What the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Means for Christian Parents

What the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Means for Christian Parents

I was tempted to not write anything at all about the same-sex marriage ruling.

So much has been written on this in the last week that I don’t see how one more person’s take could possibly be valuable.

And, valuable or not, no matter what I say, I won’t be fired up enough for some people and I’ll be too fired up for others.

But then I started getting messages from people asking how parents should respond; what they should tell their kids; what it means for the future. I realized that to not comment would be sheepish avoidance of a topic that’s important right now to so many readers of this blog.

So, for those who would like to know what I think the same-sex marriage ruling means for Christian parents, I humbly offer these thoughts.

 

Getting Back to Basics

I have many wonderful memories of lake fishing when I was a kid. I loved sitting on the shore watching my big red cork out on the water, anxiously awaiting the moment when it would suddenly plunge under—a sign that a fish had grabbed the bait.

But the cork can also go under if the hook suddenly gets stuck on an underwater rock. When that happens, you end up reeling in weeds instead of a fish. As a kid, that was horribly disheartening. I remember crying to my grandpa one day, “BUT THE CORK WENT UNDER! That means there should be a fish!”

He patiently explained that the cork only suggests what is going on below the water, but you can’t count on it. You have to reel in the line to see what the cork is actually tethered to: the desired fish or a pile of weeds. Ultimately, that’s what mattered…not that the cork made you think there was a fish.

Our kids’ view of homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage is a lot like this. There are a lot of parents really concerned right now about how to manage the cork—their kids’ view on these questions—but still not thinking deeply about how to ensure the cork is actually tethered to the right thing—a robust understanding of their faith.

How do I know that? Research shows that fewer than 1 in 10 families read the Bible or pray together outside of meal times in a given week and that only 12% of kids have regular conversations about faith with their mom.

Maybe if I flip those statistics around, you’ll feel the greater force of it: About 90% of Christian parents are not even studying the Bible with their kids, praying with them outside of meal times, or having conversations about faith.

Does it really matter what your kids think about same-sex marriage if you’re not putting in the work to tether that view to a deep understanding of their faith? How effective can you be in discussing individual issues if your kids don’t have a strong worldview foundation to guide that thinking?

My honest answer to the question, “What does the same-sex marriage ruling mean for parents?” is this: It’s just another wake-up call that Christian parents need to get “back to basics” if they want their kids to have a lasting faith in a challenging secular world.

 

What Are the Basics?

By “basics,” I don’t just mean the things that kids learn by default after a few Sunday school exposures—that God exists, that Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected, and the Bible is God’s word.

Those are just a bunch of assertions.

When you live in a world that is hostile to your assertions, the “basics” have to start looking very different. The basics now have to include (1) the evidence for your assertions, and (2) a deep understanding of why those assertions even matter (application).

Here are the six basics I believe every parent today should be working on with their kids.

 

1. There is good reason to believe God exists (evidence).

If someone said to your kids tomorrow, “There’s no evidence for God!” would your kids (1) know that strong evidence (outside the Bible) does exist, (2) understand that evidence, and (3) be able to articulate that evidence? (For example, see my posts on three of the most significant arguments for God’s existence: the cosmological argument, the design argument, and the moral argument.)

If not, do you want to start working on that this week? Lee Strobel’s The Case For A Creator is a great introduction. There’s even a kids’ version. Get both and study together.

 

2. If God exists, that matters (application).

Many people believe God exists but don’t have a deep understanding of why that fundamentally matters to our view of the world.

Here’s the thing. If a moral law-giving God exists, He is the objective standard of morality. The existence of divine laws means it’s possible to break them—to sin. That means our actions can be right or wrong, regardless of our personal opinions.

If God does not exist, there are no objective standards of morality (no divine law-giver). With no moral laws to break, sin is a meaningless concept. Nothing can be absolutely right or wrong, and everything is a matter of personal opinion.

The question of whether or not sin is a real concept is the foundational divider on moral issues, and at its most basic level, it’s a question of whether or not God exists. If a moral law-giving God exists, it matters tremendously, as sin becomes real, and sin becomes a problem that must be dealt with.

