Interview with

Founder & Teacher,

Audio Transcript

Rob Portman, a Republican Senator from Ohio wrote a commentary published today in the Columbus Dispatch. Formerly Senator Portman opposed marriage for same-sex couples. Now, today he has switched his view on this and claims he changed his view in part, because of his faith and because of what he reads in the Bible. As you can imagine, this is causing quite a stir online. Pastor John, what are your thoughts on Senator Portman's editorial?

Rob Portman, has said that for conservative reasons like the Prime Minister, David Cameron, now he's going to switch his view from supporting traditional man woman, marriage to supporting so-called same-sex marriage. It's a very sad article. I just want to flag two things that he said, which I think are very serious for us to think about, watch for, be aware of, that are swaying people in that direction. His son came out as having same-sex attraction. He says that, this is the quote. "I'm a dad who wants all three of his kids to lead happy, meaningful lives with people they love, a blessing Jane and I have shared for 26 years." He infers from that, that for his son to be happy, he must be given the right to marry, so called, another man. He's elevating happiness as he understands it, above biblical guidelines of what makes you happy.

Happiness in God

The first observation I have is, the absolutizing of self-defined long-term happiness, as opposed to God's definition of long-term happiness is right at the heart of how people are changing their minds here. They're simply abstracting the term happiness out of its biblical context and definition, giving it a meaning that they want, and then using it as a warrant to justify a certain kind of relationship that the Bible prescribes, That's observation number one. Absolutizing self-defined, long-term happiness as you see it over against God's definition.

Here's the second observation. He then goes on to say, "For me, it came down to the Bible's overarching themes of love and compassion, and my belief that we are all children of God." That's a quote. Now, what's happening there is that a hermeneutical strategy, a way of interpreting the Bible is being used. I would call it the absolutizing of self-defined biblical themes in such a way that they nullify biblical particulars or biblical commands. He takes compassion and he takes love. He defines them his own way. Then he brings that definition to 1 Corinthians 6, where it says that those who act out their homosexual desires will not go to heaven. He says that simply, we won't live by that. It can't mean that, or I won't accept that. He's nullifying biblical commands and biblical particulars by absolutizing his definition of broader biblical things.

Staying Alert to Unbiblical Thinking

Those two things are what is at work over and over again in this whole debate and have been at work of course, for generations. I just want to alert the folks who listen to this, to watch for that. Where is there a self-defined view of happiness that is then used to justify making the person happy without regard to biblical guidelines?

Secondly, where is there a way of interpreting the Bible so that self-defined, big biblical themes are used to cancel out particular biblical commands. I think, if we Christians are alert to the kind of illegitimate uses that are being made of the Bible in this way, we might be more cautious, more careful and not be swept away quite as easily into un-biblical ways of life. What's so tragic about this, is that if the Bible is really true, according to 1 Corinthians 9:9–10, that those who do such things, those who go ahead and practice, same-sex, sexual relations will not enter the kingdom. This is not love. It's not compassion and it's not going to lead to happiness and that's tragic.