Telling the public that you’re an evangelical who believes the Bible is God’s infallible word, while advocating for same-sex marriage, doesn’t act as a trump card to avoid accountability. The Gospel doesn’t bend to accommodate our whims or the feelings of others.
With that in mind, I admit as a millennial evangelical that it is hard to be counter-cultural for Jesus Christ. It isn’t easy to oppose same-sex marriage in public policy, arguably the most hostile debate of our time. We stick out. We’re called names. We’re discriminated against. So when a new organization like Evangelicals for Marriage Equality (EME) appears, for many millennials, it is just the type of cafeteria-style Christianity we’ve been waiting for.
Founded by two millennial men, EME’s statement of belief declares, “As Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, we believe you can be a devout, Bible-believing evangelical and support the right of same-sex couples to be recognized by the government as married.”
This is a nice-sounding premise, but it lacks real depth and logical reasoning. Most importantly it also lacks scripture.
As evangelicals it is our responsibility to not only speak boldly and lovingly about same-sex marriage, but truthfully and intelligently. It is disappointing then that in its mission statement, EME dodges all mention of scripture about sexuality and marriage in order to accommodate civil same-sex marriage.
Scriptures on sexuality aren’t hard to find. In Genesis 2:18-25, God created the institution of marriage between one man and one woman. In the New Testament, Jesus affirmed God’s marriage model in Matthew 19:3-6 and Paul outlined sexual immorality in Romans 1:26-27.
Instead of scripture, popular liberal buzzwords like “equal,” “support” and “compassion” are used to call compassionate Christians to action by appealing to our sensitivities. This is an unsurprising strategy, since EME falls in line with the evangelical left as they cloak their political agenda in Christianity.
EME strategically declares that their work to advance same-sex marriage does not mean they are disrespecting Biblical orthodoxy and marriage. My friends, words are empty when actions are missing.
In fairness, EME would suggest that they don’t want to push their Christian values on non-believers. This is a dangerous approach. Sincerely I caution the folks over at EME to recall what the Apostle Paul said about those who “suppress the truth.”
According to Romans 1:21-22, “For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.”
Thankfully, EME isn’t fooling faithful, seasoned Christians. But millennial evangelicals, sadly, are especially susceptible to this twisted theological worldview.
“I represent a growing number of millennial evangelicals that believes it’s possible to be a faithful Christian with a high regard for the authority of the Bible and a faithful supporter of civil marriage equality,” wrote Brandon Robertson, spokesman for the EME in his Time op-ed.
But what millennial evangelicals like Robertson need to know is that love and support of our neighbors doesn’t mean accepting the things we know Jesus taught are morally wrong.
EME has declared that we cannot defend truth in the public square and still show our same-sex attracted neighbors love and compassion. Nothing is further from— you guessed it— the truth. At one time I too wrestled with applying Ephesians 4:15, which instructs Christians to “speak the truth in love,” to my life. I thought, okay, if I speak about God’s moral values, then I’m considered hateful, too political or against so-called “equality.” On the other hand if I only show love, then I’m failing to be an authentic follower of Christ.
Finally, as I delved deeper into scripture it became clear that defending God’s truths in love looks like this: start where I am and courageously share God’s moral truths with my neighbors even if it hurts their feelings, because I love them too much not to.
This in-church debate isn’t about partisan politics. It’s about deception. Accommodating sin in the name of Christ does not show compassion to our neighbors. It hides truth and only deceives them more. In the famous words of Francis Schaffer, “accommodation leads to accommodation, which leads to accommodation."
Chelsen Vicari is the author of "Distortion: How the New Christian Left is Twisting the Gospel & Damaging the Faith" and serves as Evangelical Program Director at the Institute on Religion and Democracy. Follow her on Twitter @ChelsenVicari
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