 

3. There is good reason to believe Jesus was resurrected (evidence).

If someone said to your kids tomorrow, “There’s no evidence that Jesus ever lived, and even if he did, science conclusively shows he could not have come back to life. In addition, it’s clear the resurrection was just a story copied from pagan myths?” would your kids be able to respond?

If not, do you want to start working on that this week? Read The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona to understand the historical evidence for the resurrection and discuss with your kids. Here is an article on the evidence for Jesus’ existence, and here is everything you need to know about pagan copycat claims.

 

4. If Jesus was resurrected, that matters (application).

First Corinthians 15:14 says that if Christ has not been raised, our faith is in vain. It all comes down to that. Throw it all away if the resurrection didn’t actually happen. If it did, it confirmed that Jesus was God, and that means we need to hang on His every word and those words must define our lives (see number 5 for why we should trust the Bible as a reliable record of what He said).

In other words, if our creator actually lived on Earth, it should automatically be the most important thing in our lives to know Him and live for Him. I went to church every week growing up and believed that Jesus was resurrected, but really couldn’t have told you why that mattered to my life so much. Don’t take it for granted that your kids get this. Understanding why the resurrection matters changes everything.

 

5. There is good reason to believe the Bible is God’s word (evidence).

If someone said to your kids tomorrow, “The Bible is a book of fairy tales written by ancient people who didn’t know how else to explain their world…” would your kids be able to confidently explain why there is good reason to believe it’s actually the reliable word of God?

If not, do you want to start working on that this week? Read Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace as a starting point to learn about the reliability of the Gospels specifically.

 

6. If the Bible is God’s word, that matters (application).

If I had to name a single takeaway I’ve had from watching the online comments from the week, it would be this: Many Christians and nonbelievers have a profoundly limited understanding of the Bible.

I’m not a Bible scholar and have much to learn, but there are some basic things every Christian should know.

For example, how many times have you seen someone comment this week, “But God loves EVERYONE!”? (usually with 48 exclamation points and even more caps for emphasis). Of course God loves everyone. No one (except crazy fringe groups like Westboro Baptist) is saying otherwise. However, it’s really Bible 101 to understand that God loves everyone but hates sin…and that the Bible identifies what sins there are.

Or how about the nonbelievers posting verses from the Old Testament that only applied to the theocracy of Israel and asking why Christians don’t follow those laws (as if that’s a big “gotcha”)?

Or how about Christians saying “who are we to judge others?” Christians are to judge! (If you’re unclear about what the Bible says on judging others, here is a brief article.)

If the Bible is God’s word, it’s really, really important that kids know how to study and use it appropriately.

But how is that possible if 90% of Christian parents don’t study the Bible with their kids on a regular basis? What good does it do to point out verses on various aspects of morality if your kids have no passionate conviction that the Bible is actually God’s word?

 

In my opinion, those are the basics. Does it look like a lot? No one ever said basics are easy. They’re just fundamental.

 

But What About Same-Sex Marriage?

This post is not meant to trivialize the need to discuss same-sex marriage with your kids. It’s a big deal and has the potential to fundamentally change the social structure. It is something to discuss with your kids.

But how our kids develop their views on any question of moralitypremarital sex, adultery, pornography, or anything elseshould be the outcome of what is already a deeply held Christian worldview. 

How you should talk to your kids about same sex-marriage is really no different than how you should be talking to them about any other moral issue…

 

There is good reason to believe God exists.

If God exists, that matters.

There is good reason to believe Jesus was resurrected.

If Jesus was resurrected, that matters.

There is good reason to believe the Bible is God’s word.

If the Bible is God’s word, that matters.

 

…And here’s what the Bible says about (x, y, and z).

…And here’s where our society (legally and/or culturally) differs with the biblical worldview.

 

If you’re jumping straight to what the Bible says on something—without having done the foundational work of the basics above—you’re managing the cork without caring if there’s actually a fish underneath.

Imagine how much our world would change if every Christian had a deep understanding of these “basics” and could engage nonbelievers at the foundational worldview level, rather than one cork issue at a time.

It can.

It starts with you: The parents raising the next generation.

May we all help our kids become true fishers of men.

 

What conversations have you had with your kids about the ruling? What struggles do you have in addressing it?

(This post includes affiliate links. Click here for legal disclosures.)

