate is now entirely about whether a coupling that has never been entitled to the term ‘marriage’ now has the ‘right’ to co-opt it. While I personally have no desire to be the ‘moral police’, I would prefer to live in a world where what I teach my children about sexuality is not considered a hate/thought crime, hence I am politically engaged to stop the conditions that would bring this about.

Ron Smithsays:

Lisa What if your children turned out to be gay? Wouldn’t your teaching of your views on traditional marriage do an incredible amount of harm?

Achillessays:

Lisa,
The right to change the marriage definition of a country is not a human right… at least not one which I have.
Every area of discrimination which affects same-sex couples was removed back in 2008 – includes Medicare, superannuation, tax, etc. Some 85 federal laws were changed to completely remove all discrimination against same sex couples in Australia.

See http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/samesex-discrimination-removed/2008/11/24/1227491465110.html

https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/programs-services/recognition-of-same-sex-relationships

I worked in the public service and the word ‘spouse’ in de facto was changed throughout all documentation in my department to refer also to same-sex couples. (Imagine the time and cost!)

However you are absolutely right to value human rights – what is at stake in Australia right now are the essential freedoms of belief, conscience and speech for ALL Aussies. All these come under attack by changing the marriage definition.
I was recently at a peaceful public gathering in Canberra to discuss safe schools. A counter protest by Safe schools lgbt were present. They screamed and swore at the speakers and those gathering for almost an hour!! A favourite chant was “f##k you bigots”. it is a wake up call when a mum who is concerned for her child in safe school program, cannot speak in public without being screamed and sworn at. Aussie freedoms too precious to lose! Vote FOR human rights and vote NO!

Rev. Barbara Grantsays:

i too believe in love your neighbour and would always respect people who are gay , however i also believe in the word of God and I think the Bible makes that abundantly clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. .
Maybe Civil services can be made without crossing the word of God. I don’t know.

Annasays:

Very interesting reading for me as I work with GLBTI and in an area resounding the rights for same sex marriage. I look at the quality of many of the GLBTI folks and they admit that their relationships are “very loose” and “playing the field” common. The gay guys “loathe” the lesbians and vice versa. The gay guys tend to look down on heterosexuals who “don’t understand them” and I will even say I find them notably immature in their behaviour always looking to shock. I have been referred to as “bitch” for being Christian and heterosexual. And when I look into the face of the transgender I see vulnerability and confusion. However I retain respect for this group known as GLBTI but I don’t find they reciprocate.
These are my views from working closely with this group known as GLBTI for over 5 years.
(I have witheld my own name to avoid confrontation from those who know me).

Marksays:

There is so very much wrong with this message, it would take a chapter of a book to deal with. So let’s just focus on one thing that’s fairly central:

“The Christian message is not predominately a message of morality; it is a message of redemption.”

How does a pastor write this nonsense? How does redemption make any sense without a moral standard that has first been failed to adhere to? Let’s be clear, when one reads the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus doesn’t ignore or lower the moral standards of the Old Testament – He *raises* them.

Rob, that’s more than enough to reject your entire essay as useful Christian teaching. The gospel isn’t good news without first sinners knowing that they have a punishment that their lies, adultery, thieving etc. need saving from. This is just a basic understanding laying the foundation of importance for Christ’s work on the cross as an atoning sacrifice.

I personally think you need to stop imbibing so much of the world’s philosophies into your teaching, it’s so obviously informed 98% from the world and precious little from scripture.

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” Rom 3:23-24

Please stop only teaching one half of this. In order to talk about saving from sin, one needs to define what sin is.

Christians who oppose the destruction of marriage care a great deal about people and this country, more than you could possibly appreciate it seems. Copping flak, distortions and lies from fellow believers is not helpful to say the least.

Rob Buckinghamsays:

Thanks for your comments Mark but you’ve misquoted me.

“The Christian message is not predominately a message of morality; it is a message of redemption.” Why do you stop there when I go on to say, “Now redemption should lead to morality but I think we sometimes get the cart before the horse. We build walls instead of bridges and keep people out of the kingdom because of our “moral” stand just like the Pharisees did.

Because we are all sinners we all need to be redeemed and when this happens God begins a process called “Sanctification” in which we progressively are changed into His image. My concern is that we sometimes get this the wrong way around. We expect sinners not to sin and we try and clean people up before they come to know Jesus. That is all I was attempting to communicate in that point.

My blog just reflects some of my thoughts on this subject Mark. There’s plenty of Scripture in it and I could have supplied plenty more but I figured it was long enough as it was. My attempt, however feeble and imperfect, is to try and engage with this topic – and with precious people who Jesus died for – in order to reach out with the Good News of God¹s grace.

As for what I teach – one blog is never going to encapsulate everything. I have 100s of sermons online at http://www.baysidechurch.com.au covering a huge number of subjects including messages that address the other points you raise in your comments. Feel free to access any of them any time. God bless you. Rob

Marksays:

(Please understand I did try to make this as short as possible)

Rob, I didn’t misquote you, the best you could say is I tried to pull you out of context, but even that wouldn’t be accurate. I did read the rest of what you wrote originally, but it doesn’t address my argument, which is why I ignored it.

Your answer talks about afterwards, I am talking about what happens *before*. My point is that our moral failings bring us to a point where we see the need for Christ, who redeems us. Without moral standards (such as even lying and thieving) upheld prominently, we all make up our own ideas, we will declare we are not sinners, and there is no need for the Good News. Like the saying goes, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it!

But we *are* broken, profoundly so. The first words uttered by Jesus in His ministry were “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 4:17) Redemption comes after repentance, so respectfully I think you could stand to consider who is putting the cart before the horse.

No one would see the need for a parachute until you first understand the plane you are on is doomed. No one would see the need for life-saving medicine if they aren’t first told they have a terminal disease. The biggest barrier to conversion is a person convinced they are OK as they are. Talking about sin is essential for a proper presentation of the gospel.

Without a sexual morality upheld – which Jesus did – from the Old Testament – and even made it higher, nobody will ever regard anything they do as sin in that realm. Your explanation refers to the process of sanctification that happens *after* people accept Christ, but avoids the fact the sexual moral standard is the same for all, just as lying and stealing aren’t moral for the Christian and non-Christian alike. The fact Christians generally should mature in faith and grow apart from sin avoids the issue here. Moral law is the schoolmaster that brings us to Christ, (Gal 3:24) who is the only one who can save us.

If Christianity is reduced to just a nice lifestyle choice rather than the act of a repentant sinner realising how far they have fallen short (again, Romans 3:23 is applicable) and therefore desperately and gratefully accepting the only lifeline into heaven, you will generally get fake conversions that will fall away when the going gets tough. People need to understand how bad their sin is before a perfect, holy and righteous God.

To be sure, talking about sin isn’t popular, but that’s part of the reason Jesus was hated (and still is) and ultimately crucified.

And I am well aware of some of the other things you have said on this subject (I have taken time to avail myself of some of them in the past and been extremely disappointed as I was with this) – but this answer is already longer than I wished it to be.

