Monday, March 18, 2013

Finding relevance in a gay supportive age? David Myers & the Covenant Network

It is tiring to hear over and over again how the church may become irrelevant if she does not progress on to accepting same gender sex. The Covenant Network of Presbyterians has posted an article by psychologist David Myers, “The Church’s Future in a Gay Supportive Age.” Myers insists that ethics should not be shaped by “popular opinion,” and then goes on to urge the church to accept same gender marriage because society is changing. Those who once accused the orthodox of being fearful are now suggesting that fear of loss of relevance is important.

Myers, who is an elder in the Reformed Church of America, begins his article by quoting from the introduction of Kevin De Young’s article, “Five Reasons Christians Should Continue to Oppose Gay Marriage.” Myers wants to point to De Young’s first point which is “Every time the issue of gay marriage has been put to a vote, the people have voted to oppose gay marriage.” And that has changed. So Myers, more concerned with the infallibility of De Young’s words than the word of God, uses De Young’s words to bolster his argument.[1]

But that belies the serious issues one should be concerned with when speaking about the church and same gender marriage. It isn’t about the church responding to society, or government, in such a way so that society will embrace the church, but rather as Karl Barth put it in answer to the German Christians:

The Church has not “to do everything” so that the … people “may find again the way into the Church,” but so that within the Church the people may find the Commandment and promise of the free and pure Word of God.

It is not the Church’s function to help the … people to recognise and fulfil any one “vocation” different from the “calling” from and to Christ. The … people receives its vocation from Christ to Christ through the Word of God to be preached according to the Scriptures. The Church’s task is preaching the Word. (Italics Barth’s)

The church is Christ’s; she must follow his leading although it, for the present, seems to be pointing toward turmoil and oppression.

Although they are aligned with society’s desire to embrace same gender marriage, Myers gives multiple reasons for accepting it. He refers to both the 2012 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly and the first gathering of the Fellowship of Presbyterians in making his case. One of his arguments is that in the PC (U.S.A.) women are more inclined to accept same gender marriage than men. Myers in one rather strange line of thought attempts to use the long line at the men’s restroom at the Fellowship’s meeting in 2011 as proof that this is true. Obviously there must have been more men at the fellowship meeting since the men’s lines at the restrooms were longer then the women’s. And obviously if there were more men than women at the meeting more men are opposed to same gender sex than women!

Along side the damming thought that the church must be concerned with relevance, the other damming position and argument Myers makes is that it’s who you know, rather than what you know, that should shape your attitude about same gender sex. Myers is arguing that when a person has a friend or a relative who has just come out as homosexual they will often change their mind about same gender marriage. And undoubtedly that is so. But the true Christian attitude comes from both knowing the written word of God, and knowing, in relationship, the Word of God, Jesus Christ. That is, when someone knows Jesus and knows his word, they experience his saving, and transforming power and they know the truth of God’s word.

Knowing Jesus Christ is to be treasured above any other relationship. In obedience to him one both loves the friend or relative who is LGBTQ, and confesses that Jesus is both Lord and Savior; giving out with kindness, as a forgiven sinner, the message that Jesus saves the sinner from her sin.

There is no need for the Church of Jesus Christ to be afraid because the United States is becoming a gay-supportive society. The Church belongs to Christ; Jesus has and will keep the church within his love while the ages roll and fade into eternity.

“For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand … (Psalm 95a).”

[1] Myers excluded this statement which is still an important point- “To date 30 states have constitutionally defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

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