If you ever wonder about the significance and relevance of the Christian Research Journal all you have to do is look at what is happening in our culture. The other day in California (8/4/2010), a Federal Court Judge ruled against Proposition 8, the law that banned same sex marriage in California. The judge said that the law fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license.
Joe Dallas, program director of Genesis Counseling in Tustin, California, provides in the Christian Research Journal a rational basis for a marriage to be restricted to a man and woman, not a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, or any other combination. Again, the words of Joe Dallas in the Christian Research Journal provide the very rational basis that what the judge said does not exist.1
Same sex marriage seems a matter that does in fact warrant concern from believers and also warrants responsible Christian activism. It’s true that we should fulfill the Great Commission but it is equally true that we should fulfill the cultural mandate. You don’t say, “I’m going to eat or breathe;” rather, you both breathe and eat!
As Joe Dallas has aptly pointed out in the Christian Research Journal,
Redefining marriage to include same-sex coupling raises the question of societal stability, and the welfare of children, both of which speak directly to the common good [or the principle of cultural mandate]. And if both are affected negatively the proposed redefinition of marriage, then Christian resistance is called for, not (primarily) because of a biblical prohibition against homosexuality but because of the negative impact same sex marriage has on the common good.
Research indicates that monogamy literally stabilizes cultural life, and that heterosexual couples are far more likely to remain monogamous than homosexual ones. Likewise, volumes of research show children raised in a two-parent home by their biological mother and father fare better socially, academically, and emotionally than those raised in alternative arrangements.
If research consistently shows that children function best when raised by their two biological parents and that monogamy is more likely among heterosexual couples than homosexual couples, and if both child welfare and cultural stability impact common good, then a redefinition of marriage warrants Christian concern and response.2
You can’t just say, “I’m going to abdicate the legislative process.” We are called to be involved in the Great Commission and cultural mandate. That’s the point, it’s not one or the other, it’s both/and.
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Some obviously do resist any advance in gay rights for the wrong reason. They are prejudice. But what we’re talking about here is not prejudice. We are talking about fact based conviction. It’s unfair and inaccurate to assume all who object to gay marriage object to gay marriage out of blind prejudice, when in fact, as Joe Dallas has aptly demonstrated in the Christian Research Journal, they could be basing their position on the reasonable premise that all citizens benefit when the definition and function of the family stays intact.3
So when you listen to the “talking heads” and you start scratching your own head, and you wonder, “How am I to think about this because maybe they have a point? Maybe, Prop. 8 should be dust and history, swept into the dust bin of history!” But…on the other hand, if you are informed, you no longer scratch your head, you use your head, and you recognize that the judge is making a dogmatic assertion rather than a defensible argument, when he says that the law fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license.
By the way, this is not only aptly dealt with in the Christian Research Journal by Joe Dallas, but in the current edition of the Christian Research Journal there’s an article dealing with defining the biblical concept of family, which is right at the heart and root of what this discussion is all about.4 If that unravels, we are going to see chaos, upon chaos, upon chaos, upon chaos. We have been asleep at the switch because we are not ready always to give an answer or a reason for the hope that lies within us with gentleness and with respect. The reason that we offer the Christian Research Journal, the Bible Answer Man broadcast, and the many ministries of the Christian Research Institute is to equip you to always be ready with an answer for the reason of the hope that lies within you and to be able to give that answer with gentleness and respect but in a persuasive fashion.
These issues are available through the Christian Research Institute. To obtain copies, please click here.
1. cf. Joe Dallas, “Proposition 8: A Christian Quandary,” Christian Research Journal, 32, 4 : 58-60.
2. Ibid., 59-60.
3. Ibid., 60.
4. cf. Joe Dallas, “The ‘Family’ Quarrel: Defining and Defending the Biblical Concept of Family, Christian Research Journal, 33, 3 : 44-53.