Rob Buckinghamsays:

Thanks for your reply Mark. I don’t disagree with what you’ve said, in fact I wrote about this yesterday for next week’s Bayside Church Devotional Podcast:

He (Paul) then speaks about the first of four purposes of the Jewish Law:

1. The Law declares the whole world guilty
Romans 3:19, “all the world may become guilty before God.”
No one can obey the law all the time, so we are all lawbreakers who stand guilty before God.

2. The law gives us knowledge of sin
Romans 3:20, “…through the law we become conscious of sin.” If it weren’t for laws we wouldn’t know what was right and what was wrong.

3. The law gives place to the justice of God
Romans 4:15, “…law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.”
When we break a law, justice says that it is right for the lawbreaker to be punished. When we break God’s laws He is just and righteous in punishing us.

4. The law leads us to Jesus Christ our Saviour
Knowing that we are guilty of breaking God’s laws and deserve to be punished leads us to the wonderful news of God’s grace expressed through Jesus, “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known…this righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe…all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-23)

For more on this read my blog, “The purpose of the Law”
http://baysidechurch.com.au/the-purpose-of-the-law/

Garth Penglasesays:

I find your piece disingenuous, Rob, as is your response to Mark.
Simply put, we need redemption because we are sinners and have sinned. We all know that the law shows us that, and grace save us from it. But you would have Christians be silent on matters of morality which Christ was not silent on, and which John the Baptist lost his head over. Not only does His church, the Body of Christ, need to have a voice on issues of morality for this reason, but also to eschew standing silent about such matters that drives persecution of Christians and in doing so be complicit with those who speak and carry out evil. A nation whose rulers uphold God’s laws will be blessed and the opposite will cause the people to moan in their anguish and oppression.

Now, if you railed against those that call themselves Christians and simply wish to condemn those outside of Christ, instead of showing a loving response of instructing those of the world on what God’s will is and what God’s plan and purpose for them are, then I would be strongly with you, as it is the law itself which condemns them, as it did with us when we were not in the Lord. Moreover, if you rallied those Christians who stand against the immorality of the day to encourage them to remain above the name-calling and stone-throwing, I would applaud your every word.

But it seems you are effectively calling Christians to lay down their arms in a spiritual war.

Rob Buckinghamsays:

Thanks for your comments Garth. The intention of my blog is not to silence Christians. I don’t think I said that at all. The intention is to encourage Christians to engage in a way that reflects the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives – gentleness, kindness & self control always work well. Christians have as much right to speak up as anyone else but we should always do it well, reflecting the kindness, tolerance and patience of God that leads people to repentance.

Johnsays:

Pastor Rob, I understand that this is a very difficult piece to write and commend you for the strength of character it takes to speak openly about this highly controversial topic and for the God-given grace exhibited freely throughout your commentary.

I found this a very balanced piece of work and you have done a wonderful job of conveying your own views and concerns while maintaining acceptance, love and the forward-thinking necessary to deal with these issues in an increasingly complicated world.

I am particularly concerned about the legislative move to abolish certain words from the Act (and indeed, at least in other countries, seemingly from the vocabulary itself) and fear the consequences of this legislation, as would many of your readers . A husband is a husband and a wife is a wife as conveyed by thousands of years of both tradition and etymology and whilst legislation may contribute to a change in usage, it should not seek to remove such words from use merely to satisfy “political correctness”. To those same-sex couples who wish to be in a relationship, “partner” should suffice.

Your concerns about the loss of certain civil liberties is cause for apprehension. Where one view ultimately wins, the opposing view is at risk of no longer even being allowed to be voiced without the threat of litigation.

However, despite all other concerns, compassion, humility and love must prevail. Jesus’ commandment (Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31) to “Love your neighbour as yourself” sets the tone for our thoughts. Rather than highlighting the “sin” of homosexuality, it may be prudent to ponder the “sin” of judgementalism (referred to by our Lord in Matthew 7:1 and in John 8:7 where he challenges those without sin to cast the first stone). We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Thank you for taking a stance, Pastor Rob and thank you for the grace that abides at Bayside that welcomes people of all walks of life.

Rob Buckinghamsays:

Hi John. Thank you so much for your thoughts and gracious comments.

Edsays:

Obviously there’s no justifying vitriol and hate but the way you word this makes it sound like you are implying that on anyone who voices their views. You make some valid points, though your trench warfare analogy is off the mark if you take account of the U.S. situation. Christians there have been subjected to full on attacks from many fronts, not just from the LGBTQIA community, but also their progressive liberal supporters, many in the entertainment industries and mainstream media, the ruling Democrats and now, it seems, more than half of the Supreme Court.

Personally, the “slippery slope” argument seems logical, at least to some degree. One of the dissenting US Supreme court judges argued that it opened the door to polygamy. After all there are large LDS and Islamic communities in the US and what about the B-party of the LGBTQIA community? Why should they be restricted in expressing their sexuality with a single partner of one gender only? Though, I totally agree about not wanting to make Christians and the church look and sound any more ludicrous in the eyes of the broader community. The likes of Harold Camping, Todd Bentley, the Westboro crew and those wacky TBN money-grabbers are doing enough already.

I hadn’t heard of the hierarchy of ethics. Was that the great theologian Maslow? It seems a bit odd that obeying a higher rule/law/ethic can somehow offset a sin. I don’t get it but then again I haven’t studied theology.

Also, it seems intriguing and quite ironic that lesbians & gays say that God made them that way and it is good, at least those who believe in a God, yet they ally themselves with trans-genders whose presupposition is that God messed up. Can anyone really have confidence in such a God?

You are correct in stating that there are radical gay people who have strong political agendas. While they may be a minority in the LGBTQIA community, I suspect they have majority in-principle support. Then they garner support from the progressive left giving them a very loud and effective marketing department.

As for your concerns, I’d say you’ve got “Buckleys”. Why should there be any difference in terminology for spouses or progeny? That would be contrary to the whole idea of marriage and gender equality. As for discrimination and religious freedom, regardless of protective laws, the publicity alone is often enough to render someone unemployable or send a business to the wall. It might only take a drop of 10-20% in activity for a small business to become insolvent and that’s aside from any legal action which they probably can’t afford anyway.

You might also be interested to know, if you don’t already, there’s lobbying by U.S. LGBTQIA activists and their progressive friends to have the tax exempt status removed for all churches, not just those that don’t toe the line with gay marriage.

I suspect the end results will be similar for Australia so get ready to either celebrate or prepare damage contingency plans, depending on which side you are on.

Jeffrey Poolsays:

It is certainly interesting that Rob Buckingham’s very popular in the writings of GLBT. We see a beautiful photo of Rob with the former Pentecostal pastor, Anthony Venn Brown, who clearly gave him a reward in 2009 for his sermon. My concern is that ‘acceptance’ and ‘welcome’ means that the once sound counselling, provided to Christians struggling with their sexuality, has now been abandoned. Anthony Venn Brown states that sexuality is internal, and not a lust needed to be controlled. He sweeps away the thought that those struggling with sexuality may have been sexually abused, and that suicide is a result of requiring GLBT to ‘repent’. It has been suggested, too, that Rob Buckingham has not blogged, until recently, because he was forced to remove such as blog by Christian City Church a few years earlier.

