“Stop The Madness” was the theme of the New Jersey Family Research Council’s annual fundraiser in April 2004. Rev. Ron Crews, former Georgia legislator, college instructor, pastor and, most recently, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, gave a stirring review and assessment of the “madness.” I later interviewed him for our radio program. His remarks were enough to chill any serious Bible believer and shake every Bible-believing church. We offered the full interview—and there were no responses. We were shocked. Then we learned that the lack of response we saw was not unique. It seems that indifference toward the “madness” has settled over the church as a whole.
The “madness” was embodied in the events of May 17, 2004—a day that will live in moral infamy—when Massachusetts issued the first legal same-sex marriage licenses. A cherished historic standard, the abiding wisdom of the ages, and the decree of God had all been recklessly abandoned. It was the beginning of a tidal wave of legal, social and moral change.
Over the next decade, 12 other states and the District of Columbia legalized same-sex marriage. Under President Obama, the Department of Justice stopped defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman, and actually intervened on behalf of a plaintiff seeking to have it ruled unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court did just that in June 2013. That set in motion a surge of change, and gay marriage was soon legal in 38 states, D.C, and Guam.
In June 2015 – just 11 years after the Massachusetts precedent – the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that same-sex couples had a fundamental right to marry guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and ordered states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize marriages performed in other states. The tidal wave had forever altered the landscape.
Why has this moral madness inspired so little church resistance? This question is exasperating and frightening. There is “very little fuss in the pews” right now, but there will be a lot of fuss when the full impact of the madness of legal same-sex marriage becomes apparent to the body of Christ.
Moral and Family Erosion
Some have said, “How can we understand the impact of this issue compared with abortion? That kills someone, but no one has died because of same-sex marriages.” The answer is simple. Abortion kills a person; same-sex marriage may kill a nation. When the last bastion of male-female marriage can be scuttled, a serious collapse of society is imminent.
Let’s review the breakdown in both morals and the family that has led to this grievous situation. For years, traditional society and its legitimate guilt and shame over divorce kept marriages and families stable. Then divorce grew to have little or no stigma and became easy to obtain. “No fault” divorces became common. When no one has to take any blame for a broken marriage, there is “a stampede away from responsibility,” as Vance Havner once put it.
It is no coincidence that the breakdown began with the family. The first attack of Satan was against the family; he separated Adam from Eve and questioned the wisdom of God in establishing prohibitions. Adam was to be Eve’s teacher and protector, but one may infer from Genesis 3 that Adam was not present when Eve was tempted to eat of the forbidden fruit. If he was present and he stood by silently when Satan addressed Eve, then Adam was indeed a scoundrel.
A further breakdown took place as fornication (sex outside of marriage) and adultery (sex with someone other than one’s spouse) were “decriminalized”; long-standing laws against them were taken off the books and they were tacitly legalized. They became recurring themes in movies and TV shows. Even a United States president could not be disciplined for committing vile acts in the White House against his wife, family, political party and the nation.
Next, various sexual aberrations were openly discussed and practiced. Sodomy laws were taken off the books. Gay characters are now regularly featured on TV and in the movies, thus giving the lifestyle an endorsement of “normal.”
The homosexual lifestyle then crept into the church. Gay bishops, pastors and church leaders are now accepted in some denominations. In 2003, the Episcopal Church ordained a gay bishop in New Hampshire who had divorced his wife and had been openly living with another man for some time. In Washington State, a United Methodist Church clergy jury voted to retain the ministerial credentials of a self-avowed lesbian. (The UMC has since changed that policy). Other mainline denominations are discussing similar allowances for gay clergy.
Tragically, the problem is not just in the “mainline” denominations. I know of several situations where evangelical pastors’ ministries were destroyed when they became ensnared in the homosexual lifestyle. Acceptance of gay marriage is even creeping into evangelical circles as popular speakers and authors speak out in favor of it.
This madness is best understood in the context of one Episcopalian church official’s comment during the debate over whether to ordain a gay bishop. “We take the Bible seriously, but we don’t take it literally.”
The issue boils down to Scriptural inspiration and authority. If the Bible is false, then nothing matters. If the Bible is true, then nothing else matters.
The precedent for marriage is set in Genesis 1:27 when God created a man and a woman. The term “help meet” in Gen. 2:18 in the old King James Version does not mean “help mate.” It means “appropriate.” At the least, gay marriage is inappropriate from the beginning.
Some denominational leaders have twisted Bible verses and taken others out of context to defend their position on homosexuality and gay marriage. However, when studying a Bible theme, especially one so intense and crucial as homosexuality, we must consider all the mentions in the Bible. This includes first mention, further mention, full mention and the final mention.
