7 Ways Christians Lost The Gay Marriage Battle, And How We Should (Not) Fight The War

This is a summary of points made in a super long blog post by Nathan Campbell. Even Nathan says to just skim it and only read the parts you think are interesting.

To start you off, I’ve listed the heading of the points below. I’ve also added my own comments. This is important, as they’re Nathan’s points, but MY comments interacting with those points.

If/when you have time, you may like to read the full article … and the comments dialogue that follows.

Each point begins with “We“. Which includes any Christians who are not advocates of SSM. Yes, it’s a generalization. And, as is evident in the comments on Nathan’s article there will be those who insist they are not part of the “we”. I think being defensive and refusing to own responsibility for the tone of debates held thus far only serves to shut down the conversation.

1. We Didn’t Treat People The Way We’d Like To Be Treated
Overall I think the tone of discussion that has been most publicized (that I’ve had visibility of anyway) is summed up here. There have been very few exceptions.

2. We Lost When We Entered The Fight Expecting To Win, Rather Than Seeking To Love
I’ve observed a lot of, “This will show them!” rhetoric from Christians trying to demolish the arguments in favour of SSM legislation.

3. We Lost When We Decided To Fight For Marriage, Rather Than Speaking About Marriage As An Analogy For The Gospel
Let’s face it, the Christian view is incongruous with general culture. A lot of conversation has tried a little too cleverly to redefine rationale away from classical Christianity.

4. We Lost When We Made Marriage About Children, Rather Than About The Sex That Produces Them
I differ with some of what Nathan has written on this point. Sexual reproduction is by no means the only way children enter any family of any kind or make up. I do agree with his concern that much of the Christian discussion around this point has been prejudice against single parents and adopting families.

5. We Lost When We Lost The Fight On Gender, And Didn’t Think Hard Enough About How To Include The T Or I Parts Of LGBTQI In The Conversation
I think this is also the case among SSM advocates. It is also the case throughout most Christian discussion on gender and sexuality. It fits into the too-hard basket for many and because they can’t cope with something outside their own experience they ignore it.

6. We Lost When We Made The Argument About The Next Argument (The Slippery Slope), Rather Than Lovingly Understanding What The People In Front Of Us Desired And Were Asking For
Whether there is a slippery slope or inevitable trajectory does not deal with the immediate questions being asked. Yes, there have been reports of people wanting to do all sorts of weird things in countries where SSM has been legalised. But how does that compare, in reverse, with an Australian couple wanting to get a divorce to protest SSM? Personally, I would put them in the same class.

7. We Lost When We Didn’t Fight Harder For Love To Mean Something Other Than Sexual Intimacy Or Total Acceptance (Not Compassionate Tolerance)
What is love anyway? And, going back to the first and second points, have “we” loved anyone in the way we have approached the entire argument?

I’ll finish with the same quote Nathan did in his post.

1 John 4:7-14
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.


4 thoughts on “7 Ways Christians Lost The Gay Marriage Battle, And How We Should (Not) Fight The War

  1. A TROLL from Epping NSW has also visited this post and attempted to make menacing, harassing comments. The comment has, of course, been automatically filtered by the Spam Filter as it adds nothing to the conversation or to intelligent life anywhere on Planet Earth.

  2. When I read the article, my impression was that the focus and concern was on the mode of engagement (used by many Christians).

    The overall concern I hear expressed, (& I share it) is, per point #1, all Christians need to ensure THEY are the ones treating others as they wish to be treated.

    Of course, there are exceptions (i.e. some certainly are, but I feel many aren’t). But it’s a blog, an introductory remark, (even though Nathan was rather wordy), not a detailed thesis. As such generalisations occur. But, I don’t think the article distorts the majority/mainstream approach taken by proponents of retaining traditional marriage definitions.

    It’s a rally cry. “Hey Christian. Let’s be winsome. Let’s be persuasive. Let’s show them how to lose an argument graciously.” – I don’t think the article is so much about the underlying morality of SSM -v- Traditional or about polemical and hermeneutical precision.

  3. I am someone who came out of homosexuality and have intimately known for over 20 years the issues involved. And when Christians have advocated on these issues (including myself) there has not been love coming back. There has not been robust, reasonable, conversation. The error in this post is that grossly and unfairly over generalises and distorts what has really gone on. It also assumes that both parties (Christian community and the gay community) are equally right and wrong. I have tried to share my testimony and done so in love, but I get silenced and sent the most horrendously nasty correspondence; many Christians have no further fellowship with me because of it. And you say that I have not been loving? This article distorts things a lot. Look at the trial of JONAH, the ex-gay ministry for Jews … the case was horribly loaded against them by a biased judge. There was no love or fairness there. Christian preachers are now being bashed and had excrement literally thrown on them just for speaking God’s love in gay pride marches. Are you saying they are unloving?!! That’s a terrible thing to assume. Never assume. It makes an ass out of u and me.

  4. He makes some good points, but like a lot of commentary, fails to take into account how God works in history.

    It seems to me he is pitting faithful condemnation of sin against the testimony of God’s love. We find both of these together in the prophets. Nobody talks about including the prophets of Baal in the conversation. And Paul talks about demolishing arguments that exalt themselves against God.

    Also, we forget how many people have heard these arguments and also heard the love of God in them, and turned from sin. And this in a culture where any mention of God and His kingdom is ridiculed. The prophets didn’t mince words about specific sins and their consequences.

    The Christians who need condemnation now are those who buckled and redefined their stand on sin. I don’t think Jeremiah felt guilty when Israel went into captivity. God was vindicated in Jeremiah’s faithful stand.

    Certainly hatred and outright condemnation of people has been very unhelpful (divorcees used to be treated in the same way, remember?), but there is a point where neither warnings nor love will be effective. This battle has not been lost. God has simply given our culture what it wanted. Again. We are determined to learn the hard way, but it’s not the end of the world, only of our culture, and this will be a testimony to future generations. The testimony of the church has not been perfect, but it has been relatively faithful and consistent.

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