The Church is in the midst of a war of worldviews, those holding the classic formulations of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are confronted by those who wish to ‘revision’ the Gospel in terms of ‘progressive’ ideology. The current battlefield is sexuality and the goal progressives seek is to detach God’s blessing of sex from its exclusive association with heterosexual marriage. The push to bless same-sex relationships is no isolated issue about sexual acceptance. The decision on this issue will determine how the Church defines the Gospel.
The Christian view of marriage has always included the view that only in the reality of the mutual and total giving of self to the other implicit in the covenantal marriage vows between a man and a woman do we find that basis upon which a healthy relationship can endure and surmount the inevitable trials of married life. Marriage as defined by the Christian faith is therefore fundamental to the well being of society. This confrontation within the Church has far reaching consequences for the world.
During last century there were those who, bent on undermining the structures of society, chose as one of their battlegrounds the Christian view of marriage. They proclaimed, quite rightly, that ‘You don’t need a piece of paper to prove your love.’ Through the media and academy they assiduously propagated this emotionally laden non sequitur and as a result we have areas of our country where married couples are in a minority, where more couples are ‘living together’ than are married.
This has a consequent cost to individuals and society in broken relationships, domestic violence, children being brought up by one mother and a succession of ‘uncles,’ lower educational attainment, and a host of other problems. But never mind the underclass, our elites have the sanction of society for their own social and sexual predilections.
The story moves on. Homosexuality was given state approval with the creation of civil partnerships, but for progressives enough is never enough. This morning on the Today programme we had John Bell, a folk singer masquerading as a minister, arguing for marriage. Unfortunately not Christian marriage. His progressive position is that civil partnership “took care of the business side” and what homosexuals now need as a seal on their mutual love is traditional marriage, including marriage in a church where they would get the ‘blessing’ of God.
Now you need marriage, now you don’t, now you need it again.
The current turmoil in the CofS over the ordination of homosexuals has made it clear that approval of homosexual marriage is something which will inevitably happen in the next few years.
At the recent Tory party conference David Cameron told the assembled sheep that he supported homosexual marriage because he is a conservative, and they clapped. Clearly as far as the PM is concerned homosexual marriage is integral to his political philosophy. We find the SNP government in Scotland pushing for homosexual marriage to be legalised here. As the SNP now have a majority this is likely to happen; unless of course Alex Salmond judges that the increasingly vocal Catholic vote is more important than the pro-sodomy vote. There is no CofS vote.
The pro-homosexual lobby is on a roll in Church and state.
Barth and the others of the Confessing Church spoke so clearly about the utter heresy of following the world. The Church has been given a fixed rule of faith in Holy Scripture and, therefore, is not given the freedom to change its basic moral code and its absolute salvific message to accord with worldly norms. But then John Bell and other progressives do not believe in the authority and inspiration of Scripture.
All instances where homosexuality is talked about in the Old and New Testaments vigorously oppose any and all sexual behaviour outside of the confines of marriage between a man and a woman. To go against revelation as the progressives advocate is to overthrow both Gospel and society.
However, progressives argue that Jesus said nothing explicitly about homosexuality, (or bisexuality or transgendered or bestiality or whatever is the next trendy perversion) and therefore His silence means consent. They teach that if Jesus were alive today (presuming of course that He actually rose from the dead), He would embrace homosexuals and the homosexual lifestyle out of His endless compassion for people and so should we. They tell us that the Church already has a homosexual parish minister in a civil partnership so in effect it’s a done deal.
I fear that it may be a done deal, for the moment. But just as progressives have followed Gramsci’s dictum of the ‘long march through the institutions’ and succeeded so can we, so must we. Individual battles may be lost, the war is far from over.
First we have to recognise that it is not a matter of individual battles but a war of worldviews.