It is a shame that Rob Buckingham states “the church doesn’t own marriage in Australia”. But, does that mean the first marriage was not created by God in Genesis and that God did not create Eve to be a companion of Adam? As Christie Buckingham would remember in Youth Alive rallies conducted by Mal Fletcher, the most famous lines uttered by Mal was ‘God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’.

We know that Penny Wong worships at a Uniting Church in South Australia. Its emphasis is on social justice, but I wonder whether they believe the Bible is merely a nice bunch of stories to be interpreted in whatever way the minister feels? She has now forced Bill Shorten to silence the Labor party members who may protest that marriage is, Biblically, between a man and a woman. Did this insistence stem from her acquiantance with the Uniting Church she worships in; and are we called, as believers who state that the Bible is God’s revelation through a variety of prophets over hundreds of years, to look at the state of the nation and interpret scripture in that light?
Yes, Rob Buckingham, there are great single parents out there. Heterosexuals have rejected church and marriage. Lust is rampant in Australia today, and, yes, young men still suicide. But, is it because we have ‘misinterpreted’ scriptures and been ‘unloving’ by saying that homosexual relationships are a sin just as much as heterosexual defacto relationships and childbearing outside the boundaries of holy matrimony? Do we help Jesus by accepting awards from rogue Pentecostal pastors who set up their own organisations (eg. ABBI) to justify their decision to leave their wife, coach others struggling with their sexuality to divorce and write letters to their wives to ‘forget them’; and to show the world the insignificance of heterosexual marriage?

As for me, I will welcome same sex seekers into the church I attend. I will continue to state that sexuality is a choice, and that Paul and Peter both write for Christians to be ‘self controlled’. I shall also pray that Labor reverses its ultimatum to its Federal members, and that Pentecostal pastors will not be enticed by former evangelists such asAnthony Venn Brown, who counsel those struggling with same sex feelings to ‘true to self’ and write letters to their wives and children that their sexuality matters more to them than their previous marriage vows.

Rob Buckinghamsays:

Thanks for your comments Jeffrey. Your question, “does that mean the first marriage was not created by God in Genesis and that God did not create Eve to be a companion of Adam?” No, I never suggested that. In fact in my blog I affirm marriage between a man and a woman as God’s idea from the beginning. Re-read the third paragraph. My statement, “the church doesn’t own marriage in Australia” is absolutely true. I am an ordained Christian minister but I have no power, separate to the state of Victoria, to solemnise a marriage. The state owns marriage NOT the church.

Ron Smithsays:

Thanks Rob. I am a former Baptist Pastor and Missionary, now retired. Still married to my wife for over 44 years. But I am gay, medically proven during electronic shock therapy organized by the President of the Baptist Church with the promise it would change me. It was driven automatically by measuring body temperatures of a persons private parts when seeing about 1000 pictures of men and 1000 pictures of women over about 10 days. When my body temperature rose when I saw the guys which is natural for me, they delivered high voltages of electricity through wires that were also attached. It didn’t work. The machine never recorded anything when I saw all those pictures of nude women. There isn’t anything anyone can do to alter the outcome of those tests. I am not sexually active, but 44 years is a long time to pretend to be someone I am not sexually active. God created me gay and I am now proud of that.
At church, I was told I was not good enough to turn up for a working bee, be on the cleaning roster or to help take up the offering. But when I was told I was not welcome to even attend church, I left the church, and I shall never return. Enough is enough.

Comments here about Christians here feeling they will be the victims when gay marriage is eventually passed, makes me smile. For centuries the victims of extreme physical violence, discrimination and abuse have definitely been the gay community.
“Love does no harm to its neighbour”. Rom 13:10

The entire medical profession declassified homosexuality as an illness 42 years ago this year.

I strongly support gay marriage. Loving committed monogamous gay marriage is not condemned in scripture anywhere. Celibacy is not mandated in scripture anywhere. For a gay Christian who holds the traditional view of marriage, the very WORST thing that can happen is to fall in love. They must walk away heart broken, and that has to happen every single time for their entire life. Something is terribly wrong.

Gay marriage was passed in the UK a few years ago. In 2014, the Baptist Church assembly resolved that any church could conduct gay marriages, without fear of being disciplined. Things change.
Many thanks again Rob.

Dansays:

Ron smith sir, reading your life story breaks my heart that you were made to feel that is what you needed to do, in order to be worthy of life. What a blessing is time and place ,to be greatful for the little things in life is to be blessed. You have mastered your self control which must have blessed you in innumerable ways. I believe God lives through us and our experience and has felt your struggles every step of the way every joy and sorrow and that your experience was crucial for the collective concious evolution. Your perseverance in this lifetime is heaven unto itself. I’m gay came out about 18 I have had two relationships in my life one for 5 years were I learned how to love we got together when I was just 18 and he 26 I was not really ready for the commitment he wanted and deserved so we parted amicably and I will hold him in a place of respect and love forever ,I spent a year or two alone and then got into another relationship with a wonderful man who has made me a better person and even though he also is a bit older than me I think he is learning what love is and how to love from me because he is from a big family and works in hetro dominated business he is closeted to everyone but me my family and friends but we have had such joy and happiness and love and pain and hurt like every longtime relationship near 15 years. I guy that knows me a little said to me I had had 3 lifetimes worth of fun and good times in my 38 years already and it’s true I have got to know myself more than anybody I know in the time being in this relationship has afforded me. My best friend is also sent from God he is a fair bit older than my partner again and has had a tremutious life being gay and 65 he has thanked me for bringing him back to life after he nursed both his parents passing which broke him again after the horror story of a love story he had when he was 21 which ended up being the only time in his life when he could bring himself to trust anybody. He has become a stronger man in the 16 years I’ve known him and we have such a strong relationship we love each other unconditionally. I only hope that hearing my life is some conciliation for your effort that we have had unbelievable exsistances the height of excess I confess, the pleasure I have given others and myself sometimes I almost feel ashamed of and then I’m like don’t be so hard on yourself you would give it to everybody else if I could ! Ron I pay respect to you from the younger generations

Jennifer Davissays:

Nice to hear this amongst all the ignorance of so many church goers who constantly hurt LGBTI+ people. This kind of ignorance is what pushes gay people to suicide. I know myself I spent years trying to do everything to change myself and try and “become” straight thinking it was what I needed to do for God. The depression it left me in and extremely unhealthy denial
of who I was was toxic and took me to one of the darkest places in my life. The fact you felt you had to marry the gender you weren’t attracted to and live your life as a lie for decades is just so devastating. Most church people don’t look at anything like that as they can be so stuck and set in their ways with no idea of how extremely dangerous and sick it is to deny who one is for years upon years. To pray over and over and never have it change because it is not something changeable or needing to be changed. I’m sure if the ideal was to marry the same sex heterosexual people couldn’t change and adhere to that. Why? Because it’s not blimin possible and essentially setting those people up for unhealthy toxic guilt and shame and a myriad of mental health issues from the damage is causes to ones psyche. Do church goers wonder why nearly all same sex attracted people don’t attend church, it’s pretty obvious to me why they don’t. Because of what we have endured over years from the blatant ignorance and hurt from so called Christians we are the ones worshipping at home in our bedrooms speaking in tongues, raising hands in worship and praising God in the safety of our own home. That’s a sad reality. Rob makes some good points regarding having some respect for LGBTI+ people and not focusing on their sexual orientation even though I believe a lot of what was said is still inherently encouraging gay people to think there is something wrong with them and they need to change (when they do not) and this is very very toxic and dangerous. At least he’s not ignorant of everything like most of the commenters on here getting on their high horses and knowing nothing of what we go through. So kudos to him to at least trying in his own way to bridge a gap. Haters are always going to hate. Lots of Pharisees in these comments. The cup looks perfect on the outside but dirty on the inside. Jesus dined with prostitutes yet Christians here are freaking out that same sex marriages honouring commitment and Hunan rights might somehow destroy their world lol, it’s honestly laughable. Especially the one who tried to say why not then allow incest etc. How ridiculous. It’s people like that who keep so many gay people out of the Kingdom of God. The amount of friends and gay people who I have discussed spiritual things with pretty much all tell me how awful the church has been to them and I can’t even deny that to them because several churches have been the same way to me. Have a think about that guys. Even sharing about God with them coming from
someone gay themselves I can see their hurt, upset, anger or disillusionment from how they have been treated. It’s hard to reach them and I am one of them, they are so scared to trust any Christians anymore and I totally get it. It used to be blacks couldn’t marry whites and now it’s this. Hopefully one day Christians will learn and stop wasting time treating gay people like crap and instead will lay hands on them. Pray with them, support them and love them. There is minimal love in most of the comments on this. There is the odd loving person, that’s about it. God called you to love. You seem to have forgotten it people.

Janinesays:

The Australian government believes it can create a legal, man-made “open marriage” between any 2 people for the purpose of including same-sex couples. This marriage will be based on autonomy and consent. The law is unable to treat equally this man-made “open marriage” between any 2 people the same as a true, traditional marriage which is a public, life-long commitment to the behavioural practice of a sexual union (“one flesh” mind-body-soul, sexual intercourse) between one man and one woman, excluding all others for the benefit of children.

Most married couples in Australia don’t identify their marriage as a legal “open marriage.” However, the Australian government is demanding Australians need to accept diversity, including couples with children whom identify their marriage as a legal “open marriage.” Marriage Equality can be achieved once civil marriage means “open marriage” as this allows same-sex couples and their children from sexual relationships outside marriage to be accepted. Australians won’t be allowed to discriminate their marriage against “open marriage” between any 2 people. The no fault divorce did away of marriage being for life, and the government is removing a sexual union between a man and woman to allow sexual relationships to occur outside of marriage. If the government exchanges a true, traditional marriage for a legal man-made “open marriage” between any 2 people, then there will be married people whom will not agree with the change because it changes the meaning and purpose of marriage. Australians wouldn’t be happy if the government exchanged their gold for Brit Coin or monopoly money.

I am very concerned that my 3 children don’t identify with marriage for themselves. They have been told by the government, media and their peer group: marriage isn’t between a man and a woman, marriage isn’t a sexual union and biological children, and marriage is for same-sex couples. When good-looking guys believe marriage isn’t for themselves they can get lots of girls/women pregnant without being responsible for their children. I went to school with a 14yr old girl who got pregnant to her step-father, and she went on to have 12 children to 5 different partners, and their housing and living expenses were all paid by the Australian taxpayers. The Australian society pays the ultimate price for fatherless children and single mothers.

I grew up in an immoral environment, and my first experience of homosexuality was with 10-15 girls in the girls’ toilets at primary school. I slept with my girlfriend when I was 9yrs old, and she touched me (a sexual organ with a non-sexual organ). This is called “sexual assault” because as a child I was unable to consent to sexual activity. Since most homosexuals have admitted that their homosexual experience started in childhood, the government hasn’t detailed the ways it will control and monitor “sexual assaults.”

Marriage is a God given right like being a parent. My culture, family history and religion don’t require my family to have a legal marriage certificate or licence. My legal marriage certificate is in the NSW marriage registry office. George Washington and my german forefathers didn’t have a marriage certificate or licence. The Bible doesn’t state for married couples to have a marriage certificate or licence. The Bible doesn’t state for “man and man” or “woman and woman” to become “one flesh” to create children to fill the earth as this is impossible, even to God. The history of marriages in NSW were only recorded in the Church of England and other denominations from 1788-1856. The NSW marriage registry was only established in 1857 to protect and support the practice of religious marriage by making accurate records for the illegitimacy of children and inheritance. My german forefathers came to Australia mid-1800’s because of religious persecution. The King tried to control their minds by persuading them to get married in his State church, but they refused. The King would have all his immoral acts blessed in his State church so my forefathers wanted their church to remain separate from the state.

Australians need to understand the big picture to the debate about “Marriage Equality.”
The younger generation live more of their life in the virtual world using IPAD, iPhone, APPS, etc to communicate with others. They can play a basketball game on EBOX one as if it is a real game or they have sex in the virtual world with people that aren’t their partner/spouse. However, the Australian law can’t treat equally an injury in the virtual world as the same as real life, nor can it treat a virtual baby the same as a real baby. In countries which have accepted a legal, man-made “open marriage” between any 2 people, there are reports in the media of married men whom love their wives, but they want to explore their sexuality with prostitutes and other women/men because their wives refuse to give them their “sexual bucket wish” of anal and oral sexual activities. There has been a significant increase in the amount of articles in magazines and newspapers reporting on “open marriage,” and sexual activities (a sexual organ with a non-sexual organ – anal and oral sexual activities, hand sex – (masturbation, fisting), mind sex – (pornography, virtual world sex), robotic sex toys/ dutch dolls, chem (drug) sex). There are many industries including the porn industry, prostitution, sex shops, drug companies, sex education, health and welfare services, legal services which are making money out of sex. The Guardian reported recently, “Doctors warn the Super-Gonnorrhoea is spreading across Britain” because it has become drug-resistent. There are consequences for sexual practices which cause significant harmful health and relationship problems. When people believe it is perfectly acceptable for guys to have anal and oral sexual activities with guys, then they have to believe it is the same with girls and women. However, most girls and women refuse anal and oral sexual activities with guys. Most women can’t pretend sexual activities are the same as sexual intercourse “one flesh” to be called marriage. If the church is unable to protect women and girls from guys sexual fantasies, then we can expect more girls and women experiencing faecal incontinence, green vaginal discharge requiring anal repairs and treatment for infection, infertility, and life-threatening problems.

The LGBTIAQ lobby-dictators are demanding control and power to rule over our governments -federal, state and local councils, businesses, companies, unions, communities – church, CWA, sporting groups -AFL, schools (safe school coalition program and respectful relationship programs which encourage and promote homosexuality and transgender experiences, families, parents and individuals. “Marriage Equality” isn’t democracy it is tyranny, and this has divided western nations. Governments are creating laws and regulations to control and manage people’s most intimate aspects of their lives by getting into the family home. The divorce and domestic violence laws are becoming so crazy that the next generation won’t even be bothered getting married as they will live in their own homes and meet for sex. They won’t want commitment to another person or children because it will cause them significant financial hardship. The Church does have answers to the world’s problem with sin, but if we can’t recognise what is a sin, then we lead others away from the truth. Fortunately, my german forefathers documented their history of religious persecution so my family has a guide of the way to live as a Christian under a King or dictator (LGBTIAQ lobby-dictator).