32 Comments

  1. […] What the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Means for Christian Parents […]



  2. Kirsten on July 2, 2015 at 3:35 AM

    Your posts are always extremely thought-provoking. I’m such a cut-and-dried person, I’m much more likely to just say “this is wrong and that is right”. I do need to work much harder on these foundations; I want my girls to understand the why – the core of their beliefs, not just recite what mom told them to believe.

    Then, I want to get them to a point where they understand what the Bible teaches on many key topics that they will have to navigate without mom’s hand holding (such a premarital sex and drugs). But it’s the core that really matters. What a great reminder today.



  3. Jason on July 2, 2015 at 7:20 AM

    Natasha,

    Excellent perspective as always. As a dad, I continue to find your blog one of my best resources for Christian parenting. Keep up the good work!



    • JOSH on July 5, 2015 at 3:50 PM

      I heartily concur with Jason.
      Keep on keeping the main thing the main thing Natasha!



  4. Karn Haught on July 2, 2015 at 7:34 AM

    The best response I have read all week and spot on. Thank you.



  5. Michelle Marullo on July 2, 2015 at 8:08 AM

    Excellent post, Natasha! The lie is to believe this law does not matter. Science textbooks have already removed creation (God) as a theory. Evolution is the truth taught from first to twelfth grade. Required curriculum for elementary students already teaches family equals same-sex. Our grandchildren will not recognize the religious freedoms we have taken for granted. We have legalized sin, again, in America. Speak up and vote loud, Christians! Take back your country one family at a time. It starts in our homes first. If not now, when?!



    • Mawma on July 3, 2015 at 10:12 AM

      Amen!



  6. NANCY KUWADA on July 2, 2015 at 8:56 AM

    I whole heartily agree with you Natasha.

    . I have always believed the stories about the Jews returning to Jerusalem and rebuilding the city walls illustrated what we parents need to do for our kids. Help them build a solid foundation – side by side with Jesus as our cornerstone. When obstacles venture across their path they have a strong foundation to stand on and fight the battles with God as their armor.

    As a parent of a teenager I see this in action. I proudly watch him battle the world. Some times he comes out bruised and wounded but that’s when I step in. God’s got our back.



  7. Nita on July 2, 2015 at 9:14 AM

    Thank you! This was well said and I am going to start a dinner conversation jar with these basics to assess where we are as a family.



  8. Tara D on July 2, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    Thank you! This is the best response I have read and keeps things in perspective! As always, I love your blog. Thank you for all the work you put into it!



  9. Jen on July 2, 2015 at 10:59 AM

    Great post! I subscribed to your blog because you cover apologetics at its most fundamental level. It can’t get more basic than this. Excellent reminders.



  10. Kim McClintic on July 2, 2015 at 11:25 AM

    Natasha, this has been exactly what has been on my mind. My daughter(17) came to me and began asking questions dealing with what the bible says about homosexuality. We talked about it but the more I thought about I realized that was not what she was really asking about. She wanted to know if the Bible was going to force her to shun her friends who are homosexual. That was my lightbulb moment where I realized I needed to do better. When my kids were younger we regularly had discussion and teaching about the Bible but as they got older and busier, I pushed it to the side. Big Mistake! I just received my copy of Cold Case Christianity and we are reading The Case for Christ as a family. It’s time for me to priorities back in the right place. Thank you so much for the post. It really helped put things in perspective.



  11. suzanne walker on July 2, 2015 at 2:22 PM

    I believe this is fundamentally the most critical event in our lifetime: I am afraid for the faith community and all this ruling implies. Our children and grandchildren will be so confused if we do not show them clearly it is not that God doesn’t love the individual it is the sin. In our anything goes society this can easily become an accepted belief of “normal”. I agree with the parents reading the Bible with the kids to stay connected to the truth. Thank you for addressing this troublesome topic.



  12. Ruth Hickman on July 2, 2015 at 4:15 PM

    I’m so glad you gave this perspective on a very important topic. Very thought provoking. I plan to use it in some of my teaching.
    Be blessed and keep on keeping on.



