This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it. — G. K. Chesterton
Dear CRI Partner:
Many folks haven’t noticed. But there’s a massive “reality shift” taking place.
Its scope is stunning, and its pace is dizzying.
Just consider the following:
In 1996—less than 20 years ago, a mere blink in history—only 27 percent of the United States population supported same-sex marriage. Today, 83 percent of voters believe that same-sex marriage will be legal across the United States within 5–10 years, though many of those doubt that it will take even that long.
As a Time magazine article put it in March 2013,
“Yesterday’s impossible now looks like tomorrow’s inevitable.”
In their new book, Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage, Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet describe not only the remarkable advance of same-sex marriage but also the plan that has driven a development once thought impossible.
Although they need no introduction to many serious students of apologetics, Sean has a PhD in apologetics and worldview studies and is a professor at Biola University. John, who holds an MA in Christian thought from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, is executive director of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and cohost of Breakpoint, the radio program founded by the late Chuck Colson.
In short, these guys know what they’re talking about. In spades.
But just as important as being serious scholars, they’re also deeply caring and compassionate practitioners. They not only understand what the Bible says about marriage but also “walk the walk” daily in the midst of these new social, cultural, and spiritual realities in ways that touch thousands of
lives through their respective ministries.
Let me be quick to say that I realize “same-sex marriage” is not a topic that heads the reading lists of most Christians. Quite frankly, multitudes are simply in denial while others are counterproductively fueling the vitriol that undermines Christian witness.
But if there is a “Must Read” book to help understand a crucial dynamic that is radically transforming our nation, this may well be it.
Because much more than just providing a thoughtful and engaging analysis of the ways same-sex marriage is changing the very fabric of life in the United States, McDowell and Stonestreet share solidly biblical and compassionate ways in which we, as Christians, need to respond.
To just touch on the dizzying speed with which our nation’s cultural and social landscape has changed, consider the following:
When Evan Wolfson wrote what was one of the earliest cases for same-sex marriage in a Harvard Law School thesis in 1983, even most gay activists found the idea to be too radical and too unrealistic….Today, of course, it is assumed by most that the issue is settled or at least inevitable. The major debate now is what on earth to do with those who don’t acknowledge same-sex marriage as legitimate.
In describing the reactions of different Christian camps, McDowell and Stonestreet note:
In light of this history, it seems obvious same-sex marriage is coming whether we like it or not. It’s on an unstoppable trajectory toward universal acceptance. “Opposing it is pointless,” we hear and then echo. “That ship has sailed,” said one youth pastor to an apologist friend of ours. “I’m not going to talk about it anymore.”
They go on to say,
In this book, of course, we clearly take a stand on the issue of homoerotic behavior and same-sex marriage. We do so because we must, according to our conscience before God. To paraphrase Luther, “Here we stand. We can do no other.” As Christians, we may not always like where our faith demands that we stand, and yet, we must. Even so, civility need not be sacrificed on the altar of truth nor truth sacrificed on the altar of civility.
How far down the road are we on this issue? For Christians, “To even admit doubts on the issue is to put oneself at risk. For many elites, the cultural debate is over. All that’s left to decide is what to do with those who refuse to participate.”
If you’re at all like me, you find those words chilling. It’s frankly hard to imagine that in the span of only several decades, an institution as foundational to civilization as marriage could have been so radically redefined.
And for most Christians, this progressive normalization of deviance from biblical truth is like the imperceptibly mounting tension on both sides of a fault zone. No one really notices until a massive cultural earthquake and resulting tsunami rearrange the social landscape.
Yet as shocking as the magnitude and speed of change has been, don’t miss this: there’s promise lurking here as well. Because if things can change this fast in one direction, they can change just as fast in another.
Although I’ve included some select excerpts from Same-Sex Marriage to provide just a sneak preview of what you’ll find in this very timely book, more than just educational and thought provoking, you’ll find dozens of practical tips on how to respond to relevant questions that may cross your path.
And trust me, if you haven’t personally encountered these questions yet, stay tuned. Given the current “reality shift,” you’re likely to!
In the interest of equipping readers to deal with questions they’ll likely encounter, McDowell and Stonestreet interview specialists in different fields who provide well-researched answers as well as examples in personal encounters of how to respond in solidly biblical and compassionate ways.
Here’s just a partial list of questions answered:
- Why is one-man/one-woman marriage unique from other loving, committed relationships? Do both genders really matter that much to marriage?
- Many same-sex marriage advocates point to the high divorce rate. If heterosexual marriage has been such a disaster, why not allow gays to see if they can do better with marriage?
What We Know about Sexual Orientation (interview with Kathy Koch)
- We live in an oversexed culture, and it causes tons of confusion for children. What can parents do to help their children understand sexual wholeness and develop a strong identity as a person?
- What do we know about how sexual identity is formed? What are the myths out there about sexual orientation?
- What does unconditional love look like from a family member or friend to someone who is struggling with sexual identity and sexual behavior?
Marriage and Religious Freedom (interview with Jennifer Marshall)
- How are we seeing same-sex marriage threaten religious freedom at the federal, state, and community levels?
- Where marriage has been redefined, what can be done to protect religious freedom?
- What can Christians do to protect religious liberty for themselves and everyone else?
- What legal steps should churches, nonprofits, and business owners take now to protect their religious freedom in light of the growing legalization of same-sex marriage?
What Same-Sex Marriage Means for the Church’s Role in Culture (interview with Jennifer Marshall)
- In what ways have defenders of natural marriage misunderstood the issue of same-sex marriage? What have we missed?
- Some argue that same-sex marriage is inevitable, and therefore Christians should just move on from this debate. Do you agree? Why or why not?
- What are the most important things Christians can do for marriage in today’s culture?
The Church’s Response to Same-Sex Marriage (interview with Matthew Lee Anderson)
- Why does it seem the church is so quickly culturally marginalized on issues relating to sex and marriage?
- As you look at Christians in the West today, where are the holes in our theology when it comes to sex and marriage that have enabled same-sex marriage to make such headway in our culture?
- What are the biggest mistakes Christians have made so far in dealing with homosexuality and same-sex marriage?
Well, along with the enclosed sheet of select excerpts, I think this sampling of questions shows why this is a book you won’t want to miss. It’s simply a well-researched, engaging, and deeply caring treatment by two leading Christian thinkers of a vital and highly relevant spiritual, social, and
I’m eager to send you this book for your gift today to help CRI continue its fight on multiple fronts for life and truth. I’m betting it will be one of the best books you’ll read this year, and one that will equip you to better understand and respond to an issue of massive importance.
To receive your copy, please click here, or on the “Donate NOW!” button below.
In just a matter of days, your gift will be at work through a variety of CRI outreaches. Not only to touch and transform lives but also to equip fellow Christians to effectively and fruitfully stand for biblical life and truth as these are being relentlessly assaulted on multiple fronts.
May God bless you richly for the difference your partnership makes to so many!
…because Life and Truth matter…
P.S. A great many Christians refuse to even acknowledge or deal with this crucial issue. I’m confident the time is coming when they’ll wish they had.