The Church doesn’t demand that women live with an abusive husband, and neither will the Church demand Christians to obey the LGBTIAQ lobby-dictators. They can create rules for their own people, but they have no right to force their rules on to the majority of married couples whom don’t practice “open marriage” between any 2 people.

Anitasays:

Rob, as Christian you cannot separate your christianity from your citizenship. Being a Christian lays the foundation for how you live your life. As citizens, we vote for what we believe in – what we vote for will determine the society in which we live. We cannot only hold onto our biblical views as long as it does not inconvenience us in being part of mainstream society. As Christians we have to stand up for what we believe in. God expects it of us. He does not want us to be luke-warm (Revelations 3:15).

The Bible is clear on marriage and also on homosexuality. As Christian I cannot choose which parts of the Bible I follow. I cannot ignore the parts that I believe are outdated just because it wil conveniently let me fit into the way the mainstream media predicts. Moral decay happens by degree. Sodom and Gamorra would not have been that way since day one.

Your comments on the “slippery slope” arguments lead me to wonder what your impressions of the Safe Schools program is.

As for your comments on the statements that children benefit most from having both a mother and father – this statement is the truth. It does not mean that people who make this statement do not think that single parents should not be supported or that they are indifferent to their feelings. But should this stop them from stating the truth? Should we just stay the silent majority? The problem with being the silent majority is that the vocal minority will soon convince everyone that their view is the norm. And because no-one speaks up for fear of hurting feelings, over time we loose both our voice and our way.

Being truthful does not devoid a person of having love and compassion. But we have to speak truth into each others’ lives.

Being a church leader you have to have a clear direction of where you are leading people.You cannot lead them on a convenient path, taking the bits that you like from the Bible and discarding the rest.

Joh Archersays:

The Bible mentions two abominations. The word Abomination is so strong a word, it takes many, many to even try and define it. Please do not engineer scripture to other people, lest you pass out millstones. To implyhomosexual marriage will not cause problems, well you obviously have not thought it through, think of the children who will be legislated to have a father or mother removed from their life, think of what schools will be required to teach, think about what is happening in nations that have gone down this path, it IS indeed a slippery slope, opening up gates for other unhealthy agenda`s. The fruit is there to be seen.

Janinesays:

The Express on-line Feb 28, 2016, reported, “Sham marriages have increased 850% and authorities are overwhelmed in the UK.” The immigration authorities shouldn’t be surprised about the increase in “sham marriages” because the British government created a legal “sham marriage practice.” Same-sex and man-woman married couples have a Humanist’s “Marriage Inequality” because same-sex couples only have a legal union as they don’t have to consummate their marriage, and adultery doesn’t apply because this act can only be between a man and woman, and this has made sam-sex marriage a “sham marriage.” However, man-woman marriage remains a sexual union as they have to consummate their marriage, and adultery is grounds for divorce.

At the heart of marriage is a sexual relationship. Marriage without sex is basically a legal friendship or a complicated way of having a friend. The basic agreement of marriage is that the married couple get their sexual needs met within the marriage and don’t go getting it met somewhere else. Affairs and sexless marriage break that marriage agreement (Athol Kay, Feb 28, 2016). When the only requirement is a legal state marriage certificate as proof of a marriage between 2 people of the same-sex because the sexual relationship has not been a requirement in law, then this has resulted in the practice of “sham marriages.”

Kevin Russosays:

Hi Rob .
I have come across your blog last night and read it over and over.
First of all i am not very good at explaining myself that well so it might not come out that well.
Having said that i am a christian have been for over 30 odd years married for over 35 years just a normal bloke , however over the years i have seen a weakening of solid biblical teaching and your post comes across that you are accepting of this sort of lifestyle and when these people come we will just love them.
It reminds me of a well known church in sydney whose leader could not give a straight answer as to what God says about this lifestyle , you said in your post that if a couple came to your church to discover the grace of God expressed in Jesus should the church make it a condition on the two people ending their relationship , what if they have chidren should the church break up the family , you asked.
Should this question even be asked ? i am assuming that you are saying that these couple come to a saving knowledge of Jesus christ .
What does God say about this lifesyle ?
What about the leaven spoiling the whole lump ?
Who do we listen to ?
Mans thoughts on the issue ?
Or God word ?

Janinesays:

The Principal legal officer of the Family Law Branch confirmed recently that a sexual union (sexual intercourse) hasn’t been the basis of a civil marriage since the introduction of the no-fault divorce in 1975, and this also made civil marriage no longer a life-long contract. Therefore, civil marriage is only an exclusive legal union between a husband and wife living arrangement by the purchasing of a legal marriage certificate from the state for the status of marriage. It is the equivalent of an owner purchasing a cat or dog registration with the local council and having a wedding ceremony to celebrate this legal living arrangement.

However, same-sex couples can’t claim equality to a man-woman living arrangement as the majority of husbands work outside the home to support their family and the majority of wives work part-time so they can spend time taking care of children and family. The majority of same-sex couples work equally inside and outside the home and this relationship is 100% infertile (only 0.01% of children lived in a same-sex household). The negative consequence of a legal “same-sex marriage” would mean wives would have to be treated like a same-sex couple as parent B and wouldn’t be able to claim any gender reason to be compensated for nurturing and raising children. Also, the majority of children in a man-woman marriage are related to both parents, but the law would have to treat them the same as children from same-sex couples which believe it is acceptable for children to only have loving parents and they don’t need their biological parents.

The Australian immigration and social security rely on a genuine marriage in order to detect “sham marriages.” When the federal parliament change the meaning of marriage as the right to purchase of a legal marriage certificate from the state to gain the status of marriage, then it removes entirely a genuine marriage. A genuine Christian/religious marriage has required a husband and wife to consummate their marriage in order for it not to be annulled. Adultery has been grounds for a divorce. However, there are no marriage laws anywhere in the world which describes a sexual union of a same-sex couple. Same-sex married couples are unable to consummate their marriage and adultery is irrelevant because these act can only happen between a man and woman.

Greg Hallsays:

Wow. This got the fires going. Jesus didn’t tell the Romans how to run their government. He was talking to the Jews, those who ‘upheld’ the law. He actually acknowledged the Roman rule by his “render to Caesar that which is Caesars, render to God, that which is Gods.'” answer to the pharisees tricky question. His fight was against those who studied the law and the prophets from a very young age. The Lord says that “if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me”. Clearly, the pharisee, the tax collector, the publican, the adulterous woman, the Samaritan woman, and all others including same sex people, were welcome in His kingdom (with repentance). He did not call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, sure. But to single out the sinning group and call them unacceptable is not the gospel. Why did Paul say to the Galatians that they were foolish and bewitched? Because they were tying in the law to their church life and meetings, and the conduct of their members. We need to be careful we don’t bring blockages into our churches that are going to discourage those who are being saved. Gay people are welcome in the church, right? Do I have to love their choice? No. Many thieves, murderers, adulterers and other sinners regularly attend church services. They are all welcome. Let Rome have it’s rules. All authority is given by God for His purposes. Render to Rome that which belongs to Rome, and to God, that which belongs to God.