  13. His Mom on July 3, 2015 at 5:38 AM

    Because all this mattered, we hid in church with concern and fear. Starting when our child was 3 and lasting 23 years.
    My attempts to straighten him out resulted in finding him hiding in the closet and he had stopped talking.
    Today, he is lonely and will not be an issue. I do believe he is safe outside of church.
    The foundation matters and so does knowing that we were not given that foundation to exclude others.
    We have kids hiding fearfully in church. I spend every week hearing that they would rather die, since God doesn’t love them. They are in your Youth Group. Their families are ask to leave church because of them. Teach your kids to be kind above all else.



  14. Mawma on July 3, 2015 at 10:30 AM

    Our daughter and her spouse divorced because her husband decided to come out of the closet. Our daughter and her daughters moved in with us until she got on her feet. Thank God, our daughter lived each day with the Lord and never missed a day of reading the Word or praying with them! One day the oldest girl came to me, her Mawma, and asked me was it a sin to be gay? I answered by giving her a list of scriptures and told her to read what
    the Bible said. She later told me thank you, Mawma, for the Word gave me my answer. That has been two years ago and is a teenager who is growing stronger in the Lord! Hope this helps someone!



  15. PenLight on July 3, 2015 at 2:45 PM

    Thank you for this. Very good perspective, very good way to teach. Thank you



  16. Rebecca on July 3, 2015 at 7:19 PM

    Thanks for being bold. You’re right. Focus on the Word first.



  17. mel on July 4, 2015 at 4:46 PM

    Forget about the fact that 90% of christian parents do not read the bible with there kids, how about the percentage that do not read, study, undertand the bible at all. What I have seen is that people rely heavily on pastors, priests, ect for there information, not Gods word. No wonder kids are confused, church leaders and parents are confusing them. I do not want to generalize, meaning there are christian people out there who do read and understand, unfortunately the majority do not. The church has turned itself into spiritual Israel. We want to take the old covenant and apply its laws, which were never intended for the gentile!! We want the Old testament rules without the old testament consequenses. Until churches cease putting people under the guilt that the law brings, children will generally be confused. The law is only a mirror, it can show us our face is dirty, but cannot clean it for us. Thanks be to God and his Son for removing the only thing that leaves a person separated from God; Sin!! Atonement vs. propiation!! Hopefully they come to terms with God on there own. Why are Christians afraid of, Gay Marriage? Is there Gays in your church ? I hope so, I also hope we are not quick to condemn, thus we become like the self righteous. Spiritual Israel! Kids will be fine, remember they are watching you parents. Be full of grace, quick to show mercy and love. Allow our kids to succeed, fail, form opinions, and be themselves. The most important job we have as parents!! And lastly allow them to see you succeed, fail, be yourelf, and hopefully the will understand that all have sinned and fallen short of Gods Glory, even us parents, what a perfect opportunity to teach them to forgive, because we need forgiveness too. What a perfect opportunity to show them God’s Grace in action.



  18. peter on July 5, 2015 at 11:40 AM

    I totally agree .Unfortunately many believers don’t understand the meaning or importance of apologetics in the life of the local church. Here is an an post from APOLOGETICS : WHY YOUR CHURCH NEEDS IT. John M. Njoroge 
    http://www.rzim.org/just-thinking/apologetics-why-your-church-needs-it

    “Apologetics: branch of Christian theology that seeks to address the intellectual obstacles that keep people from taking the Gospel seriously… Gospel cannot be understood at the worldview level without apologetics…. When biblical Christianity is understood at the worldview level, it has the power not only to change the hearts and minds of individual adherents but also to influence the ideas that shape the opinions of a culture… If we lose the next generation to secularism, other religions, and paganism, it is not going to be because we fought and lost the battle, but because we never entered the battlefield in the first place. God has given us all we need in order to serve Him effectively in this world, and our minds are an integral part of the process. The message of the Gospel is simple but it is by no means simplistic. Proper understanding and application of its truth requires careful study and contemplation.”



  19. peter on July 5, 2015 at 11:51 AM

    Charles Colson was a Special Counsel to President Richard Nixon, imprisoned for Watergate-related charges, was given C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, saved, became a Evangelical Christian leader, Christian worldview teacher/ trainer and cultural commentator. His life experience had led him to conclude that: “The church’s singular failure in recent decades has been the failure to see Christianity as a life system, or worldview, that governs every area of existence”
    (quote from http://www.arcapologetics.org/about.htm).

