The 'Gay Marriage' Tsunami

Not What If, but What Now?

It’s past time we move from asking “What if?” to asking “What now?” And that’s what Sean McDowell and I do in our new book. Stay tuned to BreakPoint.

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John Stonestreet

Like a tsunami, so-called gay marriage has swept aside just about every obstacle in its path, creating a very different cultural landscape than even seemed possible a few decades ago—or even a few years ago! According to David Von Drehle in Time magazine, the swift embrace of same-sex marriage is nothing short of a “seismic shift” of American culture, one “as rapid and unpredictable as any turn in public opinion.”

And that, folks, might still be an understatement.

In 1996, just 27 percent of Americans supported so-called same-sex “marriage.” It was the same year that President Bill Clinton signed the bi-partisan Defense of Marriage Act, which defined, for the federal government, marriage as only between a man and woman.

In 2013 however, the Supreme Court struck down part of DOMA and public approval for same-sex marriage had jumped to 53 percent, including 73 percent of 18-29 year-olds.  Today, 19 states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage, with federal and state courts are constantly striking down state laws banning same-sex marriage it seems every day.daily_commentary_07_24_14

This big change is a big deal. It was the eminent sociologist David Popenoe who said that no civilization ever survived after its family life deteriorated. But if you don’t believe him, listen to G.K. Chesterton, and I quote: “This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.”

What does this mean for America, and for the church? A lot of people are understandably pessimistic. Recently a pastor looked me in the eye and said, “John, it’s all over; we’ve lost.”

And I thought, “Well, wait a minute—is a loss on a political and cultural level the loss of the Kingdom of God? What’s this ‘it’ that’s over, and who are the ‘we’ who have lost?

Look, even if same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land tomorrow, and it just may, we Christians still have to wake up, go to church, run our businesses and ministries, schools and churches. This is not a time to throw up our hands and retreat. Given all of this cultural change, of course, the question has changed, from “What if?” to “What now?” So what we need is some kind of framework in which to move forward.

And that’s why Christian apologist Sean McDowell and I are releasing what we think is a very important new book, called “Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage.” It takes a very careful look at the new cultural landscape and helps all of us to move forward—not in fear, but in faith.

First, we wanted to help Christians understand the issue biblically, but not just using a proof-text from Leviticus or Romans.

Our model is Jesus, who when asked specifically about the Mosaic law on marriage, went back to the very beginning—to Genesis. Jesus thought that God’s created intent was even more important than the law itself. We’ve got to understand this design—especially with the recent spate of so-called “Christian” books attempting to justify same-sex marriage.


But Sean and I also look at the issue culturally. Same-sex marriage isn’t the start of the problem; it’s the fruit of a long-going sexual revolution.

The ground that has shifted is not just moral ground; it’s worldview ground. We’re not just seeing a moral slide toward more and more sexual immorality; we’ve undergone a complete shift in the way we understand the human person.

Our book will help you understand this shift;  but just thinking alone isn’t enough. So in the second half of the book, we describe what we can do, practically and immediately when this issue comes our way. It’s kind of a “how now shall we live” on this issue, and we’ll talk about it more tomorrow on BreakPoint. So please tune in. And come to BreakPoint.org to order your copy of our new book, “Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage.”

Further Reading and Information

The 'Gay Marriage' Tsunami: Not What If, but What Now?

In their new book, Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage, John Stonestreet and Sean McDowell discuss God’s design and intentions for marriage. They also explore how we as Christians can play a part in rebuilding the marriage culture to reflect God’s heart for marriage. Get your copy of their new book at the online bookstore today.


Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God's Design for Marriage
Sean McDowell, John Stonestreet | Baker Books | July 2014

IN PERSON: Paterfamilias
Debbie Galant | New York Times | April 28, 1996

The National Marriage Project website


An apology
Now that I have submitted my first comment, I just noticed that SAH's comment began with the same three words as mine, which makes it look like I was imitating his/hers, perhaps mockingly. I just want to say that I did not intend to do so. As I said, I only just noticed that. I'm sorry if anyone was offended by that.
Here we go again
Hope & SAH,

I agree wholeheartedly that most reasons for divorce and remarriage are just as unscriptural as homosexual activity. But to say that all divorce and remarriage is sinful, as you, Hope, have done and you, SAH, have seconded, is just as unscriptural, as far as I am concerned. I suspect that you are the same Hope who made a similar comment on the 5/17/14 BreakPoint This Week, "Christians & Cultural Engagement: The Why and the How" (http://www.breakpoint.org/features-columns/discourse/entry/15/25252), to which I replied. I would now like to incorporate that reply by reference. Thank you.

P.S. I am not being self-serving by making these comments. I have never been married (not for lack of trying, both before and after salvation), so I am in no position to get divorced any time soon.
Well said!
I agree wholeheartedly with what Hope said. We, the Church, will never be the force we are intended to be until we get our own house and lives in order. Biblical repentance, especially as it relates to sexual sin, must happen before we even begin to examine the "speck" in our brother's eye.
Why we are flat-footed and cannot resist the tsuna
The Church is paralyzed because the Church is complicit and hardhearted when it comes to divorce and divorce /remarriage.

There is an provocative article titled "How Christian Have Partnered with Gays to attack Marriage" by Ronald Sider. He holds the Church responsible for the tsumani. I agree.

And our adversary is penetrating our already broken down walls in the area of marriage because we are unwilling to look at the damage we ourselves have caused and take responsibility. Only when we are walking in faith and obedience can we be protected.

We are impotent and therefore vulnerable not because of "them," but because of us.

Sometimes we address the edges of the issue by saying that we need to be more faithful in our marriages. I was very encouraged by a past Breakpoint article titled "Mum's the Word on Divorce" and the article it referred to: "Divorce - The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience."

But there is a very loud silence on the heart of the matter: We do not please God when we divorce and when we remarry.

We are not to divorce, but if we do, we are not to remarry. That is very explicit in Scripture.

That may not please us, but it pleases God. We cannot be a follower of Jesus if we are seek to please ourselves instead.

In the last 2000 years there has been a continuum of man's interpretations/deletions/additions of Scripture to undermine God's will and justify man's desires.

And, once again, Breakpoint had an article "Only a Revived Church Can Revive Society." Excellent and spot on.
It said, "Unless we the church, His people, decide and act, nothing will happen...Politics is the art of the possible. Its power to legislate good laws are limited by whatever the current mood of society happens to be. Only a revival of faith in the living God can change the mood of society, and only a revived church can bring that about. It has happened many times in the past...'If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14.

That's the good news. It's us. We can't change "them." But we can change us!

What was meant for evil can be used for good. An unavoidable humbling is here. Either we can repent and experience and extend emotional, relational healing and peace with God, or we can resist and be swept away by the tsunami.

There are Scriptural examples of both.