Janinesays:

Greg,
The federal parliament can only register civil/religious marriages and regulate this practice, but it doesn’t own the natural behavioural practice of a consummated “one flesh marriage” which can procreate new-life (natural human reproduction). The federal parliament can change the “registered marriage” practice for the purpose of all “sham marriages” because all Australians can have a “sham marriage,” but not all Australians can have a genuine marriage as this criteria discriminates against people including children, siblings, parent-child, close relatives, more than a couple, same-sex relationships including non-gay housemates. The legal abortion practice in Victoria leads to a dead birth (registered doctors/nurses have a legal right to kill unwanted neonates under Victorian law which goes against God’s commandments against murder and stealing a life and this practice isn’t the same as the natural rite of passage as pregnancy, birth and breast-feeding which “independent midwives” defend, support and protect.

Australian laws were originally inherited from the British Law which incorporated the 10 Commandments. These Commandments warns against coveting a man’s wife and adultery which can only happen between a man and a woman. God warned against the act of adultery so he must have created a genuine “one flesh” marriage and this isn’t a piece of paper from the government. When God commanded children to honour their mother and father it is obvious he never intended for them to be legally separated from their mother or father. The Commandments warned against dishonesty as the next generation will feel cheated by a civil “registered marriage” practice which is only an exclusive legal union as the Family Court doesn’t deal with adultery in a legal divorce. The Family Court hasn’t dealt with adultery since the introduction of the no-fault divorce, but the act of adultery continues to exist and causes the majority of legal divorces and couples are deeply hurt by the betrayal of trust. There is no civil or religious law requiring Christians to identify their “one flesh marriage” with a civil “registered marriage” practice by purchasing a legal marriage certificate for a public wedding celebration in order to receive government marriage benefits including the status of “civil registered marriage,” Family Court for a legal divorce, a charge of “bigamy,” immigration and social security benefits.

Greg, you mentioned thieves, murderers, adulterers, and other sinners regularly attend church services, but none of these people are claiming that their deviant behaviours are equal to marriage. Gays aren’t claiming their sexual lifestyle is sinful and immoral like defacto partners claimed they’re “living in sin.” When the church accepts people with the Nazi Party mind-set into their church with their religious ideology and political agendas they aren’t claiming they’re sinful or immoral, but want to change the church to embrace their belief system for themselves by changing church practices. The LGBTIAQ party are a religious sect and are political activists who demand the church has to change for themselves. They focus on “same-sex marriage” which goes directly against God’s 10 Commandments as same-sex couples and transgender people reject God and his creation as he made woman for man and united them together as “one flesh” in order to fill the earth with people. God warned against idolatry including worshipping our own flesh or sexuality and gender identity as this belief system is based on no form of discrimination whatsoever between the truth and a lie, moral and immoral, healthy and unhealthy, natural and unnatural. This belief system directly attacks the Christian belief system which is based on discriminating the truth from a lie. Christians can’t accept dishonesty about God’s marriage in the Bible which is detailed 4 times from the beginning to the end. Same-sex couples are confusing the purchase of a legal state marriage certificate for a public wedding ceremony with the word “marriage,” and they can only have a civil “registered marriage” which is very different from the natural human behavioural practice of a “one flesh marriage.” Christians can’t pretend sexual activities are the same as sexual intercourse which consummates a genuine marriage which the church can’t annul.

Christians will want to become independent of the civil “registered marriage” practice in order to maintain their public commitment to a lifelong, faithful “one flesh” union between husband and wife as they can procreate new-life (natural human reproduction). There are many Australians who want to defend, support, and protect this practice for future generations because this mating between man and woman has existed from the beginning of time with no support and protection of the state. A single person doesn’t need a certificate from the government to claim the status of “single.” Likewise, an “independent marriage” doesn’t need a legal marriage certificate from the government to claim the status os a “one flesh marriage” as this can procreate new-life and married couples only have to live this lifestyle and don’t need government marriage benefits like a legal divorce as they have made a public commitment for life.

The natural human behavioural practice of “one flesh marriage,” pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, nursing (caring for people), work have all existed from the beginning of time without any legal registered practices to defend, support or protect them. The legal registered practices can change practice by registration and regulations, but this isn’t the same as the natural human behavioural practices which will continue to exist without the support and protection of the state. I doubt very much that the Australian government will leave “independent marriages” alone because they will want to register even if this is only a church registration and regulate the practice as this practice naturally procreate new-life and governments will want to protect the public from harm. This practice will be similar to “independent midwives” as they have nothing to do with the legal abortion practice and medical interventions, but the government authorities still want to register and regulate this natural midwifery practice in order to protect the public from harm. The government doesn’t care about my lifelong relationship with my girlfriend because we can’t naturally have children together. The federal parliament can’t redefine the word “marriage” but only a “civil registered marriage.” The word marriage has historically being the mating of a man with a woman. This is impossible for 2 men or 2 women to have sexual intercourse. Women could use a fake penis, but this is a reason people would identify it as a “fake marriage” or “sham marriage.”

Ambersays:

First, before I begin to weigh in on this topic, I have read the article and most of the comments and would like to say before I say anymore and add my own opinion that I am a high school student who identifies as bisexual and currently in a happy relationship with a non-binary person and we both have full intention of being able to get married one day here in Australia.
All of this seems to be mainly just people’s opinions flying around the place, that is completely fine and but some things have slightly annoyed me like for instance the comment made by Janine April 7th, with the section about “mating” and how it is “impossible for 2 men or 2 women to have sexual intercourse” which I believe to be false as they are sexual techniques both parties can do that count as “sexual intercourse”. Though personally, I still haven’t had sex yet as my partner currently lives in a different state (of Australia). I am just guessing but I seem to be the youngest person to have commented on this article (16 1/2 years). People in the LGBTIQ+ community are still heavily met with homophobia/transphobia (etc; yes there are more) and sadly I am met with it inside my own family, whether it’s indirect or direct biphobia/homophobia it still does affect me. Let me state that only a few family members (blood related and step related) have told me that they are either gay or bisexual, the rest of my family – as far as I am personally aware – are straight and a few oppose same-sex marriage while the rest either don’t care that much or are on the side of it. Same-sex couples aren’t given the right to adopt children as there apparently has to be a man and woman adopting the child(ren) when same-sex couples are just as capable of raising a child and tend to do the same level as ‘normal’ couples and sometimes even better as the divorce rate is lower and the child tend to feel better at being able to communicate about current problems they’re facing than they would in ‘normal’ marriage couples.

Honestly, I am all for same-sex marriage and the terms “husband” and “wife” won’t get confused or changed as the couples with just be husband and husband or wife and wife simple.

Janinesays:

Amber,
A judge in Kentucky, Tim Philpot stated, “Same-sex marriage is an oxymoron like the “Jumbo Shrimp” which didn’t make sense to him. The Supreme Court of America had 4 judges who all made a scathing report on legalisation of same-sex marriage. The 5 of 9 unelected judges on the Supreme Court ruled on accepting a legal same-sex marriage and this wiped out the meaning of marriage between a man and woman in the states which had defined marriage. It basically meant that a legal union should never exist between a man and a woman. Michael Kirby the former High Court Judge in Australia in one of his reports describes civil union/partnership as the equivalent of an owner’s purchase of registration for their cat or dog as it is only a legal union.

