Same sex marriage has divided the community, and at times seen heated reactions. After this week’s historic plebiscite results, we speak to two church leaders with very different views.
Now that the results of the postal survey are in, I find myself grateful that this leg of the journey is finally over.
We live in democratic society and the wishes of the majority must always be accepted and respected, that is simple.
What happens within churches now is a little more complex.
I am a fundamentalist, conservative Christian.
That means that I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, it is inerrant and unchanging.
It also means that I believe that there is a Heaven to be gained and a Hell to be feared and that salvation can only be found through faith in Jesus Christ alone and that God Almighty has expectations of me as an individual before Him.
So, while I respect the decision of the majority, I am also bound by my conscience and my belief.
For this reason I voted “no” and I could never participate in a wedding ceremony that I considered to be contrary to the Biblical pattern.
Society has not always followed God’s moral standard but to be honest, that is not my problem or concern because the Bible has clearly stated that it is not the Christian’s business to judge those “outside of the church” on the contrary, we are commanded to judge those inside.
Recently, I wrote about the hypocrisy of the Church Hierarchy in their seeking to influence the outcome of the postal survey while actively protecting clergy who have committed child sex offences.
The church would have done better to have cleaned up their own house rather than to have tried to dictate terms to a society that largely considers the church irrelevant and hypocritical.
The real issue for genuine Christians at this point is not the redefinition of marriage and the actions of those who do not believe in God but whether the church they attend is following the model of Biblical teaching.
Will they personally hold fast to the unchanging standards taught by Jesus and the Apostles or will they be caught up in the ever increasing tide of ear tickling political correctness?
Pastor Bob Cotton,
Maitland Christian Church
Plebiscite: Thankfully, a right and just result
The recent plebiscite surrounding same sex marriage (SSM) opened a very sensitive and personal issue to some very insensitive and, in my opinion, inappropriate public debate.
Over the past weeks my facebook feed has been inundated with the views of both the “Yes” and the “No” camps.
I have to say that I was consistently disappointed by the anger and vitriol of some of those arguing against SSM, and particularly those who argued on the basis of their Christian convictions.
I was particularly concerned about the effect that this debate might be having on members of the LGBTQI community.
I am a Christian and an Anglican priest and I fully support the rights of same sex couples to commit to a monogamous and loving union through the civil institution of marriage.
I support same sex marriage because of my faith, not in spite of it.
I have faith in a God whose great love impelled him to enter a dynamic relationship with humanity through Jesus Christ.
For Christians, Jesus is the human face of God and it is through Jesus that we can learn of God’s greatest desire for men and women, namely, that they live virtuous lives based on peace, justice and love for each other.
In the gospels, Jesus presents some very clear teachings on how we are to “be in relationship” with each other.
He says things like, “do not judge,” “treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself” and “love your neighbour”.
Jesus backed up these words with definitive actions based on compassion and radical hospitality.
He healed the sick, forgave those broken by sin and selfishness and included the marginalised in his circle of friendship.
As a Christian, I have been mandated by Christ to love my brother and sister whether they are black or white, male or female, old or young, rich or poor … gay or straight.
For me it seems right and just and positively Christ-like to extend all the benefits and the dignity and the stability of civil marriage to same sex couples.