Monday, 20 February 2012

CHURCHES MUST RALLY FOR MARRIAGE

The peaceful public demonstration in which Christian virtue can be argued for is God's gift to Britain.

Fallen humanity never finds difficulty in staging a riot or an act of violent disorder. But the phenomenon of an orderly, respectful rally for a good cause grew in the biblically-enriched cultural soil of a Christian-influenced Parliamentary democracy.

The new Coalition for Marriage, launched today, has a spiritual and moral responsibility to honour the historic legacy of the great public campaigns of Britain's Christian past, such as those against the slave trade in the 18th century and against industrial exploitation in the 19th. Those campaigns for humanity against injustice were advanced by large-scale public meetings.

C4M, which is backed by the Christian Institute, CARE, Christian Concern, the Evangelical Alliance, and the Family Education Trust, is gathering signatures for a petition against the Coalition's bid to redefine marriage. That is a positive move but a petition, however long, presented to the Prime Minister by a delegation does not have the same impact as a mass demonstration in central London.

If local churches around the UK cannot get their members out in significant numbers for a rally on an issue as biblically central as this one, then public Christianity in the UK would be sounding its own death-knell by default.

The consequences of same-sex marriage for local churches, Christian outreach networks to children and young people and church schools would be catastrophic. Political correctness would be given free rein to corrupt the minds of the next generation with its poisonous ideology.

The Lord Jesus Christ publicly defended the God-created institution of monogamous, heterosexual, life-long marriage. He did so before large crowds in the course of his public ministry in Galilee and argued the biblical case against powerful vested interests (see Matthew 19v1-12 and Mark 10v1-12).

We his followers must take our Lord's lead and avail ourselves of the privilege of peaceful public demonstration, which faithful British Christians in the past campaigned for at great personal cost and exercised.

A rally featuring Bible teaching, Christian advocacy and public prayer in central London against the destructive politically correct drive to countermand the Word of God is imperative.

26 comments:

  1. It all depends on leadership!
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/02/03/bishop-of-salisbury-backs-gay-marriage/
    With this kind of comment I do wonder at the theological ability of some of our bishops.

    Blessings
    Terry

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  2. Just cause your theological conclusions differs from his, doesn't make him bad at theology.

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    1. Anonymous

      Just cause your theological conclusions differs from his, doesn't make him bad at theology.

      What so we are both right? One of us must be right, so only one of us is saved. The Bishop is a false teacher.

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  3. Terry is absolutely right - church leaders who deny the truth of the Bible on this central matter are a real liability in the campaign. The way I would suggest to handle them is to make it clear that they are false teachers according to the New Testament understanding and to refuse to take Holy Communion with or from them.

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  4. Anon. In response to your point "just because your theological conclusions differ from his (Bishop of Salisbury on homosexual marriage) does'nt make him bad at theology.

    I believe you have two misconceptions here;

    First, I'm sure that Julian would not for a moment claim that his "theological conclusions" are somehow exclusively his own, that is, divorced from that of Scripture and the consensus of the church on this issue over many centuries. In this case it is the Bishop, not Julian, who departs from orthodox belief about marriage, and incidentally, from the majority of his fellow bishops as well as the wider church.
    Secondly, I'm sorry to say that the Bishop's view here does indeed demonstrate "bad theology". If he cannot grasp something as basic and simple as the biblical view of man and woman in marriage, as opposed to the false teaching about the admissability of homosexuals, how then is he fit to teach and lead on other more important, or deeper issues of the Christian faith?
    Is not one of the pre-requisites of a bishop/elder an ability to teach sound doctrine, and to "hold fast to the faithful word? (Titus 1:9). To be able to hold the "mystery of the faith" and to "convince the gainsayers"? (1 Tim.2:9) These abilities must demand sound theology in all areas of doctrine, and teaching to a Christian congregation with maturity and clarity.
    As it is we have a Bishop who appears to express 'theological ambiguity.' I suggest it is indeed 'bad theology'

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    1. I wasn't actually critcising Julian's theology. As much as I disagree with his conclusions, I do understand the theological arguement and accept that is a reasonable theological position. However, it is not that simple and there are other theological positions that can be taken. The idea that someone else is bad at theology, just because they reach a different theological conclusion is frankly ridiculus, especially if it is based on a short article on an interview. And if you think that this issue is "basic and simple" then I suspect that you have not made much attempt to understand it and the theological arguements opposed to your own.

