When the Bible Isn’t Enough (video) – REPOST

I was told the link didn't work if you recieved it by email – so here is the same email and video… 

Last Sunday I talked the cultural war Christ-followers are losing (same-sex marriage). You can see that sermon HERE.

I also suggested that if we want to win the cultural war when it comes to a definition of marriage, we need more than the Bible. The Bible isn't enough. That almost sounds heretical and the opposite of what you always here me say, but be sure you hear what I'm really saying.

The Bible IS enough for me and for those devoted to it. And if the Bible is the only resource we have for morality, that is enough. But if we want to convince our culture whose consciences are not bound to the Bible, we need to think of cultural and logic support for a traditional view of marriage if we want to win the battle over marriage. 

Here is one such argument. Take a look at this video – I'd love to know what you think:

 

If you receive this by email, you can click HERE to see the video.

What do you think? Does it make a compelling case? What logical or cultural arguments would you make?

14 comments
  1. Listen, I loved your sermon last Sunday. Really loved it. But I don’t find this video compelling. Basically, I don’t think it puts forth a logical (and thus, compelling) argument. The crux of the video’s argument is that heterosexual marriage (or a heterosexual relationship) is unique because it can result in new life… and ONLY a heterosexual relationship can do so. Therefore, it deserves unique consideration, and a unique status… ie. marriage. Since a homosexual relationship cannot create new life, it does not deserve this unique status. And thus, it is NOT discriminatory to deny homosexual relationships marital status because they are not unique in this way.

    [Interestingly, the video goes on to say that heterosexual unions may NOT produce children, but (somehow?) by virtue of the fact that they COULD, deserve marital status.]

    I’m just not following this line of logic. Is potential child-bearing the qualification of legal marriage? (As this video suggests… ) If so, what happens to the post-menopausal woman who is physically incapable of producing children? Will she be denied marriage with a man because, similar to homosexual marriage, there is no possibility of child-bearing?… Does the video suggest that marriage is restricted to the young, fertile, heterosexual couples? In some ways, it feels like it…

    I’m not suggesting I’m in favor of gay marriage, but my feedback is as follows: I don’t think the video’s argument will find traction or understanding with those who support gay marriage in our society. We can use the video’s argument, but it will gain as much cultural consideration as saying the Bible suggests homosexuality is sin (and thus gay marriage should not be legalized). It will sound equally ludicrous to non-believers.

    Just my thoughts. But please, please, PLEASE… keep addressing the issue. I love that you have tackled it.

    (My feeling alone: the crux of the issue is that people feel homosexuality is inborn… and not a choice… thus, discrimination against homosexuals is equated to the discrimination of African-Americans or other races who cannot help their race or their position of birth.)

    Until we can address THIS issue, it would seem difficult to craft a cultural argument that will warrant consideration…

    But again… just my thoughts. And thank you for your striving!

  2. You could be right, lsecker… Im just wondering what logical or cultural arguments you might make. I dont think this is the best argument, but I found it interesting simply because it didnt try to defend it using the Bible.

  3. I would like to see what logical and cultural arguments could be made to not allow marriage equality. The argument in the video was presented in the Supreme Court and as it doesn’t hold water for Isecker and Melissa (in the previous post) I don’t think it will hold up in the court as well. As of yet I have not seen any good arguments to deny homosexual couples the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples that aren’t based on religious reasons or an attitude that homosexuals are “icky,” and neither one is a valid argument for a country that wants to stand for freedom and equality. When the question is about what the government is to do the wrong question to ask is “what should I as a Christian do about this issue?” but to ask “what should I as an American do about this issue?”

    If you “don’t expect people who don’t follow Christ to obey him” then what reasons do you have to stand against marriage equality? If you don’t permit non-Christian homosexuals (there are homosexual Christians) to marry, how are you not expecting them and forcing them to live as if they are Christians? How can you justify denying them the rights and privileges given to other American citizens.

    As the statistics you showed during the sermon demonstrate the cultural argument is fading with the older generations, and there have been no good logical arguments that are consistent with U.S. laws and values so all you have left is religious reasons and they aren’t good enough for establishing laws or justifying discrimination on a national level. Then there is the problem that the “traditional” definition of marriage as “one man and one woman” is hard to defend from the Bible, and actually seems to be from Roman and Greek culture where the purpose of marriage was for producing more citizens for the Empire and this was adopted by Paul and Christians.

