Q&A Under God?: God's View of Marriage


What is the church's stance on who takes whose name? I have heard of the husband taking the wife's maiden name.

Gateway doesn't have an official stance on this.  

If a lesbian couple believes in God, are they still going to hell? 

Being lesbian doesn't send a person to Hell. Rejecting Christ is what sends a person to Hell. We can reject Christ in a number of ways. One of which is to not allow Him to have authority over our sexuality. This would be true not just for gay/lesbians, but also for someone who refuses to submit themselves to God's view of premarital sex, pornography, adultery, etc...If we resist Jesus' authority, are comfortable with our rebellion, and see no need to repent of our behavior...we are ultimately showing that Jesus is not our Lord nor our Savior. 

I have two members in my family that have chosen to be to be gay. How do I go about loving this person but not letting them think I agree to what they are doing? 

This will always be tough because, in today's culture, to love someone pretty much means you have to agree with what they're doing. The best advice I can give is to love them as you see Jesus loving people in the gospels. Jesus doesn't sugarcoat a person's need to repent of their sins, but neither does He disassociate with sinners. In fact, He continually seeks them out to show them love that is full of grace and truth.

For you, this may mean to invite your family members over to your house (if they live nearby) for the holidays, special events, for dinner, etc...Also, be sure to speak about what Jesus is doing in your life while around them. Show them that Jesus has and is changing you. And if there are disagreements, make the disagreement less about your views and theirs, instead bring the conversation back to Jesus and His views. 

What does it mean or what does it look like to submit to your spouse? 

Here are a couple of helpful articles (and one video) on the topic of submission:

  1. What Does It Mean for a Wife to Submit to Her Husband? by Shelley Poston
  2. What Biblical Submission Does and Does Not Mean by Justin Taylor
  3. Everyday Ways to Submit to Your Husband by Sabra Penley
  4. And this video, What Does It Mean to Submit to Your Husband.

What about love? I agree that same sex marriage is wrong, and I love how you addressed people that don't follow Jesus and this kind of stuff not applying to them because they don't ascribe to God (which I think needs to be stated in most sermons), but what about Love? Jesus said to love our neighbor as ourselves, He extended His love, healing, service and hospitality to the least of these. He went to Levi's house and let him be His disciple. He ate with them and conversed with them, laughed with them, cared for them. These people were the equivalent of today's gay people, drug abusers, mob bosses and dirty cops. I feel we failed to address this and almost made it sound okay to just shun out people who are gay. "WE are the church and WE believe this and WE need to concern ourselves with us and THEY are all wrong" again, I love how we said to work on our own marriages as to not be hypocrites I just feel this was an important point that was missed that could have just been said in two sentences. 

Thanks for your comment. Not trying to be snarky, but I did mention love and that we do love people who are gay, lesbians, etc...Here's a quote from my sermon. In reading the statement by our denomination I said, "We bear no malice toward those with a same-sex attraction; in fact, we love them with the love of Christ." 

I think the big confusion about love is what does it mean to love someone? If we follow Jesus' example, He loved people, but did not excuse their sin. For instance, when eating with Levi, Jesus told the Pharisees, "Those who are well don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32 NET)

So yes! Let's love people like Jesus loved them. Even gay people, drug abusers, mob bosses and dirty cops. But in loving them, we must call them to repentance. 

 1 Corinthians 14:33-35  How do women pastors get around this?

I think you're actually asking about two different issues. The first is the topic of women pastors. The second is about women speaking in the church (based on your reference to 1 Corinthians 14:33-35). 

Whether or not the Bible permits women to be pastors is something Christians do not agree on. I don't want to get into the whole debate as it's pretty complicated and would require a very lengthy response. At Gateway, we believe that both men and women are made in the image of God, given all the spiritual gifts (including leadership, shepherding, teaching, etc...), are called to serve in the local church, etc...Yet we believe that Scripture teaches that the office of pastor/elder is reserved only for men.

Some quick bullet point reasons why:

  • Nowhere in Scripture do we find a woman being referred to as a pastor/elder/etc...
  • The requirements found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 are addressed to men only.
  • Jesus, who was a renegade concerning the religious/cultural norms of his day (he hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors, etc...), only chose men to be apostles. He did have women who supported his ministry, but when choosing the first leaders of the church, Jesus selected only men.

Regarding women speaking in a church service, 1 Corinthians 14:33-35 must be understood in light of other passages that speak of women and their role and voice in the church. Throughout the New Testament, we see that there were female prophets (Acts 21:9), a woman (with her husband) instructing others (Acts 18:24-28), and one woman is referred to as a deacon/servant (Romans 16:1-2; Paul also greets many other females who obviously have an influential role in the church in Rome). 

All that to say that we must take into account all of what the Bible teaches about women in the church and their voice. In 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, Paul seems to be speaking to a particular situation in the Corinthian church that women needed to remain silent on. Not complete silence on all matters in the church, but for a particular situation.

While watching the sermon, God's view of marriage, a family member asked me, what if the spouse is abusive or is the one choosing to leave and have the divorce without being willing to attend counseling? In any circumstance is it acceptable to have a divorce or would we be expected to submit and stay in the marriage no matter what?

The Bible does give some acceptable reasons for divorce (adultery, being one). But even then, there's a desire to pursue reconciliation first (if possible), which is quite countercultural in our nation. So yes, there are acceptable reasons for divorce, but divorce should never become acceptable in our minds. Divorce is a result of sin, displays the brokenness of our relationship with others, distorts the gospel presentation marriage is to proclaim, and should grieve all followers of Jesus (just as any result of sin should).

Regarding the sermon this past Sunday on marriage, I need some advice. I have many friends, some very close to me, that are gay. Do I support their choices? No, but I do love them unconditionally. That said, I am awaiting the day that one or all of them decide to get married. I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place on whether or not I attend the wedding (again, assuming that day comes). I truly believe it should be one man and one woman, but want to show my friends love in their life happiness. Do you have any advice if this day comes? 

My caution to you is that you say you don't support their choices, but in attending their wedding you are supporting their choice. I'm not saying that this would be an easy decision to make, but there's no way to attend a wedding without supporting the couple's decision. Especially if the question is asked, "Does anyone have reason as to why these two should not be married?" To remain silent would be to show support and approval.

Two final things to always keep in mind. First, God isn't concerned with our happiness as much as our holiness. Thus our primary concern for one another should not be happiness first, but holiness first. So show your friends love, but do so while making their holiness your primary concern. Second, when forced to choose between standing with God's position on any issue or submitting to cultural expectations, the follower of Christ must choose to stand with God. If you believe that God's view of marriage is "one man and one woman", then attending a same sex wedding would not be standing with Him and His view of marriage. 

Here's a video that may be helpful to watch on this topic.