Attend the Gay Wedding? *NEW*
Hello Critical Thinkers,
June is LGBT Pride Month and also a popular wedding month, so let’s discuss attending gay weddings!
Here Comes the ... Invitation
You're a Bible believing church going Saint that also manages to be cool with your gay friends and family. Now you’ve just received an invitation to one of their weddings. Wonderful! You're not the weird Christian. But you have a decision to make.
A wedding is an event for friends and loved ones to gather, and publicly pledge to support the union about to be witnessed. Does showing them love mean you attend, or decline?
Love is Love
‘Love is Love’ is one of the more popular taglines related to the gay rights movement in recent decades. The idea is that love looks the same no matter who is involved so homosexuality isn’t a big deal. Also, the Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8) so many wonder how he can be against gay love.
With everyone using their understanding of love to formulate their views on this matter, it is important to more clearly define the term.
In the Bible we find four different Greek words for love:
· Eros – Romantic or sexual love.
· Phileo – A brotherly love towards good friends.
· Storge – Love of family and spouse.
· Agape – Deep, sacrificial love that is of and from God.
As an invitee you are someone that loves (phileo/storge) one or both members of the couple and desire to support their love (eros) for each other. However, you either think God doesn’t support eros love between same gendered people, or he does. If he doesn’t, your attending the wedding to acknowledge the couple’s eros love is not showing agape love to them. Encouraging behavior that leads to someone’s spiritual judgement is not love at all. On the flip side you can say yes you love (phileo) God, but you don’t agree with him on this subject and therefore attend the wedding anyway.
Christians on Homosexuality
The traditional stance of Christians against homosexual practices stems from the interpretation of the following Bible verses:
Christians also point to the absence of gay couples in the Bible as further proof of God’s stance on the matter.
Homosexuality is particularly sensitive even within the church because many believe that all humans are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of good sex. The idea that two upstanding citizens of the same gender who are in love, should not be in a romantic relationship is considered by some to be cruel in general, and prejudiced towards the gay community specifically.
Either God of All, or Not God at All.
So, you don't agree with God's stance on homosexuality? Congratulations you are what they call human! It's totally understandable. All of us have one thing or thirty that they wish was not in the Bible. Still the truth is, God’s decree was not voted on it was commanded. Christianity is not a democracy, it's more like a benevolent dictatorship.
If you love (agape) God then nothing else matters when you don’t agree with him – it’s his way. You only get to choose if you're in the faith or out, with God or against him. At the same time it’s important to remember you’re not abandoning the relationship or condemning anyone. You can accept any person without approving of everything they do. Christ does that with us!
Now if you believe the Bible is true and God is true almost all of the time - but you disagree with God on homosexuality, what is the reason? Was the cause of the shift doctrinal, or something else? If it’s doctrinal you would have to make a strong case against the fact that the 6 verses above reveal God’s opposition to homosexual activity.
If it’s something else, that something else is your authority, not God or the Bible. For instance, say your favorite cousin coming out of the closet causes you to believe that God is wrong on homosexuality. Then God wasn’t really Lord of your life to begin with because you’ve placed another authority over his, your feelings.
Are You Good with God?
I’ve had quite a few people disagree with me on attending, just to find when we dig deeper they’re not in line with God in other major areas of their life either. When discussing this topic now I always include the question:
“Besides this issue, would you say you’re in right standing with God?”
Because if you’re not a sold out, Bible studying, daily praying, fruit producing Christian there is no way you’ll be able to fall in line with God on this when your heart/flesh says otherwise. If you make a practice of giving into your flesh more than the spirit in your daily habits, your approval of homosexual lifestyles is not the issue it’s the symptom. The issue is your weak faith. I talk about how to build spiritual disciplines in my article on navigating tough discussions here.
Now don’t get me wrong, WANTING to support and actually attending the wedding are two totally different things. Wanting to support doesn’t make you a backsliding Christian, just like being same sex attracted doesn't mean you have to live a homosexual lifestyle. I know the motto of today’s society is I feel, therefore I am. So to advise someone to deny themself something society and their flesh says is good is like torturing kittens purely for Youtube views. The truth is you don’t have to chase or feed every emotion or inclination (2 Corinthians 10:5). Feelings do not equate to identity or truth.
For heterosexuals and same sex attracted individuals that affirm homosexuality, to align with God on this issue is a spiritual challenge that needs a spiritual strategy. That strategy involves nothing less than submitting all to Christ (Philippians 1:21). Same goes for the persecuted Christian convert in Pakistan thinking life is just easier going back to Islam, or a wife of a sick husband tempted to cheat with an attractive healthy man. The temptation is not the sin, the partaking of the sin is. We are all broken we just express that brokenness in different ways. And all need to come to the throne of God for help with that brokenness.
Affirmation or Homophobia
There is a false dichotomy forced on Christians and that is that you either affirm the gay lifestyle or you are a homophobic, anti-gay, down with love, bigot who deserves to be silenced. That’s ironic coming from those who seek to define love on their own terms. Here’s love on my terms: I can love someone and disapprove of their actions at the same time.
While a student at Rutgers University I failed Calculus 4 (a course often used by Satan to frustrate nice undergrads like myself), but needed it to graduate in my major. If my professor allowed me to cheat or changed my grade because he liked me that would have left me less prepared for the next level math course and be a horrible example regarding ethics. He didn’t and shouldn’t rewrite the rules for me. I had to fall in line and study harder the next time or decide I didn’t want that degree.
I love (agape) God and love (phileo/agape) my same sex friends. That love will lead me to make some uncomfortable decisions but that doesn’t change my mind. Ultimately, it’s not my call since I am surrendered to Christ. That doesn’t make me homophobic it makes me faithful. And really if I think a homosexual lifestyle will lead to judgment but I keep silent and attend a gay wedding, that’s a selfish act of hate not love. Truth be told going to a wedding won’t lead to me being condemned. How crazy would it be for me then to be in the clear while cheering on someone else’s spiritually harmful activity!
Declining the Wedding, Maintaining the Relationship
If the decision is to decline, that doesn't have to mean the end of the relationship if it is in your power to maintain it. The church admittedly has a poor history of addressing this topic and singling out homosexuality as a special sin. However, we look to Christ for how to love, not the example of self-professed Christians that abuse and ostracize gay people in the past.
RZIM Speaker Sam Allberry suggests you can honor and celebrate the couple’s phileo love with dinner at your home for example and continued fellowship activities together. This should be done with a truly hospitable heart and with a goal of friendship first. In her book “The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World” author Rosaria Butterfield points out that Jesus himself dined with people that were not living according to the law (Mark 2:15). His acceptance of them didn’t at all mean he approved of everything they did. May we all strive to achieve that same balance of truth and grace with all people.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.
And be sure to subscribe to my blog for more relevant content in Urban Apologetics!
Ciao for now!