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  5. As I've noted elsewhere, despite being one half of a same-sex couple, I'm not a fan of the idea of religiously sanctioned SSM. Yet I suspect this present considerable effort on the part of some conservative Christians to muster opposition to SSM will have the opposite of its intended effect in the hearts and minds of many members of the wider population. The main reason for this failure is rooted in the Matt 23:23. The very fact that a certain flavour of conservative Christian has remained strangely silent - or certainly less motivated, organised and vocal - on other social and political issues erodes their integrity to speak out on SSM. A cursory glance at AM's or CI's website is enough to suggest to many decent and fair minded people that the sites' contributors are disproportionately concerned with the 'gay' issue - for strangely enough in the day to day lives of most people, the propaganda of AM, CI and likeminded sites and organisations, appears groundless or at worst a gross exaggeration of most people experience of homosexuality – which of course... it is! As Peter Ould recently noted: ‘The general public are simply not interested in this [negative] kind of approach. They see it as equating homosexuality with promiscuity and the most offensive sexual practices, and since they all have gay friends who are not involved in either of those things, they just see it as demonization’ (from http://www.peter-ould.net/2012/01/30/sobering-reading-on-changing-attitudes-blog/).

    This is a serious error on the part of these vocal Christians - it undermines their credibility as 'witnesses' and cheapens the very Gospel they claim to defend. It wins conservative Christians few friends - not because of their 'Christian morality' but because of the hugely disproportionate interest in a subject which has little if any bearing to the vast majority of people's experience. 'SSM will undermine heterosexual marriage' doesn't really provide an answer to the fact marriage has been under strain long before even the first mention of civil partnerships, let alone SSM: the present campaign is really a case of shutting the stable door long after the horse has bolted!

    Perhaps if we'd seen conservatives Christians mustering the same degree of enthusiastic protest concerning the materialistic greed of the 80s onwards, or against the shambolic government policies of previous Tory & Labour governments that allowed house prices to soar beyond inflation, forcing both partners in a marriage to work full time to pay the mortgage - putting parenting and relationships under strain - it would be easier to accept this present 'protest' has a degree of integrity. But the silence of our conservative friends has been deafening - except when it comes to one issue.

    If the only issue that causes conservative Christians to organise petitions or mount legal actions or media campaigns is homosexuality and matters related, then it is hardly surprising people grow tired (and deaf) to such obsessions. The Gospel lays many obligations on its followers and until these can be evenly applied as opposed to the present schwarm conservatives have with something as inconsequential (in the lives of 97-99% of the population) as homosexuality, then really they deserve the ridicule and intolerance that they are fostering by their 'easy' righteousness.

    Preach the Gospel by all means, but if you are going to preach about the sanctity of marriage, then remember its failures in our present society are diverse and complex and have been existent long before SSM was mooted: perhaps if a certain flavour of Christian had protested about what REALLY undermines marriage, they'd be listened to now - but when it is only 'the gay issue' that results in lobbying and petitions (and a good deal hate-mongering and unmitigated self-righteousness) then alas, don't be surprised if your words fall on deaf - and even hostile - ears!

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    1. Peter

      Are you a Christian?

      If so then you must understand what marriage is.

      As to your other point 99% are not bothered about SSM what has this got to do about anything?

      You may get it voted in but Christians will never accept it

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  6. Peter. Thank you for the sermon, but you do not appear to have added one whit to our sum of knowledge re the pros and cons of SSM.

    You say: "Yet I suspect this present considerable effort on the part of some conservative Christians to muster opposition to SSM will have the opposite of its intended effect in the hearts and minds of many members of the wider population"

    But that remains to be seen, though I doubt if the 25,000 who have signed the petition so far (about 200 per hour) against SSM would agree with you - much less see any link with an out of context quotation from Matt.23.

    Opposition by principled objectors is not in order to persuade the "wider population", but rather to persuade a naive and ideologically driven government from interfering unecessarily with the well accepted concept of heterosexual marriage.
    There is no mandate to change the law, no call from the general public, and so far from the government, not a single sound reason for doing so.
    It has nothing whatsoever to do with your imagined problems of "hate mongering", or "unmitigated self-righteousness".
    Very simply, we care about God given marriage, and prefer His verdict on the matter to that of the passing whims of men.