    Colson also observed that: “We cannot answer the questions our children bring home from school, so we are incapable of preparing them to answer the challenges they face. For ourselves, we cannot explain to our friends and neighbors why we believe, and we often cannot defend our faith. And we do not know how to organize our lives correctly, allowing our choices to be shaped by the world around us” (Charles Colson, Nancy Pearcey. Arcapologetics.org http://www.arcapologetics.org/about.htm).



  20. Janet on July 5, 2015 at 12:36 PM

    Thank you for your post, as a mum of 3 boys Australia your post reminded me of what my continued role needs to be! To prepare them for what lies ahead with God’s truth and basic understanding of what and why they believe it with conviction, thank you for being a resource in achieving that!



  21. Carolyn Schatte on July 5, 2015 at 2:26 PM

    Thank you for your thoughts – they are great and so true. I would like to add that we also need to make sure that we don’t just have a head knowledge – in other words, Jesus said in John that life eternal is to know God – it’s a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul says to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus also taught in John that as we obeyed Him, we would grow in our understanding of His doctrine which I think He expounded upon in the sermon on the mount. Thank you again!!



  22. Cindy Moresette on July 6, 2015 at 5:05 PM

    outstanding article!! Thank you!!



  23. Nadine on July 7, 2015 at 6:27 PM

    Thank you, great post.



  24. […] What the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Means for Christian Parents (Christian Mom Thoughts – Natasha Crain – this is a good and thoughtful article): http://christianmomthoughts.com//what-the-same-sex-marriage-ruling-means-for-christian-parents/ […]



  25. Kathleen on July 11, 2015 at 7:41 AM

    Thank you! Right on!



  26. Ralph Riley on July 11, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    Assuming that the basics are understood and logically applied is NOT a good assumption. Your approach is excellent. I had a discussion with the pastor of my home Baptist church about discussing the gay marriage decision, especially to help young people who, like their parents, are often Biblically illiterate… I suggested a basic approach very similar to your with a discussion included on what Christ did to save us from sin – covering the transformational aspect of salvation versus an affirmation all approach to a sinner and their sin. The pastor explained that he didn’t feel that beating people about the head and shoulders on this topic would be helpful. …Even pastors don’t understand the basics at times.



  27. Heather on July 16, 2015 at 6:21 AM

    Great post. I have been telling my kids that people are allowed to make their own decisions and live the way they want (to a degree). God gives us that freedom. So we cannot expect or force unbelievers to live the way we think they should or to agree with our values. But just because they have the right to live the way they want does not mean they are right in doing it. God’s word still stands and someday we will all be judged by it. Till then, it is not our job to scold or shame unbelievers, gays, etc., but to show them the same respect and compassion we should show anyone. We will all face God someday and give an account for our lives, so we should focus on ourselves and how we are living before the Lord. Are we humbling ourselves before Him and seeking righteousness in our own lives? Or are we only concerned with how others are living? God says that if His people would humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways, then He would hear their prayers, forgive and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 This verse is for His people, not unbelievers. I think if we believers focused on seeking God and righteousness and on humbling ourselves before Him, we would see a revival and He would change our country in the ways we cannot. It is good (and necessary) to stand up for His truth and ways in society, but are we so busy “doing for” the Lord that we are failing at “being with” the Lord?



  28. Fr. Basil Gikas on August 4, 2015 at 1:21 PM

    As to same sex marriage. I believe marriage as a sacrament includes the grace of God and as such His favor. Jesus blessed the wedding at Cana of Galilee ( union of one man and one woman) by performing the first of His signs according the Gospel of John. Many references in the Old Testament to the sin of same sex relations. Moreover, just because I love someone it does not mean I will marry them and/or have sex with him or her. I love my parents, my siblings, etc.
    Marriage is between one man and one woman.



  29. July | A Thousand Daily Deaths on August 6, 2015 at 3:01 PM

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  30. meh on September 1, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    The problem is that people disagree on what the Bible says. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of linguistics and how language works would not have the arrogance or hubris to say that the Bible CLEARLY says homosexuality/SSM is a sin. (I’m not saying that the Bible CLEARLY says that God loves teh gay people, either. I’m simply pointing that it’s not clear.)