There is no Biblical person who identified their “one flesh” marriage with a civil “registered marriage” practice, and there is no civil law requiring Christians to identify their “one flesh” marriage with a “civi registered marriage” practice. Therefore, Christians can easily identify their marriage as an “independent marriage” (ABS census -“separated but not divorced” in order to separate from the civil registered marriage practice, but not divorced from their “one flesh” marriage). The reason Christians will become “independent” is so they can maintain, support and defend their public commitment to a lifelong, faithful “one flesh” marriage between husband and wife as they can naturally procreate new-life (natural human reproduction). Christians want to protect their “one flesh” marriage from the harm of coveting-adultery-divorce which leads to family breakdown and can cause family violence, dishonesty, corruption, and even murder. A legal same-sex marriage means adultery is irrelevant, and children can be legally separated from their mother and or father. A “one flesh” marriage is self-sufficient as it supports and protects all its members and it doesn’t need any government marriage benefits such as the status “civil registered marriage,” legal state marriage certificate and access to a legal divorce as this doesn’t deal with adultery.

Amber, it is impossible for 2 men or 2 women to mate together (sexual intercourse) which means natural procreation of new-life, and you can read basic anatomy and physiology medical textbooks which will hopefully deal with your confusion with sexual intercourse as the anus and mouth aren’t a sexual organ and pretend sexual organs aren’t real sexual intercourse. 2 men or 2 women can access scientific experimentation of human reproduction. However, there are many Christians who don’t believe natural human reproduction to be contaminated scientific experimentation of human reproduction. It is impossible to include sexual activities with sexual intercourse without the unintended consequence of feeling sexually assaulted. by doctors and nurses as they practice legal consenting, professional sexual activities when they perform a physical examinations such as skin, rectal and vaginal examination, and patients and healthcare professionals don’t believe sexual activities are the same as sexual intercourse.

There is no person in the Bible who has had to identify their “one flesh” marriage with a civil “registered marriage” practice. There is no civil law requiring my husband and I to purchase our NSW marriage certificate from the NSW Marriage Office because this isn’t our “one flesh” marriage. I don’t believe in the sexuality and gender theories. my husband and I don’t identify as “heterosexual” as this word originally meant a person who is attracted to the same-sex and the different sex. I don’t identify with the word “opposite-sex” as this means anal and oral sexual activities between male-female, but my husband and I have complementary sexual intercourse. Once my family, extended family and church community don’t identify their “one flesh” marriage with the civil “registered marriage” practice then the certificate becomes totally meaningless and the statistic on “civil registered marriage” as like comparing apples and oranges. Since I don’t believe in the sexuality and gender theories this means Amber you stated you’re bisexual which is subjective truth as this is whatever your experience. There has been no reason to marry my lifelong girlfriend as we can’t naturally procreate new-life. Also, non-binary is subjective truth as males and females experience chest pain differently and is treated based this objective truth.

Amber, you have to understand the purpose of all legal registered practices are to encourage and promote a healthy lifestyle and protect the public from harm. We only have to observe the failure of some legal registered practices as the government included unqualified people and or practices. The licence certificates for taxi drivers have become worthless since the government included Uber. Taxi drivers have committed suicide as a result of losing massive amounts of money $500 000 on a taxi licence which means many have lost their homes as these licences were secured against their homes. The government included private educational institutes which offered nursing courses but there subjects aren’t recognised by other education providers and had only a small amount of people who completed their courses. Therefore, the government decided to close down these “sham education institutes,” but there are nurses who were half way through their last assignment to become an enrolled nurse and now they’re $30000 in debt and there is no way to complete their course as no other education institute recognises their subjects which they have already completed.

My 11 year old daughter was exposed to homosexual porn on her IPAD when she was researching “same-sex marriage -for and against” for school homework. Our daughter’s behaviour and mood significantly changed and she became extremely aggressive and defensive when my husband wanted to check the history on her IPAD. She told my husband that she felt really bad about seeing the porn and she had been hitting herself. She is now getting counselling from the sexual assault team. No parents sends their child to school to learn about “same-sex marriage” which is closely linked to porn on the internet. My daughter has a real fear of homosexual behaviour and there are now people who will label my daughter as “homophobic,” “transphobic, ” “biphobic” so this is the reason she needs specialised help so she can handle a minority LGBTIAQ party who will bully her because they don’t understand her exposure to homosexual porn.

I have never met any person who has identified as straight or heterosexual in 24 years plus training in critical care, and these people who are heterosexual or straight are like imaginary ghosts in the world I live in. The Royal Commission into Institutional child sexual abuse showed evidence that every child had been sexual abused by an unrelated adult/child, and the majority of cases was only reported as an adult. A legal same-sex marriage will normalise the placing of children with an unrelated adult/s and child/children, and any sexual abuse will most likely only be reported as an adult. An “independent marriage” will automatically mean “husband-wife “one flesh” marriage” and this will be compared to a “civil registered marriage” meaning legal union between any “consenting adults.” A “consenting adult” (adult can be a person, animal -cat/dog, non-living thing – robotic sex doll). The government which includes local council can give legal consent on behalf of animal or robotic sex doll to be married to a consenting adult (person). A legal union between husband and husband, wife and wife is the equivalent of an owner’s legal union with their cat/dog/ robotic sex doll and this can be celebrated in a public wedding ceremony. The government can charge a yearly marriage registration fee to pay for any government marriage benefits. The Australian society will understand “civil registered marriage” are only an exclusive legal union and isn’t based on a sexual relationship and a lifelong commitment because of the no fault divorce so adultery is irrelevant to these relationships.

Shanesays:

What people don’t understand is being “gay, lesbian, transgender or intersex IS NOT A CHOICE!!!!! I’m a Gay christine and I was born this way. Yes God made me in his image but he didn’t make me straight, I knew from the age of five years old that I was different and attracted to boys. Did you hetrosexuals CHOOSE to be straight? NO you didn’t. And neiher did we choose to be who we are.

Thank God for Greg and the Bayside Chuch and thier acceptance of LGBTI people. I’m a current song Leader with the Salvation Army Church in Torquay and Im accepted there also. I’m a gifted singer who loves Jesus and God is the only one that can judge me. He tells me he loves me and I know he understands me and also being gay. Being gay isn’t all about SEX either, there’s nothing wrong with two people loving one another, and in fact WHEN same sex marrage is legalised my LGBTI community will probably do marrage better then most hetrosexuals have – look at the divorce rates in hetrosexual marrages.

Janinesays:

Shane,
God didn’t make me identify as “straight,” “heterosexual” or “opposite-sex.” My family, my extended family, and community don’t believe in the sexuality and gender theories so we don’t identify with any of these words. I have never met any person who has identified themselves as being in a “heterosexual marriage.” The legal divorce rate in Australia has nothing to do with the Biblical divorce which is based on adultery. I haven’t encouraged nor promoted “heterosexual relationships” for any of my children as a person who identifies as “heterosexual” believes in harmful animal behaviours which is detailed in the domestic violence report. A person who identifies as LGBTIAQ are male or female first and they have all the normal characteristics of being male or female. However, people who identify as LGBTIAQ don’t believe in natural human reproduction for themselves and they want to wipe out natural procreation, nurturing and raising children by biological father and mother for a nation of people all over the world. The Nazi mind-set was accepted by the state Christian church but this didn’t make the Nazi mind-set a moral practice for a German nation.

