For those of us over the age of 30 or so, the rapid cultural embrace of same-sex marriage (SSM) has been nothing short of stunning. Approval of SSM would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Liberal President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, and as a presidential candidate, super-liberal Obama endorsed natural marriage as the legal norm. Both have reversed course. The majority of teens and twenty-somethings see no reason not to legalize SSM. The church, sad to say, is not far behind in accepting SSM, and has not, in most cases, made a convincing case for natural marriage.
Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet present a compassionate, biblical, and distinctively Christian view of SSM in their book, Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God's Design for Marriage. Both McDowell and Stonestreet have extensive experience communicating a Christian worldview to wide audiences, McDowell in his work in apologetics and university teaching, Stonestreet in his work with Chuck Colson and Eric Metaxas. Their writing is accessible and well-reasoned.
Readers will not find a judgmental or critical spirit in this book. Their largest theme is the need for the church to repent and present a better picture of marriage. "Christians helped same-sex marriage happen," they argue, by neglecting to hold up the uniqueness and intent of natural marriage. Marriage has been "culturally compromised" and the church has, for the most part, stood by. Christians must repent of their acceptance of a sexualized culture, including easy divorce, pornography, promiscuity, and premarital sex, all of which are just as far outside of God's plan for marriage as SSM.
Another theme is the importance of showing compassion for homosexuals and defenders of SSM. There is no room for demonizing those with whom we disagree. Christians must actively demonstrate that "we are against homosexual acts and same-sex marriage because we are for people. We say no because God does, and He says no because He offers a much better yes."
McDowell and Stonestreet's description of the cultural shift towards SSM and their challenge to the church to demonstrate an alternate path is worth reading. I'm not convinced that someone who favors SSM will buy into all they are saying, but this book can certainly be a good starting point for conversation. Even if you're not an activist, chances are you will be confronted with the issue of SSM by a co-worker, neighbor, family member, or perhaps even a member of your church. Same-Sex Marriage can be a valuable resource for your own thoughtful response.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!