Christians Burnt at the Stake of Same Sex Marriage

Remember how witches were identified in medieval times. Dunk them in a river. If they drowned they were not witches; if they survived they must be witches, so burn them at the stake. The modern equivalent could soon be happening across New Zealand. Ask a Christian marriage celebrant to marry two same sex individuals. If he agrees then he forsakes the commands of God, but he isn’t a ‘homophobe’; if he refuses he is a homophobe so charge him under the new same sex marriage legislation. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

In a radio New Zealand interview Grant Illingworth QC agreed that, in principle at least, pastors, elders, marriage celebrants or photographers could all be in breach of the Bill of Rights Act and the Human Rights Act if they refuse, on religious grounds, to marry same sex couples.

A Christian who agrees to marry two same sex individuals will do so knowing they are agreeing to consummate, under law and before God, a homosexual relationship. They will know they are tacitly assisting in the assignment of unrepentant homosexuals to hell (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). No genuine Christian who is also a marriage celebrant can do that. So what happens if homosexuals decide to carry out a witch hunt and persecute Christians who refuse to marry them? It has already happened overseas under similar same sex marriage legislation.

There is also a good chance these homosexual christophobes will target the smaller evangelical churches because they know they will face little resistance from the old protestant denominations and the Catholic Church may be a little too big to take on.

Genuine Christians will have to make a stand against this legislation. Truth Watch suggests forms of passive resistance:

- Simply refuse to undertake any form of same sex ceremony, claiming the protection of the Bill of Rights. This will test the law and provide an opportunity to defend freedom of religion. Unfortunately, this tactic has not worked overseas.

- Tell the same sex duo that you will marry them but inform them a statement will be included in the ceremony that it is being conducted under duress and an iniquitous legal system that refuses to accept freedom of religion and conscience.

- Also,  refuse to allow anyone into the ‘service’ (where it is conducted in a church) other than the same sex duo and two witnesses.

- Insist on stripping the ceremony of any Christian references – acknowledging as part of the service that the ‘marriage’ is being conducted outside the sanction of God.

- Put 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 on a banner and display it in the church and issue a trespass notice to any same sex duo that enters the church buildings, as soon as they announce they wish to get married.

- Simply refuse to speak to the same sex duo. Say absolutely nothing and go about your business. Issue them with the trespass notice.

- Agree to marry them, subject to the conditions above. Tell them you will turn up on the day, but inform them you will have to be carried into the building and physically supported during the proceedings.

- Where a freedom of religion tee-shirt at the ceremony with the 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 reference in large letters – front and rear, along with trousers covered in ash and dust. Have other Christians attend the ceremony similarly attired.

- We could go on but you get the picture –either refuse point blank and take whatever the law throws at you or turn the whole charade into a passive resistance fiasco and protest.

There are two things we can say without equivocation: Christians must continue to operate as marriage celebrants because marriage before God is a holy sacrament. Secondly, they can never agree to marry a homosexual duo under the Christian marriage liturgy. They can only do so using a secular format and only when it is combined with forms of passive resistance. If their conscience, before God, will not allow them to do even that then they must be prepared to take a stand and face the ‘legal’ consequences.

Church Leaders fail Christian Youth

In 2005, while living in the UK, a Truth Watch member spent a day in London with other para-church ministry leaders (he was with OM UK at the time) reviewing a study commissioned by Campus Crusade for Christ. The study repeated similar work done seven years earlier. Over a thousand young people aged 11-17 were polled to gauge their Christian awareness and understanding. The most stunning finding concerned their understanding of salvation. The numbers believing they would go to heaven by accepting Jesus Christ as their saviour had dipped sharply over just seven years from 66% to only 28%. Confusion also surrounded their understanding of Christianity. For example:

• Only 58% believed Jesus rose from the dead.
• 35% believed all religions led to God.
• Only 45% believed the Bible was accurate in all its teachings and only 33% believed judgement by God followed death.
• Less than 40% said they looked to the Bible for moral guidance.

In 2010 Peter Brieley, the respected Christian researcher in the UK told attendees at the Pentecost Festival that by 2020 the numbers going to Church is projected to drop from 3.5 million (in 2010) to 2.3 million. He said the drop in attendance is due to less evangelism. “The loss of young people is especially serious. In the 2020s, many churchgoers will die out,” he warned. With 59 per cent of all churches in England having no members between the ages of 15 and 19 Brieley said it was becoming as important for the church to keep young people already in the church as it was to reach new young people outside the Church. While 60 per cent of British people are not in the church, that figure rises to around 80% among the under-15s and around 75% per cent among 15 to 29-year-olds (reported in Christian Today, May 2010).

American pollster George Barna has reported only 15% of those who attend churches in the USA rank their faith as their top priority. Less than half (41%) of over 6,000 adults surveyed in 2001 believed that the Bible was trustworthy. Fifty-seven percent of Baptists believed works plays a part in salvation and 47% believe Jesus was not sinless. Little wonder that Barna has discovered (2006) that of the 38% of Americans who called themselves evangelical only 8% actually fitted the doctrinal criteria. These alarming statistics all point to a Church in the West that has veered off the narrow road. The most poignant figures to come out of the USA relate to the haemorrhaging of young people from the Church. According to Dr Noble of Summit Ministries a massive 80% of young southern Baptists leave that denomination, with some returning in later life. Across all denominations the figure is believed to be around 65%. Young people, raised in the Church, who go to university, also leave the Church in droves and many never return.

These statistics point to a manifest and inter-generational failure of Church leadership that has left the churches full of effete Christians, with a poor understanding of doctrine, history and effective Christian evangelistic engagement and apologetics. Why remain in a Church that stands for very little and is happy to compromise on doctrine to fit into the secular world. When the Church is so much like the world youth see little reason to stay in it. There is no strong conviction that Christians have a higher calling on their lives and only a poorly conceived understanding of a larger Christian cause in a post Christian Western world. Truth Watch sees no reason to doubt that the trends revealed by Barna and Brieley are to be found in New Zealand as well. The failure of leadership and the flagrant disregard for correct doctrine is killing the Church by robbing it of its next generation.