Teena Frankssays:

Thank you Shane for your comments. You are exactly right, people DO NOT CHOSE to be gay. They are born that way. God the Father formed LGBTI people in their mothers wombs. It is DNA driven not CHOICE. My son was 5 too when he realised that he was different. Poor kid spent 10 years at a Christian School that taught about gay people being demonised. He kept it secret in fear of being judged by everyone he knew – couldn’t be himself, pretending to be someone else. It was a horrible childhood for him, constantly feeling this way. How is that a choice……he didn’t chose to be different, he just was, God made him gay. As a result of all of the persecution he is now an atheist.
Greg at Bayside Church….thank God for you mate. You are my answer to a lot of prayer. Everything you have said is exactly right. It is time that “The Church” opened their hearts, minds and arms to embrace LGBTI people just as they are.
It will be my lifetime pray that God raises up many more men and women like you Greg to start leading the way in the acceptance of LGBTI people. Bless you.

Jennifer Davissays:

So sorry to hear this. I nearly lost my faith too until I took judgemental Christians and compartmentalised them as not being God or a good representation of them. It doesn’t surprise me that he went that way. When you hear it that much you end up defeated and cannot win. Which ends in depression and severe stress which then can bring on a lot of other ailments. It’s such a dangerous and messed up approach from people who claim to love God. You might like to watch the movie “Boy Erased” about Love In Actions damage in the U.S, it’s a great movie and you will relate

Jennifer Davissays:

Here here mate <3

Rhondasays:

Rob, your thoughts are brilliant and explain well the current situation. The marriage act will eventually change and the LGBTI will enjoy the endorsement of the law. I do hope and pray that churches will embrace this opportunity, to welcome LGBTI couples into the community of faith. It would be a lovely day of rejoicing! Yet, when the changes to the Marriage Act actually happens, I fear many Christians will struggle to accept it. Maybe they will not be able to shift in their interpretation of the Bible. I do hope Christians will be insightful to realise that the post modern world is a world where moral codes and ethics are constantly shifting, We must, seek God’s purpose for our time, to look again at the scriptures and contextualise them for our generation. Times change, e.g. once Christian’s had slaves and justified that this was biblically right. Today, we would say ‘how could this be?’
As Christ followers, may we each allow God’s Word to speak into our lives a fresh, may it be a new awakening of the love of God for all humanity.

Janinesays:

Rhonda,
You claim to be a follower of Christ, but it appears that your ignoring Christ’s teaching about marriage in the Bible. It is legal in Victoria for registered nurses and doctors to legally kill a neonate with their mother’s consent under Victorian laws but Christians don’t rejoice in “dead births.” It is legal to be a prostitute in Victoria but Victorian schools haven’t been educating students to become a prostitute. The Marriage Act in Australia can only register and regulate a civil “registered marriage” which can be totally separate and independent to the Christian Churches teaching about “one flesh” marriage and the harm of adultery.

There is no sacred text in the Bible forcing Christians to accept a legal “same-sex marriage” nor does it force Christians to accept a legal adulterous relationship, fornication, abortion, prostitution, and sexual immorality. It is obvious that my Bible and your bible isn’t the same book and we don’t follow the same Christ nor God nor Holy Spirit. The modern world is developing robotic sex toys and dolls so western ethics and values have become self-centred and narcissistic but this isn’t the same as Biblical moral beliefs.

There is nothing new under the sun as there are American Christians who support slaves even though the practice of slavery has been outlawed throughout America. When people work in a job which they can’t make a living this effectively makes them a slave. How does God/Jesus/Holy Spirit treat sin? The Bible teaches me that I am a sinner and we are all lost unless we believe and repent of our sins. However, we’re lost in our sin if we don’t even know the meaning of sin. Try arguing with God about his 10 Commandments which exposes the lies and dishonesty about a legal “same-sex marriage.” Firstly, argue with God about his commandment for children to honour their father and mother as it is obvious that God never intended for children to be legally separated from their father or mother. Then, argue with God about his warning about coveting another man’s wife which leads to adultery and divorce. It is obvious your belief in marriage is totally different to the Biblical “one flesh” marriage as there was no legal marriages mentioned in the Bible but King David and Bathsheba committed adultery and this influenced King David decision to have Uriah killed in a war. A legal “same-sex marriage” makes the acts of consummation and adultery as irrelevant. The Bible convicts us all of our sins and the rich man decided he didn’t want to change because of his riches.

You can believe in the sexuality and gender theories which are self-centred and narcissistic. This belief system is based on no form of discrimination between the truth and a lie, moral and immoral, healthy and unhealthy, normal and abnormal and this directly attacks scientific evidence and the Christian belief system which are both based on discriminating the truth from a lie. However, you’re adding identities to the Bible such as homosexuals and heterosexuals and LGBTIAQ despite God’s word being extremely clear that we’re all created male or female. You can ignore God uniting a man with a woman in “one flesh” for the purpose of filling the earth with people and Jesus refers back to the beginning of man leaving his parents to be united with his wife. The Bible warns about the consequence of deceiving children with lies so I won’t be rejoicing in evil and immorality but I will be praying for God for his kingdom to come.

Jennifer Davissays:

Well said Rhonda, nice to see there’s a voice of reason and love in here.

Chrissays:

Dear Rob

I think that this is one of your best blogs

Love you bro

Suesays:

The Bible says that the world will persecute us just as it did with Jesus. Being a Christian means that we need to prepare for persecution from the world.

I think the first question we need to address is sin and the fall. The ultimate step is to bring people to Jesus. Whatever our actions or emotions comes out of that should be a gratitude of what Christ has done for us.

Les Dalrymplesays:

Hi Rob,

Thanks for your comments that I found interesting to read.

Do you agree with me that God’s written word clearly identifies same-sex sexual unions as sinful and in contravention of God’s law?

One very clear but by no means unique reference is found in the concluding verses of Romans Ch 1. Homosexual acts are clearly sinful. All sin is abhorrent to God.

A lot of Christians while saying “yes” to amending the Marriage Act 1961 seem to skate around this very clear statement and pretend it doesn’t exist.

I voted yes only because it affords a level legal human-rights landscape in what is clearly a secular state (Australia). The Church should not seek to legislate Christianity — that will never work or win committed converts to Jesus.. Despite that, I do fear that down the track, Churches will be eventually coerced or forced by policy, regulation and even legislation into acting contrary to conscience in performing same sex marriages.

I believe the approach we should take as christians is that we should give away our capacity to perform any marriage as a matter of law, advise people to make a trip to the Local Court and be legally married there. If they are committed, saved followers of Jesus (ie genuine Christians) the Church should then afford them a marriage ceremony as, (for want of a better term) a church rite (like communion, baptism etc etc) that has no legal effect but does produce a union in God’s eyes.

Comments?

Best,

Les

Mark McLeansays:

Beautifully written Rob. I have chosen the right church.

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