    All and all I think Christians have lost this battle but can’t accept it.

  4. So if having children is what makes marriage so special and unique, then what about the couple I’m friends with at North who, because infertility issues, will never be able to have biological children? Does that make their marriage any less valid/special/unique than the marriages of my friends who do have children or are planning to have children? What about the friends who have chosen not to have children but could if they wanted to? What about people who want to marry but have fertility issues? Since when has the definition of marriage hinged on being able to have children?

    This argument is weak and is easily shot down. The only argument I need is that the New Testament makes it clear that homosexual behavior is a sin. I have no illusions non-Christians are going to see things the way I do, so it doesn’t surprise me non-Christians would support homosexual marriage because they don’t see why homosexual relationships are wrong. Since the United States wasn’t founded on Christianity, or any other religion, and the government is supposed to be neutral on the subject of religion, I feel the government should go no farther than to say that marriage is defined as the union between two consenting adults.

  5. The Bible is not enough??? David, I have visited your church on a number of occasions, as my older son and family are members there. I have enjoyed your messages and I respect you as a fellow pastor. I have attended one of Northridge’s pastoral conferences and found it very helpful. However, in this issue I must emphatically DISAGREE.

    The Scriptures were enough for the apostles and others in the early church. The apostle Paul stood on the Word as his authority. Why do you seek to abandon it? Is Biblical authority only for believers? If so, then why did Paul say, “So then, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Is he saying the Bible isn’t enough?

    Secondly, what is more important, winning the war regarding same sex marriage or proclaiming God’s Word with our voices and our lives, and trusting the Holy Spirit to use that to convict people and draw them to Christ? Isn’t that getting the cart before the horse, so to speak? If we are focused on winning these folks for Christ, we progress in the war regarding same sex marriage, don’t we?

    Yes, homosexuality is wrong and ultimately how do we know that? Through Scripture. Any logic we would use to defend that stand must be Scripturally based. Isn’t that what Paul did? As for cultural support, that is of man and not of God.

    Hebrews 4:12…For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    The Bible is not enough? It is enough and when we take the view that it is not, we diminish its authority and our influence as the church on society.

    Your comments don’t almost sound heretical, they are heretical in my opinion. You are heading down a dangerous path and I entreat you to reconsider.

  6. Hi Stephen – 

    I guess I have a few questions for you…

    1) Did you listen to the sermon? If not – I would encourage you to do so.

    2) What did you disagree with (from the sermon)?
    3) Did you notice that I said – that for me and for Christ-followers, the Bible IS enough?

    Other questions:

    4) Do I want traditional marriage to be the limits of marriage in the US? Yes, I do
    5) Do I think that saying, The Bible says… is going to win that argument? I dont

    Therefore, if we want marriage to be between a man and a woman only – it isnt going to be by saying, The Bible says… But I dont think God gives commands without reasons. As we dig into the reasons, we may just find ways to interact with our culture a bit on these issues…

    For me – the Bible is enough. But if I dont care how our culture defines marriage – than it doesnt matter… But if I long for our culture to maintain a New Testament view of marriage – then I will need to use reason and logic with people (who dont submit to the Bible) to help them understand WHY the New Testament view on marriage is good for a culture.

    Stephen, I dont feel like you were catching what Im saying. You started your comment by saying The Bible is not enough???  Well, for whom? It is enough for me. But telling people that dont believe the Bible that the reason they should do something is because the Bible says is definitely the way to continue losing influence in our culture. I think when I talk to a unsaved, married couple about why they should stay faithful to their vows – I will show them what the Bible says AND I will point them to facts, statistics, stories, and logic about how being unfaithful to their vows will ruin their lives. Im probably not going to meet with a neighbor who has a marriage problem and ONLY say, You shouldnt sleep with someone elses wife because the Bible says not to.  I will say that AND so much more. Because for someone who isnt willing to submit to the Bible – they wont care. 

  7. Stephen,

    I was out tonight and David beat me to the punch on a few points. But I totally agree with him.

    I think his question on whether you listened to the sermon was especially relevant.

    I am responding publicly because you raised some concerns publicly that I think must, therefore, be addressed publicly.

