Should Chris & Pat get married?

Preston Sprinkle —  May 5, 2014 — 17 Comments

Without revealing the gender, relationship, race, or age of this couple, I wanted to see if you think they should get married.

Chris is in love with Pat. They are both believers. They love Jesus and follow Him whole-heartily. Chris and Pat have been dating for 2 years and now they want to get married. They aren’t physically intimate, since they gay-men-holding-handsbelieve that sex and all sexual activity is not within God’s will unless two people are married. Chris and Pat love each other. They are committed to a life of faithfulness, consensual love, and Christ-honoring service. They both want to exalt Christ in their marriage and tell many people about Him. They want their future marriage to glorify Jesus and showcase His love for the world.

But there are two problems. First, most forms of traditional Christianity don’t think they should get married, believing that such a marriage would be an abomination. Second, they are infertile. In fact, both Chris and Pat are unable to have kids for biological reasons and yet they still love each other. However, some Christians in the church believe that their inability to have kids has disqualified them from getting married. But Chris and Pat love each other. And they believe that their mutual love and faithfulness qualifies them for marriage. After all, they are roughly the same age and are incredibly compatible. They don’t have the “gift of celibacy” and even though other believers don’t think their marriage is within the will of God, they believe that their mutual love, commitment, and Christ-exalting love for each other validates their marriage. And so, this summer, Chris and Pat plan on getting married. After all, their marriage will harm no one, not even themselves. If it’s not destructive, then how could it be sin?

So, do you think that Chris and Pat should get married?

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Preston Sprinkle

Preston Sprinkle

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I'm married to a beautiful wife and we have four kids (3 girls and a boy). I've been teaching college level Bible and Theology classes for a few years now (since 2007), and enjoy hanging out with my family, running, surfing, and life in SoCal. Before I became a teacher, I was in school. Lots and lots of school. I did a B.A. and M.Div here in SoCal, and then did a Ph.D. in Scotland in NT studies. Before coming to EBC, I taught at Nottingham University for a semester, and Cedarville University for a couple of years. Along with surfing, I also love to research and write, and I've written a few things on Paul, Early Judaism, and Hell.
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  • vbscript2

    “most forms of traditional Christianity don’t think they should get married, believing that such a marriage would be an abomination.”

    I’d say the real question here then is why most forms of traditional Christianity say that it’s an abomination. If it’s because scripture says it’s an abomination (such as in the case of a same-sex relationship,) then really the rest of the description isn’t even true. You can’t love God and want to glorify Him while blatantly and continually violating His commands. Those two things are mutually exclusive, as Christ Himself stated:

    “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.’ ” John 14:23-24

    If, on the other hand, it’s just a matter of people making up their own rules that are not in scripture, then the situation becomes more complicated and that’s when you need to start taking Romans 14 and 15 and how your actions will affect your brothers into account.

  • LuvsGod

    “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” 2 Tim. 2:23

    With all respect to a brother in Christ, this post does not appear to magnify the Lord, rather to set the stage for disunity among believers. There may be a better way to go about this.

  • Eric Walter

    This post is carefully written. Well done. However, to answer your question, I still need more information. The Bible’s creational definitions are very specific- which means I can’t answer your question yet. Sorry, hope it works out! 🙂

  • Len Larva

    Everything inside me wants to say Yes. I see no reason why two perfectly normal Christ-following people shouldn’t be wed. Clearly marriage is not defined by a couple’s ability to procreate. What we have here (as far as I know) is a couple willing and able to glorify God, something we need more of inside the Church.

  • Matt

    Good article Preston, I really appreciated how it captured the importance of seeing the Church’s stance on homosexuality as something with human consequences, not mere dogma.

    “If it’s not destructive, then how can it be a sin?”

    This is a very important question, and I hope that we as a body of believers will be able to consider this conflict with sobriety and love, speaking what we perceive to be biblical truth with humility and gentleness.

  • Guest

    Are comments agreeing with homosexuality only permitted? Why are my comments being turned down? They challenge the logic of the article…is that the problem?

  • bcb

    Oh Vey. This is such a bate and switch. The argument is not based on capability or functionability but on design.

    Also this question, the way it is set up, does what so many other questions like it do–it ignores the premise of the argument, then redefines it, then argues against the now redefined meaning, setting up a straw man to knock down. What I mean is this: The conservative argument is that a man is designed for a woman and a woman is designed for a man. In other words, they are designed not only to mutually please one another sexually but more importantly to procreate. The question posed by the article removes the “design” element (and this is important: it removes the INTENT of that design) and focusses on healthy capability. Once capability is established as the new premise, the questioner removes healthy functionality and equates heterosexual infertile couples with homosexual infertile couples and bingo: There is no difference and both couples should be allowed to marry.

    Nice try but I didn’t take the bait.

  • bcb

    Oh Vey. This is such a bate and switch. The argument is not based on capability or functionability but on design.

    Also this question, the way it is set up, does what so many other questions like this do–it jumps the premise of the argument, then redefines it, then argues against the now redefined meaning, setting up a straw man to knock down. What I mean is this: The conservative argument is that a male is designed for a woman and a woman is designed for a man. In other words, they are designed not only to mutually please one another sexually but more importantly to procreate. The question above removes the “design” element (and this is important: the INTENT of that design) and focusses on healthy capability. Once capability is established as the new premise, the questioner removes healthy functionality and equates heterosexual infertile couples with homosexual infertile couples and bingo. There is no differences and both couples should be allowed to marry.

    Nice try but I didn’t take the bait.