In Gen. 18:20, God says He will destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because “...their sin is very grave…” This sin is described in Gen. 19:4 & 5. Some have tried to say that was a sin of inhospitality, but it is clearly homosexuality. The word “know” means sexual contact. In fact, we get the term “sodomy” from the name of the city. It should be noted that after Gen. 18, all references to Sodom in the Old Testament (25) and the New Testament (9) are negative. Of the five references to “sodomite(s)” in the Old Testament, all are also negative.
* Leviticus 18:22 – “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” God’s view of homosexuality is very clear.
* Leviticus 20:13 – Homosexuality was “an abomination” punishable by death.
* Deuteronomy 23:17 – Homosexuality is specifically forbidden. The Hebrew word translated as “perverted” in newer versions of the Bible means “one practicing sodomy.”
* Judges 19:22, 23 – Male townspeople lusted for a male stranger who had been shown hospitality. (Note the similarities to Gen. 19.) They are called “sons of Belial” in the old King James Version, which means men of extreme worthlessness or ungodliness. The New KJV translates the word “perverted.”
* I Kings 15:12, 22:46 – Male prostitutes were removed as part of spiritual reformation indicating that their lifestyle was sinful.
* In Romans 1:24-32, Paul describes a moral decay that begins with a denial of God’s truth followed by, in order, adultery (vs. 24), homosexuality (vs. 26 & 27) and, finally, lunacy (28).
Because people rejected God’s truth, He “gave them up” to vile passions. The extent of the degeneracy includes lesbians. “…even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature”(vs. 26). The NIV translates this as “exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.” Paul’s phrasing seems to indicate that this was extreme even in a pagan culture. He goes on to describe “men, leaving the natural use of the woman… men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their of error which was due.” (vs. 27) This may be disease or death. (“Penalty” is also translated as “wages, hire, reward” as in Romans 3:23 – “the wages of sin is death.”)
Verse 28 says that those who reject God’s truth have degenerate minds incapable of comprehending truth and are given to every form of listed perversity (vs. 29-31). Tragically, all those who practice these perversions are “deserving of death” and so are those who approve of them (vs. 32). People who think well of those who are so involved are under the same judgement!
* I Corinthians 6:9-11 details a list of “unrighteous” who will not inherit the kingdom of God. This includes homosexuals. The term “sodomite” in the Greek literally means “men in bed” or “men in coitus.” Verse 11 indicates that this lifestyle was in the past for some of the Corinthians. Paul says, “...such were some of you,” meaning that you can’t inherit the Kingdom if you are unrighteous.
Note: The word translated “homosexuals” in verse 10 in the NKJV is from a Greek word meaning “soft.” Other versions translate this as “effeminate.” This refers to one who is sensual and given to things of the flesh and evidently includes homosexuality.
* Paul again speaks of homosexuality in I Timothy 1:9-11, where he says that the Law was given for those who are against sound doctrine, including homosexuals (sodomites). This is the same word as in I Cor. 6:9.
* Peter also spoke of homosexuality in his second epistle (II Peter 2:6-10). He wrote of God’s punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah. He describes them as “ungodly” (vs. 6), “filthy… wicked” (vs. 7) and “unlawful” (vs. 8). He goes on to say that the Lord reserves punishment especially for those who “walk according to the lust of uncleanness.” He also describes them as being unafraid to speak against the government (vs. 9 & 10).
* In a similar passage, Jude 7 also speaks of Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of punishment for forsaking God’s truth. He speaks of their “fornication” (“sexual immorality” in newer translations), which may also be homosexuality, and that they went after “strange flesh.” For this, they suffer “the vengeance of eternal fire.”
* Revelation 21 lists those who are excluded from Heaven including those who are “abominable” (vs. 8) and “…an abomination” (vs. 27), a clear reference to Lev. 18:22.
* Rev. 22:15 – Outside of the heavenly city are “dogs”—the name for male prostitutes (see Deuteronomy 23:17 & 18).
Some supporters of the homosexual lifestyle claim that Christ never addressed the issue. However, He was not silent on the subject. Jesus spoke about sodomy in reference to relative judgements regarding a city’s acceptance of revealed truth (Matthew11:21-24, Mark 6:11 and Luke 10:12-14). He said that if His preaching in Capernaum had been done in Sodom, it would have repented in sackcloth and ashes. In other words, Sodom needed repentance and was destroyed because it lacked it. The need for repentance indicates there is sin. Sodomy (homosexuality) obviously needs to be repented of. If not, one falls under God’s judgement.