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  7. @Graham et el - please excuse the 'sermon' - all I am really saying it is sad, in a world, where there is and has been so much conservative or any kind of Christian could protest about - that they only topic that seems to elicit legal action, petitions and 'rallies' is related to homosexuality etc. The undermining of marriage is rooted in complex and diverse causes - given divorce and cohabiting rates have been rising for many years before SSM or civil partnerships were thought of, I think the hype around SSM is disproportionate and a case of looking for easy answers (or scapegoats) when the problems are probably to be found in the fabric of ALL our daily lives, rather than the ill thought out legislation of this or that political party.

    The strange thing is, that in many liberal democracies, countries which allow same-sex partnerships (and have a tolerant attitude to sex and sexuality in general) tend to have lower divorce rates, lower rates of single parents, lower rates of teen pregnancy and higher rates of two parent families than religiously conservative societies. Hence the evidence suggests that liberal, tolerant societies have far fewer incidences of the very problems religious conservatives lay at the feet of liberalism! The UK is an anomaly, which suggests culture also plays a part. Whatever, if you’re really serious about promoting marriage and family life, it would seem a vote for recognising same-sex partnerships (not necessarily SSM) and a more tolerant and open attitude towards sex and sexuality seems to be the best way to come up with the goods!

    Regards:

    Peter Denshaw
    London

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  8. Peter

    You said that many liberal democracies, countries which allow same-sex partnerships (and have a tolerant attitude to sex and sexuality in general) tend to have lower divorce rates, lower rates of single parents, lower rates of teen pregnancy and higher rates of two parent families than religiously conservative societies.

    OK Peter give us the data.....

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    1. No response then David I doubted whether you would find any data to support your argument.

      Far more data suggesting the reverse in that liberal attitudes to sex lead to social breakdown.

      Indeed more evidence to suggest that liberal sexual and homosexual tolerant societies lead to the end of that society.

      My Vicar (CofE) suggests that the evidence is that tolerance of homosexuality is evidence of God washing his hands or has given up of a particular country or group of people.

      Still waiting for your evidence....

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    2. @ Phil Here’s a few inks

      http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/10/single-parents-around-the-world/
      http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm

      But it is fairly easy to just look at census material from across Europe. The USA is the most interesting in that if you place a map showing the Bible Belt and that a map showing the highest divorce rate, they are basically the same! (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divorce_in_the_United_States and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BibleBelt.png). Oddly enough Massachusetts has the LOWEST divorce rate in the USA! Just as Finland has the highest rate of two parent families in the Western world (closely followed by the Netherlands).

      Your vicar sounds a lovely man!

      Regards:

      Peter Denshaw

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  9. Mr Wood: The Government's proposal to legalise gay (civil) marriage won't affect the Church one iota. As a Christian, would you prefer to live in a theocracy where everyone has to abide by rules acceptable only to people like yourself and Lord Carey? It would be intolerant if gay atheists have to live by what you believe to be God's Rules.

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  10. "Mr Wood: The Government's proposal to legalise gay (civil) marriage won't affect the Church one iota.

    Fr David. Clearly you have not thought through the issue. SSM will affect everybody in society, not least Christian families and children in them. It is a re-definition of marriage for EVERYBODY. Once SSM is legal under law then there is a sexual "open house" for other minority goups with a vested interest - Muslims, mormons, bisexuals, polyamorists.
    There is no compelling reason at all for a change in the law. Homosexuals already HAVE full equality. If they wish to contract some sort of "marriage ceremony", then they are free to do so, as with any other group or sect.

    "would you prefer to live in a theocracy where everyone has to abide by rules acceptable only to people like yourself and Lord Carey?

    Straw man. It is not the issue and will not arise.

    "It would be intolerant if gay atheists have to live by what you believe to be God's Rules.

    So be it. I don't make the rules.

    I repeat again. There is simply no case to be made to alter the status quo. I have yet to find one single advoctate of SSM to make that case.

    As has been sdaid many times - this is not about homosexuals, but rather a marriage definition issue.

