Coercion or Conviction (On Ammendment For Marriage in NC)

The Current political air is thick with discontent. One of the issues that fills the air is an amendment concerning Gay Marriage. In North Carolina we will be voting in Primaries on May 8 on this issue. Many Christian are coming out and saying that we must vote the values of the Scriptures and the Church (meaning vote yes), while other Christians along with non-Christians are saying vote no.

There are couple points to explore since the point that the vote yes crowd is making is actually more complex. It will end up having much to say towards the assumptions as why we should vote either yes or no.

Voting Yes.

Some points from this crowd are valid, such as we should be concerned about Godly values, we should desire for people to follow the way of God, religious views affects politics, and we should we want people to follow the way of God as described in Scriptures. All of these are noble positions in themselves.

The proposition of this group, however, seems to spring from desires to implement Scriptural lifestyles towards those around us. I’m not sure if that is the correct approach. The point here is that voting “Biblical” values is assumed to be forcing right living. It also might assume some level of avoiding God’s judgment by pushing Christian lifestyle into Constitutional American (I could go into how the Republican party has been courting supporters who are the Religious Right for their benefit and not based on Christian persuasion, but not today).

The question here is if making something legal is the proper way to promote good Christian lifestyle and ethic. I think it is a fair question. Does this amendment actually end sin in the hearts of certain people? And then there is the question of what Christians actually did with legal matters in the Scriptures…

Voting No.

There is a major issue of Church and State here. One that is blatantly ignored. The amendment says that government makes no law favoring any religion at all. The Church has also forgotten that it’s rules and guidelines are not made favoring any nation. We are the arm of God and not any country we find ourselves in. Could there be even better reasons to look for?

When we look at Jesus and Paul, we definitely see interaction with sinners. But, unlike the Old Testament, there is no stoning or harsh consequence carried out by the believers towards outsiders. This seems strange considering that the Old Testament seems to promote these harsh consequences. Paul for starters, mainly speaks to believers concerning the correct way to live, which turns the Christian ethic into an in house issue and not one the was pushed onto the current powers that be (which probably would have killed the Christian movement from the start). Jesus is even more revolutionary since he eats with sinners. Although this was not his acceptance of their lifestyle, He gave them grace and reason to choose God’s way of living.

This approach sound very different than the one taken by the people wanting to vote yes. The reason it sounds different is because the voting yes for an amendment sounds like coercion, making people follow your way and look like you. It may even be trying to save people by making them carry out the right actions, which is works righteousness. That does not sound like the Way that the Scriptures promote.

The other option, which would be to vote no, seems to be more in keeping with the way of Jesus and Paul. THIS IS NOT A MOVE TO ACCEPT HOMOSEXUALITY AS A NORM FOR THE CHURCH. Paul makes that very clear. BUT IT IS A MOVE TO MAKE CONVICTION THE NORM. Conviction is one the bases of why we do evangelism. Why would you force someone to act and still have a heart of sin and not convince them to listen to the Spirit, associate with Christ, and choose God’s way for themselves, rejecting the sin that was once in their hearts?

The latter is better. The latter is Scriptural. And even though voting yes might SEEM to be voting the Bible, there is a pretty good chance that it is not. I would rather vote no and have the Spirit use the Church to convict people and actually witness their salvation expressed in actions than force people to live a certain ethic and be filled with a heart against God and the Church.

I propose to vote no, not in agreement with the lifestyle of homosexuality, but with the full hope that the Church is more than powerful enough to evangelize and have people choose Christ. We do not need a law from a country that will soon enough crumble to help us. We need the Great Commission and the Two Greatest Commandments.

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