    Was this communication with David the first time you raised the issue with him? As a “fellow pastor,” how would you respond to someone who charged you with heresy publicly without ever talking to you directly? Would you think that person had the best interests of the kingdom at heart? Would you think they cared about not hurting the effectiveness of the church? Would you think they were in your corner?

    Yes. We should be *VERY* concerned and in no way shy about addressing heresy. But wouldn’t you rather have that person ask you a few questions privately first? Such as, “Stephen, it sounds like you are saying _____. Is that accurate? What am I not getting?” Then, by all means, blast away. Prayerfully, of course. 😉

    For emphasis and clarity again. The BIBLE IS ABSOLUTELY MORE THAN ENOUGH for David and the entire leadership of Northridge. But your concern is with how we speak to our culture. Do you think differences in strategy rise to the level of heresy?

    If so, do you think Paul was wrong to abandon the way he preached to Jewish communities when he went to Athens? On Mars Hill, he appealed to Greek philosophers and creation to boost his credibility.

    I had a professor who said that pragmatism is not the test of truth. But it is the consequence of truth.

    Therefore, we do not say something is true or false because it “works.” We say it is true or false on whether it is consistent with the Bible.

    But if it is true, then it will be “practical.” It will make sense of the world and make sense in the world.

    Some of these posts seem to indicate Christians accept a traditional view of marriage because the Bible says so. But this makes no real sense to the secular world and never will. I totally disagree. If we are confident of what the Bible teaches, we will find evidence in the world that God made that it is the best, most loving, most sustainable, most effective policy.

    We look for arguments from logic and culture precisely because we believe the Bible.

    This is a consistent theme of the Bible in the wisdom books (e.g. Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes) and the parables of Jesus. The reader is invited to observe his world carefully (e.g. “consider the ant”, “the heavens declare the glory of God”, “consider the lilies of the field”) and draw conclusions. I believe this is why so many scientists, historically, have been Christians. They find a world of moral order, beauty, harmony, consistency, and design.

    Normalizing homosexual behavior is not a new discussion. Many cultures throughout time have considered it. But most cultures, religions, times, and places in the world have come down on the side of traditional marriage. It has proven the best social policy for building strong families and societies.

    And because we believe the Bible, we are not surprised.

  8. I’m a little late to the party, but I’m curious why trying to argue for traditional marriage has become a recent focus. I think other people have already made the point on this page, but since we are talking logical arguments, there’s a problem with saying that “we shouldn’t expect non-believers to act like Christians” and that “legislating morality only helps to send moral people to hell,” (both true statements) but then doing just that. The purpose of this discussion is to find a way to legislate morality, therefore making non-believers act like Christians. So while this topic is of course heated and generates a lot of good (mostly) discourse, I sometimes wonder if we get caught up in symptoms as opposed to problems. For example, I don’t think poverty is a problem but a result of a problem. Maybe that maxim applies here?

    Either way, the last few sermons have been so timely and so, well, good. Thanks for speaking and teaching as educated and persuasively as you do, David.

    p.s. does anyone watch The Daily Show? There was an interesting bit about Christian persecution that definitely pertains to this discussion: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-june-17-2013/left-behind

  9. Kyle,

    Here are just a couple of thoughts. No, I do not think that legislating morality is the answer. Yet, I believe that anyone following the morality of the Bible will be better off – even in this life. 

    We also know that Righteousness exalts and nation; but sin condemns any people. My motivation for our nation to follow a biblical morality is because I love the United States of America, and think that we (as a nation) are bringing judgment on ourselves through these issues.

    It isnt about making unbelievers act like Christians. It is about saying that even without the authority of the Bible, Id love for us to appeal to peoples logic and morality. 

    Lets take it a step further. In many cultures through history, pedophilia was considered normal. Would you use logic to attempt to stop pedophilia from being an accepted part of a culture? Or polygamy? Or beastiality? I think it was the same for no-fault divorce. I think that was not best for any marriage or a culture. So Christians have tried to help people see the good of marriage – even when it is difficult. 

    I have a book that I recommend for people headed for divorce. It is called The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce by Judith Wallerstein and others. It is a secular book arguing that divorce is almost always harmful to children no matter how bad the marriage is. It never appeals to the Bible. It only appeals to logic, culture, and a 25-year study they did following the children of divorce and those in terrible marriages who didnt divorce. 

