The thing I love about Wayne Grudem is that every time I read his view on some issue, I find that he does two things well. First, he does a lot of research to know what the Bible says, and I always learn something new about the Bible from his analysis. Second, he confirms and applies what the Bible says using real world evidence, especially statistics. It seems to me that the role of the pastor/theologian, which almost no pastors and theologians do well, is to link what the Bible says to the way the world really is. Pastor/theologians should be concerned with explaining what the Bible and then taking the next step to persuade people to act on what the Bible says by engaging their intellects with arguments and evidence.
Here’s how Wayne Grudem does exactly that in this San Francisco Examiner interview about same-sex marriage.
Question to Dr. Grudem:
…is the subject and practice of Gay Marriage and Same Sex Blessings no longer a controversy and of public and Christian debate and discussion? Is it a done-deal in our society given the success of the “Gay Agenda” in the Military, American Foreign Service, California Courts, Massachusetts, other States in America and even in the present Presidential and Federal Administration’s practice of no longer supporting the federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act?
Part of his answer:
The main thing I want to emphasize in this discussion is this: The primary question in this controversy is what kind of intimate, cohabiting, potentially child bearning relationship does society want to encourage and reward and protect? Up to this point, American society has decided to encourage and promote marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, because it gives immeasurable benefits to a society that no other relationship can provide. This relationship is better for raising children, better for protection against domestic violence and abandonment, better for encouraging lifelong companionship and care, better for encouraging sexual faithfulness, and better in many other ways, that I explain in my book Politics—According to the Bible.
But homosexual relationships do not give these benefits. Male homosexuals experience a 25 to 30 year decrease in life expectancy, and much higher incidence of many chronic diseases.
Sexual faithfulness is far different among married heterosexuals: 90 percent of heterosexual women, and over 75 percent of heterosexual men have never engaged in extramarital sex. But among male homosexuals the rate of sexual faithfulness is around 2 percent, even when “faithfulness” is generously defined as ten or fewer lifetime partners. Such statistics are seldom reported in the mainstream media. The question is, is this the kind of relationship we as a society want to encourage, reward, and promote by giving it the status of “marriage” and all the societal encouragement and endorsement that that status carries?
I don’t think any society today should criminalize homosexual conduct (as some legislators in Uganda are now attempting to do), any more than I think society should criminalize adultery or fornication, because these are private acts between individuals that government should not intrude into. But I also don’t think society should encourage and promote such relationships by calling them “marriage” and giving them all the benefits that go with marriage. And so the issue is not whether homosexual couples can get married, but rather, do we as a society wish to redefine marriage in its entirety so that it is no longer a relationship between one man and one woman? The homosexual agenda is attempting to redefine what marriage is, and I think that would be a terrible mistake for our society.
Wow. I’ll bet you that nobody was expecting the conservative evangelical to bring the evidence on a moral issue. But that’s just what Grudem did.
You may recognize many of the points Grudem makes from the research-laden posts that I have written before about same-sex relationships. He is basically saying 1) let’s look at what the Bible says, and then 2) let’s try to see the evidence that proves or disproves what the Bible says. Basically, if you believe the Bible is true, then you should be able to look out at the world and see that… the Bible’s true! And in order to convince Christians and non-Christians to accept the correct position on controversial issues, then you need to approach the issues like Wayne Grudem approaches them. (See the related posts for a few more examples of Grudem in action)
When Wayne Grudem uses evidence, it makes it a lot easier for people who listen to him to do what the Bible says, because he gives them reasons and evidence that they can accept even if they don’t accept the Bible. It’s like if I told you how an automobile works by explaining the internal mechanisms that make the car go, with experiments and statistics to prove each point. After you listened to me explain, then you would understand that gas goes in the gas tank and not in the radiator. “I sincerely believe” is not a reason to believe that I know what I am talking about. I have to show you evidence. My investment advisor may have sincere beliefs about my teeth, but I’m not letting him poke drills into my mouth. We need to be careful that our own natural tendency to be lazy doesn’t cause us to miss the method of persuasion that is taught in the Bible: reason and evidence.
But back to the same-sex marriage issue… If one of the public purposes of marriage is to give children a stable, lasting environment to grow up in, in which they can be nurtured by two parents who have biological inventives to nurture them, then it is clear that same-sex marriage cannot do this as well as traditional marriage, in most cases. The environment of a same-sex relationships is just not the same – and the differences undermine the stability that children need. Obviously, there is more we could do legislatively to help children, such as giving tax breaks for stay-at-home parents, by offering school choice, by cutting income taxes, by making no-fault divorce illegal, and so on. And when we talk about the issue, we need to put the needs of children front and center. This is the reason why marriage exists in the first place. If we focus on the needs of adults who want their “rights”, then we lose. We need to focus on the rights of children – the right of a child to have a mother and a father, in the home with them, nurturing and guiding them to maturity.
Wayne Grudem knows how to make his case
- Wayne Grudem explains what the Bible says about parents and schools
- Wayne Grudem explains what the Bible says about self-defense
- Wayne Grudem explains what the Bible says about capital punishment
More posts about same-sex marriage
- How would allowing gays to marry affect your life?
- What causes homosexuality? Is there a gay gene?
- Why do people oppose same-sex marriage?
- Frank Turek lists ten alleged facts about same-sex marriage
- Which family configuration is best for raising children?
- Tactics and talking points for defending traditional marriage
- Can a person disagree without being hateful or inciting violence?