Christ also spoke of God’s plan for marriage in the matter of the question over divorce. Matthew and Mark both record Jesus’ answer to the issues of whether a man could divorce his wife for most any cause. Christ quoted from Genesis (1:27; 2:24) and said, “From the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh.” (Mark 10:6, 7) That is about as clear as it can be. God’s precedent for marriage is one man and one woman, and Jesus reiterated that.
Legal and Social Issues
Aside from the flying in the face of Biblical precedent, the madness of gay marriage affects numerous other legal and social issues.
Isaiah 33:22 reveals God as “Judge… Lawgiver… and King.” It is thought that our founders relied on this description to craft the threefold judicial, legislative and executive branches of the new government.
As an example of legal subversion, the judicial branch in Massachusetts—not the legislative—tacitly created a new law. It did not decide whether a law was constitutional; it said it found no constitutional reason not to allow same sex marriage and then issued a deadline for government issue of the marriage licenses. Both the Massachusetts Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court refused to hear arguments on a “stay,” which would have given more time to consider the decision. The Massachusetts supreme court, in effect, made a law almost instantly.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision was similarly criticized even by its own justices. In his dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “…the majority’s approach has no basis in principle or tradition, except for the unprincipled tradition of judicial policymaking…. But this Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be.”
Now that same-sex marriage has become the standard across the country, laws regarding adoption, inheritance, employment benefits, medical treatment, Social Security benefits, military service and divorce will be changed.
Adoption, inheritance and next-of-kin laws will be affected as will military housing, benefits and pay. Social security spousal benefits will increase. There will also be an increase in health costs due to providing benefits to same-sex “spouses.”
With the legality of homosexuality and same-sex marriages permanent, the day might not be far off when churches, organizations and broadcasters and anyone speaking publicly against these matters could be charged with hate crimes and fined, arrested or imprisoned. This is already the case in Canada. We have already seen a similar scenario playing out in the U.S. with Christian florists and bakers who declined to participate in gay wedding celebrations.
Always waiting in the wings is the removal of tax exemption from churches and groups that do not conform to “accepted public policy” or are guilty of some form of “discrimination.
Conventional titles have changed. Marriage license applications no longer designate Groom and Bride. Individuals are Party 1 and Party 2 or Applicant 1 and Applicant 2 with boxes to indicate the sex of each. Some applications have optional boxes to check for “bride,” “groom” or simply “spouse.”
Downfall of Traditional Marriage
We are told that same-sex marriage will not affect conventional marriage, but previous situations show otherwise. In Scandinavia, where homosexual marriage is legal, conventional marriages have almost disappeared and the out-of-wedlock birth rate has soared.
WORLD magazine ran a cover story (3/6/04) on gay marriage in Scandinavia. The article quoted Stanley Kurtz, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of The Weekly Standard article “The End of Marriage in Scandinavia”. Kurtz said, “Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable.” The value of marriage in general has been diminished so much as a result of legal same-sex marriage that even couples who do get married traditionally are embarrassed to admit it.
Numerous studies have found that children raised by married, heterosexual couples are at a far greater advantage socially, emotionally and academically than those raised by homosexuals or even single parents. Consider these findings:
There is a higher incidence of emotional disturbance in children of same-sex homes. Children reared in homosexual households are more likely to experience sexual confusion, practice homosexual behavior and engage in sexual experimentation. Children of cohabiting heterosexual and homosexual couples are less likely to do well at school, in academic and social terms, than children of married (heterosexual) couples. The American College of Pediatricians believes that homosexual parenting, whether by adoption, foster care or “reproductive manipulation”, is inappropriate and potentially hazardous to children.
The inevitable situation of splitting up or legal divorce among homosexual couples with children would surely damage children even further. What happens when two “mommies” or “daddies” separate and each finds a new partner? Does a child then have four same-sex parents with no parental figures of the opposite sex? Things are bad enough when many of our children are raised with two sets of heterosexual parents!
Defaming a State’s Special Heritage
Foes of the Gospel and God’s laws have defiled a great spiritual heritage. Massachusetts was a cradle of freedom under God. The Pilgrims and Puritans settled there, and we nationally honor the Pilgrims at Thanksgiving for their bravery, endurance and spirituality in the first Thanksgiving celebration.
The first organized government document in this country was the Mayflower Compact, formed because the settlers realized they were in a new jurisdiction. It begins, “In the name of God, Amen,” and speaks of the Pilgrims coming to this land for the advancement of the Christian religion. The Mayflower Compact influenced all other constitutions written in America. In fact, the Massachusetts Constitution, adopted in 1780, had this requirement for all persons elected to state office: “…I do declare that I believe the Christian religion and have firm persuasion of its truth.”