    I dont expect unbelievers to live like believers. I still dont want them to cut their arms off, murder someone, or rob a bank. Im not going to stand back, shrug my shoulders and just expect it. 

    Im also NOT suggesting that this battle (same-sex marriage) is one we must focus on. Im primarily saying that the way many Christians are handling it isnt helping. But I DO think there are ways to engage in the battle in a winsome, effective way.

  10. I got you. and thanks for the response. I’m with you about restricting negative practices. I just wonder, though, how much homosexuality hurts other people. Pedophilia, divorce, polygamy, and bestiality all hurt or have the potential to hurt other people or, ummm, animals.

    This whole discussion reminds me of a passage from C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity on Christian Marriage. I like his argument a lot and find myself agreeing with it in all issues around marriage:

    “Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question-how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mahommedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not” (Lewis 112).

    Lewis is of course applying this to heterosexual marriage, making a sharp contrast between secular and Christian, and giving an obvious and particular value to Christian marriage. Couldn’t this apply to the gay marriage issue as well? I guess my real question is how “married” are people who are not married before God and among his people? Part of me wants to say that they at least maintain a societal norm; but the other part wants to argue that the heterosexual couple that is married without God is living in just as much of a false marriage as a gay couple would be. So then, logically, if one false marriage is given certain governmental benefits, it seems only right to allow the other false marriage the same benefits. Or the other option would be to go all theocratic and only recognize Christian marriages, but I suppose that would bring its own problems, too.

  11. David,

    I did listen to your message and while I was a bit hard with my comment regarding heresy, and do apologize for that, I still do not see how cultural and logical arguments are going to change the situation if God’s Word won’t. It requires a change of one’s heart and I trust God’s Word to be able to accomplish that more effectively than any cultural or logical argument that I could make. I would submit that cultural and logical arguments are not enough and that ultimately they must lead to a discussion of what the Bible says about the issue. Ultimately, no matter what cultural or logical argument one uses, the Bible will be the foundation upon which any discussion of homosexuality, adultery, or cohabitation is based.

    For me the video did not make a compelling case.

    Kindest regards in Christ,

    Steve

  12. I agree that the Bible seems to have little influence on our culture today but similar, if not more difficult circumstances, did not seem to stop the Apostle Paul from making effective use of the scriptures.

    I am skeptical that logical arguments alone are going to sway anyone committed to the homosexual lifestyle. I suspect they already know the logical arguments. They are usually very smart people after all. For them, it’s not about logic. It’s about reshaping the morality of our culture to fit their desires. They have defined it as a matter of “love” (between members of the same sex).We have been manhandled into the position of being agains “love.” Now there simply is no debate. We either affirm their position or we are “haters.” That’s what we get for allowing politicians to take the lead in the cultural debate–we lose our seat at the table.

    I like the C.S. Lewis quote from Kyle. The only problem I see with it is that I don’t think we will be left the option of having two types of marriage (Church and State) or even two types of morality (Christian and non-Christian). We are being left, for the time being, the option of preaching to our “choirs.”

    It’s all so demoralizing.

  13. Marty – 

    I agree with you. I didnt post the video because I thought it was the best or even a great argument. I just think that if you are a Christian lawyer standing before the Supreme Court, your argument before the court cant be, The Bible says… if you want to win your case. The Bible is enough for Christians. For example, when Christians argue against evolution to evolutionists – do they simply say, Genesis 1:1 – or do they point out the science and logic fallacies of evolution? I think we need to do the same thing here.

    One point I may see differently than you, Marty. Paul used the Scriptures when speaking to people with a Jewish background, but when speaking to people with no background in Judaism, he handled it very differently. 

    Im with you on it being culturally demoralizing. Yet, the further our culture gets from the Bible, the more the power of the Gospel will be clearly seen as lives are transformed. There is a reason China Christians pray for our persecution.

  14. Steve – 

    I think in human history you can find positive changes in culture that werent based on the Bible. I dont think pedophilia is illegal because people embrace the Bibles and Jesus teaching about protecting children. So although I would prefer the reason that pedophilia is illegal is because people believe in what Jesus said. But absent of that – Im still glad it is illegal and I will fight FOR it to be illegal – using arguments from the Bible, culture and logic. I wont discuss pedophilia with someone by only quoting Bible verses, and in a real life situation, I dont think you would either. 

     

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