  • Is this supposed to be a predicament? It’s really a reflection of where we are in our culture today that this seems to be a conundrum. Chronocentrism and biblical, historical illiteracy are the culprit here.

    While Chris and Pat’s scenerio should cause us to reconsider how the church has responded poorly to folks with same-sex attraction (on a sliding spectrum) and want to follow Christ, it doesn’t overturn 2,000 years of church interpretation and tradition regarding sodomy being practiced in any form. Even the academic LGBT proponents have acknowledged that the Scripture is clearly against same-sex “unions” from Moses to Paul.

    Have Chris and Pat considered that an emotional bond isn’t enough to qualify for a “marriage” in any historical or biblical sense of the word. If their relationship is a marriage, there can be no limits to what constitutes a marriage. Why is this so hard for LGBT to acknowledge. Marriage involves “cleaving” and bonding of an exclusive one flesh union (physical & spiritual), between male (penis) and female (vagina), that has the potential biologically to produce life. A case against same-sex marriage can be made apart from the Scripture, and has been made.

    My understanding is that Chris and Pat, as followers of Christ, can covenant with one another in a David-Jonathan relationship, but engaging in sexual activity is and always will be outside the divine design, which is meant for good, not for evil. Will they accept the male-female “image” in which they’ve been created, or will they deviate from that order based on their feelings? This is a matter of discipleship.

    Sex is a gift given by God, but it is not a gift given to all. It belongs within a male-female, monogamous union. But let’s be clear that “monogamy” alone isn’t the highest ideal. It never has been. Why is the point of a monogamous same-sex relationship being used to elevate sodomy? I don’t get it. While it may be a step up from same-sex promiscuity, it’s not enough to baptize same-sex marriage.

    We must be willing to listen to the biblical narrative and the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us. Sexual fulfillment is not necessary for wholeness as human beings. Unfortunately, it has become almost impossible to say this today in our sex-saturated culture where identity is formed around our attractions. At the same time, Paul was dealing with a form of this even in the first century.

    Finally, what is destructive and harmful isn’t to be left up to us, as we are constantly being pressed into conforming to the “pattern of the world” on all manner of things. The world has darkened our thinking and ability to discern. We are made in God’s image, for sure, but we’re broken and not as we should be. To ignore reason, tradition, Scripture, and experience on this matter is to plug our ears to the truth.

    And let’s not forget about the sincere believers who experience same-sex attraction but believe God has called them to “live as eunuchs” for the Kingdom. Because the Kingdom is way more important than our sex drives.

    Btw: I think the picture of two guys holding hands undermines your first statement about leaving gender out of it. 🙂

    • Julia Soler

      How do you know David and Jonathan were NOT lovers–” surpassing the love of women”.

  • Chris

    “First, most forms of traditional Christianity don’t think they should get married, believing that such a marriage would be an abomination.”
    That’s a pretty strong statement. I would want to know the reason why most traditional Christians feel that way.

    • Julia Soler

      Abomination is one translation of toevah –a Hebrew word the purity code. It covered things like eating shellfish and wearing mixed fabrics. If you do either of the above–or even if you don’t–I suggest you read “Dirt, Greed , and Sex” by William Countryman .

      • barnabus jonus

        The prohibitions against eating shellfish and wearing mixed fabrics were part of the old Jewish man-made laws, that are trumped with the incarnation of Christ. Sodomites who argue that if you cite the Leviticus reference to sodomy as an abomination, then you can’t wear mixed fabrics, do not understand the Bible.

  • Malek

    Obviously, the most troubling part of your post is this: “most forms of traditional Christianity don’t think they should get married, believing that such a marriage would be an abomination.” I don’t know what that means. You’ve been writing a series on Homosexuality & the Bible so, of course, my mind naturally goes there. Well, that and it’s a huge hot-topic these days whereas the question of, say, inter-racial marriage has long been settled. Of course, you also say “they both want to exalt Christ in their marriage” and “they want their future marriage to glorify Jesus.” So that’s future desires covered. Are they doing that presently? According to your post, yes, “they love Jesus and follow Him whole-heartily.” (it’s heartedly btw :p). So they love and follow Jesus now and they want to love and follow Jesus going forward. I see no issues as you haven’t hinted at any sort of “self-delusion.”

    I guess the ultimate question is this: are they going against “most forms of traditional Christianity” or against the scripture? Which is what your series has been all about – is homosexuality really prohibited by the Bible?

    As for infertility, I am infertile. I essentially went through early-menopause in my twenties before I ever had sex. For someone to tell me that I shouldn’t get married is not only offensive, hurtful and ridiculous – it’s un-biblical. There are many infertile women in the scriptures – Sarah and Hannah immediately come to mind – who are nevertheless married and whose eventual, miraculous procreation displays the power and mercy of God. If we were to draw the line at infertility where should it stop. Should disabled persons not be allowed to get married?

  • Cody Cook

    Looks like someone has been watching It’s Pat!

    The difficulty here is that there isn’t enough information to go on. As it is right now, the only argument against them being married is that people on their church community don’t like it. And while that should have some weight, it can’t be the only criteria. The question has to be WHY they don’t like it. Are their reasons for disagreeing valid? Perhaps Pat is divorced and they are against divorce and remarriage. Well, then Pat ought to listen to their arguments, determine if they are valid, and go from there. Is it because they’re a gay couple? Then Pat and Chris should also listen and determine whether their arguments are valid. If, in either case, they move forward in good faith and decide that neither are problematic, then I’d say that they’re living in the light they have. Their decision might be a bad one, but their motives are clean.

  • Kelly

    Absolutely! Good luck mates!