What is at stake in the battle to redefine marriage?
We should be involved in this battle, and I think it is right to put in place—if possible—a legal definition of marriage that makes it one man and one woman.
The stakes are very very high, not so much because God is going to bring judgment on our country if we legally endorse the impossibility of homosexual togetherness called marriage, but because judgment has already come upon America. The fact that we are so tolerant and so approving of homosexual behavior is the judgment of God, according to Romans 1. God has already given us over in large measure to a debased mind.
But rather, the reason the stakes are high is because if we don't socially agree on the structure of marriage, the ripple effect for child-rearing and for the modeling of what Christ and the church are like—even unwittingly by unbelievers—is going to collapse. And the spiritual, cultural, and social effects of that are untold. We can't put our finger on all that will happen.
I was reading statistics the other day of all the negative things that come from growing up in a home of two men or two women. It has happened enough now for years, so that people can begin to accumulate statistics on what becomes of these children. And as much as the other side may say they turn out to be happy, well, statistically—and I encourage you to go to the internet to find them—the problems are huge and many.
So I think it will be good for us as a culture to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman for a lifetime, and to keep at the margins the relationships that we believe are sinful, rather than endorsing them with legal definitions of marriage.
Do you think most Christians understand what will happen if we let go of the Bible's definition of marriage?
Probably more people in the church realize it than those outside; but no, probably most Christians don't realize what will happen.
I think we have fallen in the last two centuries (and the last fifty years especially) into such a sense of individualism and tolerance that about the only vice that some people can conceive of is not tolerating other people's lifestyle choices.
If you don't embrace a lifestyle then you're viewed as being a hate-monger and promoting hate speech. I wouldn't be surprised if things were to turn around so that my preaching on certain sins becomes illegal and I face legal reprisals of jail or a fine for preaching on, say, homosexual behavior as sin. Because it will be said, "OK, you call it sin. You're encouraging wild fanatics at the edge to do cruel and physical things. Therefore, you're responsible for their behavior. This is hate speech, and you go to jail for talking that way."
The demand for approval is a very ominous thing.