Massachusetts also hosted a great revival under the ministry of Jonathan Edwards, who preached the famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. The famous evangelist Dwight L. Moody was born, saved and is buried in Massachusetts.
Future Relationship Rulings
Ron Crews argues that the Massachusetts case has no merit because there is nothing to exclude any “polyamoric” union—any combination of multiple males or females. Ultimately, the ruling must also allow for polygamy (more than one wife), polyandry (more than one husband) and polyamory (multiples of either sex). If the Massachusetts ruling is carried to its furthest bounds, what legal restraints could be enforced against bestiality or marrying a pet? How many other situations once thought to be offensive will be challenged in court?
Illustration of Salvation
In Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul uses the marriage relationship between husband and wife as an illustration of the relationship between Christ, the bridegroom, and His redeemed Church, the bride. He very definitely speaks of a relationship between a man and a woman. If ever there was gross spiritual subversion of this illustration of Christ and His bride, same-sex marriage is it.
The Prophetic Future
Paul describes people in the end times as being “lovers of their own selves” and “lovers of pleasure more than God.” (II Tim. 3:2 & 4) In their agenda to promote their lifestyle, homosexuals put their “rights” and personal preferences ahead of the country, traditional views, God and the majority of people who are against it.
Antichrist may be a homosexual. Daniel 11:37 says, “He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women…” Along with the ultimate blasphemies against God and the persecution of the saints, Antichrist will contemplate changing the “times and law” (Daniel 7:25), actually “time and law” (singular) in the Hebrew. The basic law of traditional society is a family beginning with one husband and one wife. When the laws of the land are being contorted to include the aberration of same-sex marriage as normal, it is likely a dismal end-time indicator.
What to Do
Have we gone too far to come back? Is there anything that can be done? As Christians, we do have many opportunities to make a difference.
Pray for revival – There are Biblical examples of how God’s judgment was delayed or removed when national revival took place:
* Joshua 7 – Achan’s sin was seen as a national sin. Its removal was required in order for the Lord to turn from His anger against Israel.
* Joel 2:12-17 – God’s people were called to repentance and prayer. The result was refreshed land and a pouring out of God’s spirit.
* II Chronicles 34 – During King Josiah’s reign, Hilkiah, the high priest, found the long-neglected Book of the Law. Josiah instituted national cleansing and worship, and God’s judgment for unbelief was stayed.
Draw clear lines – Give clear instruction at home on what is right and what is wrong. Urge clear teaching in the church. With “seeker sensitivity” dominating, some people are afraid to speak out. Others may hesitate to speak out for fear of losing tax exemption by seeming to associate with a specific politician or political party.
Register and vote – Keep in mind that judges are appointed by elected officials (governors and the President). A vote now—or a lack of one—can affect judicial decisions made years down the road.
Speak the truth in love – Remember to hate the sin and love the sinner. Include the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) in debate and conversation (see above on first, further, full and final mention). The truth of God’s Word may offend or “wound,” but salvation brings ultimate healing.
Evangelize – If you know someone who practices the homosexual lifestyle, share the Gospel with him or her. A sincere believer with an understanding of God’s Word will have a desire to abandon the homosexual lifestyle. One more convert is one less advocate.
Be expectant – Jesus’ return for the Church may not be far off. Or, if the Lord tarries and things do not turn around, perhaps we should expect God’s judgment to fall.
At no time in American history has the family fabric been so fragile. The founders of our country and framers of our Constitution never dreamed we would need a constitutional amendment to preserve the simple definition of marriage from Genesis, Jesus Christ and Paul. Marriage is currently not only being degraded but also being perverted. Politicians are intimidated, many Christians are indifferent, and the Devil—who wrecked the first family—is delighted.
The issue reaches into every home, every church and every sector of society. This savage attack is too deep for honest Christians to ignore or to consider themselves above the fray. As citizens of two kingdoms—earth and heaven—we have a double responsibility to defend and preserve traditional family standards as well as to evangelize. If we must be casualties in this wrenching culture war, let our battle wounds be in our chest facing the foe rather than in our backs fleeing the conflict. God will hold us accountable for standing for Biblical truth and social stability in such a time as this.
Fighting for the future of our culture and country is of great concern, but there is a greater concern for each of us personally—our eternal future. If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior, do it today!
Regardless of our lifestyle, “all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Every person needs a new birth from God. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross and rise again so that we can be free from the penalty of sin. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Pray the sinner’s prayer, “God be merciful to me the sinner.” (Luke 18:13) Invite Jesus Christ into your heart in simple faith. Romans 10:13 promises that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Scripture verses are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Note: This commentary was originally written in 2004. It has been edited to reflect the change in federal law as a result of the June 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision.