The reality is that Christians who define Christianity in terms of historic Christian doctrine and moral teachings do not believe merely that these teachings are true, but that they point to the only way that will produce real and lasting human happiness. We are not merely opposed to same-sex marriage because we believe it to be contrary to Scripture; we believe that anything opposed to Scripture cannot lead to human flourishing.
The gospel promises salvation to anyone who repents of sin and believes in Christ as the crucified and resurrected Lord. If we misunderstand or misrepresent what sin is, we under-cut the work of Christ and our knowledge of the fact that we need a Savior. Furthermore, if we abandon the teachings of the Bible on sexual morality, we confuse the world—and ourselves—about repentance.
The Bible is not merely an inspired book of doctrinal truths. It tells a story of God’s act of creation and of the reality of human sin, of the depth of God’s saving love for His people in Christ, and the story of where history is headed. The Bible also warns us against any effort to change that story or to tell it wrongly. Yes, it warns us against the sin of teaching what the Bible calls “another gospel” than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The current American landscape includes the more liberal churches that are doing their best to join the sexual revolution and the more conservative churches that cannot follow. Simple honesty requires acknowledgment that it is the conservative churches that are teaching what Christianity has taught for two millennia.
We are told that holding to biblical authority and the historic Christian faith will lead to our marginalization. Perhaps so, but it is the more liberal churches that have been hemorrhaging members by the millions for the last four decades and, even in a secularizing age, it is the most secularized denominations that have suffered the greatest membership losses.
We do understand what is at stake in terms of the human judgment of history, but we are far more concerned about the divine verdict of eternity. We must speak the truth in love and seek to be good neighbors to all, but we cannot abandon the faith just because we are told that we are now on the wrong side of history.
Our response to those who are involved in homosexuality must be marked by genuine compassion. But a central task of genuine compassion is telling the truth, and the Bible reveals a true message we must convey. Those who contort and subvert the Bible’s message are not responding to homosexuals with compassion. Lying is never compassionate—and it leads ultimately to death.
In the end, the church will either declare the truth of God’s Word or it will find a way to run away from it. It ultimately comes down to trust. Do we trust the Bible to tell us truthfully what God desires and commands about our sexuality? If so, we know where we stand and we know what to say. If not, it is time we admit to the world that we do not have the slightest clue.