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  11. For SSM enthusiasts - a better summary of the issue would be hard to find" (not mine - but another blog comment)

    "And since when is a government going to legitimately rule on ‘love’? All the qualifications a government needs to be concerned with for marriage are already available. Everybody in the UK already has the same rules that apply to them. They are:

    1. One partner only.
    2. Opposite sex.
    3. Old enough.
    4. Not a close relative.

    Everybody. Equality. End of story.

    If the less than 1% of the population is homosexual and want to change the ground rules why should the other 99% majority be compelled to change existing law.
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

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  12. David Cameron has made no proposal to introduce anything other than monogamous gay marriage. You are arguing against what you imagine might happen, not what WILL happen.


    1. One partner only.
    2. Same-sex.
    3. Old enough.
    4. Not a close relative.

    Everybody. Equality. End of story.

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  13. Why points 1, 3 and 4 then?

    Dan

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  14. Fr David. You wrote:
    "It would be intolerant if gay atheists have to live by what you believe to be God's Rules."

    What then do you believe to be 'God's Rules'?

    I suggest they are expressed repeatedly by Jesus himself, and on this issue so clearly that ambiguity is impossible.

    Please explain: what do you not understand about the words of Jesus in Mark 10:2-12?
    Without twisting Scripture here, or elsewhere for that matter, such words cannot possibly be construed to identify or apply to homosexuals.

    Why not be honest and admit that a case for homosexual 'marriage' nowhere exists - but conversley, the assumption of male female heterosexual marriage is everywhere from Genesis to Revelation, in our society, and recognised world-wide.

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  15. Julian
    Reading through the comments on this thread, it would be useful if there were a Biblical exposition on the "One Flesh" basis of 'marriage'. Beginning in Genesis, going through 'The Law and The Prophets', Dominical teaching in the Gospels and the practical outworking in the Epistles. Anglican theology must be soundly based on scripture - Article XX, ‘Of the Authority of the Church’, which, insists that it cannot lawfully “ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written".
    This must be the basis of any theological reasoning in the C. of E. not something out of "The Archers" as quoted by the Bishop of Salisbury.

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  16. Tio Tel. An interesting comment. As it happens your comment calling for a Biblical exposition on the "One Flesh" basis of marriage was anticipated in Frank Viola's book 'From Eternity to Here', subitled 'Rediscovering the ageless purpose of God' which does indeed trace the theme of God's Bride as the church, from Genesis to Revelation. It is a remarkable and very spiritually rewarding work.

    As to your reference to Article XX on the Authority of the Church. Nothing could be clearer!

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  17. Fr David wrote: "Everybody. Equality. End of story."

    Why is "equality" in this sense either relevant or desirable?

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    1. Well, relevant in that equality is actually what this whole issue is about. And most people would believe that equality is 'generally' desirable. I think the onus is on the anti-SSM camp to expain why equality is not desirable bearing in mind issues such as our contemporary culture and the state of 'traditional' marriage. The main arguement seems to be 'this is the way it has always been so this is the way it should stay'.

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  18. The selective statistics Mr Denshaw has produced do not in any way demonstrate that societies can get away with undermining the God-created institution of man-woman marriage and not suffer disastrous social consequences. The social disaster of the 1960s is taking decades to work itself out on Western democracies, which demonstrates how stable they were under Christian influence.

    Re Peter Tatchell's stance on the age of consent, here is what he wrote back in January of last year: http://www.petertatchell.net/lgbt_rights/age_of_consent/index.htm

    Mr Tatchell has shown himself to be an honest man generally in his public life, even though orthodox Christians must seriously disagree with him. His statement above should be taken as his considered view and there he makes clear that he does not advocate adults having sexual relations with under-age children.

    Re Phil's vicar: the gentleman's view as represented by Phil is quite compatible with his being a good Christian man and is arguably a manifestation of his Christian character.

    Mr Denshaw's sarcastic comment about him is therefore unwarranted.

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    1. Appreciate your comments on Peter Tatchell. Certain sections of the media & the christian press like to portray him badly. However, he primarily seems to believe in & campaign for peoples rights and has on a number of occasions spoken out for christians rights to express their views, however much he disagrees with them.

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  19. Mr Tatchell has been in touch with a very courteous e-mail and has asked that the link to his site re the age of consent be made live: Peter Tatchell.

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