In this unique hour and a half interview with The Reverend Doctor Wayne Grudem by telephone from the writer’s home north of San Francisco to his study in his Phoenix area home. So much was covered regarding Gay Marriage and Same Sex Blessings, some in more depth because of Dr. Grudem’s generous willingness to spend so much time with the interview. This interview is the fourth in a series of what are now six interviews on the subject. It is the first with an Evangelical. To give the reader some idea of what kind of Evangelical are we talking about and with in this interview, here is the complete quote from Phoenix Seminary where Dr. Grudem is a teacher:
- We believe the Bible alone (the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments) to be the inspired, inerrant, authoritative word of God.
- We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
- We believe that all human beings are lost and sinful by nature. For their salvation, regeneration by the Holy Spirit and (for all who have the mental capacity) personal faith in Jesus Christ are absolutely essential. Salvation is a gift from God, it is not earned.
- We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
- We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. The true Church is the body of Christ of which He is the head.
- We believe in the resurrection of the saved unto eternal life and the lost unto eternal condemnation.
Phoenix Seminary students must affirm the above statement of faith. Words in italics are modifications to the National Association of Evangelicals Statement of Faith. Phoenix Seminary’s resident faculty, administration, and board members hold to the Faculty Teaching Position.
He and his wife Margaret have been married since 1969 and have three adult sons. Readers may email Dr. Grudem: firstname.lastname@example.org
Without further introduction, this writer asks your indulgence as the interview is started, then followed by three Addendum: (1) An excerpt of longer length from Dr. Grudem’s new book with the subtitle: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture; (2) An excerpt of shorter length from Dr. Grudem’s new book published by Zondaverum, Politics—According to the Bible; (3) Excerpts from an interview with Dr. Grudem that tells us something of his interests and life.
1. That there is this non-controversy of Gay Marriage and Same Sex Blessings is something this writer hears. It seems for some clergy, these matters are a done-deal and they support it, the non-controversy, the done-deal, and practice it in their work, and believe society accepts the matter. My question will lead us to a statement by a prominent clergyman, but first tell the reader, is the subject and practice of Gay Marriage and Same Sex Blessings no longer a controversy and of public and Christian debate and discussion? Is it a done-deal in our society given the success of the “Gay Agenda” in the Military, American Foreign Service, California Courts, Massachusetts, other States in America and even in the present Presidential and Federal Administration’s practice of no longer supporting the federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act?
No, it’s not a done deal. Every state that has voted on Gay Marriage in a statewide referendum has voted to retain marriage as one man and one woman. That is 31 States. The voters of 30 states have passed constitutional amendments affirming marriage as one man and one woman, and Maine voters overturned the legislature’s legalization of same-sex marriage. The only “defeat” was in Arizona in 2006, and that was reversed in 2008.]
It isn’t true that “society” accepts the matter if you accept democracy as a means of determining what society wants. Even in California, 52 percent of the population voted to limit marriage to one man and one woman.
As for clergy acceptance, it depends on which clergy you mean. I’m past president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) that has over 4,000 members and represents evangelical professors in theology and Bible across the United States. All of its current executive committee and 24 past presidents have affirmed that if you believe the Bible, then marriage is between one man and one woman. This was an affirmation made in an amicus brief filed in February, 2010, with the United Sates Supreme Court. It said, “Upholding marriage between one man and one woman is an entirely proper consequence of belief in the Bible and the inspired word of God.” (page 18 of Evangelical Theologians’ amicus brief in the case CLS v. Martinez).
I estimate that over 90% of evangelical Christians in the United States would say marriage must be restricted to one man and one woman. For evangelicals, the controversy is certainly not over. That is 15 to 30% of the U.S. population.
The main thing I want to emphasize in this discussion is this: The primary question in this controversy is what kind of intimate, cohabiting, potentially child bearing relationship does society want to encourage and reward and protect? Up to this point, American society has decided to encourage and promote marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, because it gives immeasurable benefits to a society that no other relationship can provide. This relationship is better for raising children, better for protection against domestic violence and abandonment, better for encouraging lifelong companionship and care, better for encouraging sexual faithfulness, and better in many other ways, that I explain in my book Politics—According to the Bible.
But homosexual relationships do not give these benefits. Male homosexuals experience a 25 to 30-year decrease in life expectancy and much higher incidence of many chronic diseases.
Sexual faithfulness is far different among married heterosexuals: 90 percent of heterosexual women and over 75 percent of heterosexual men have never engaged in extramarital sex. But among male homosexuals, the rate of sexual faithfulness is around 2 percent, even when “faithfulness” is generously defined as ten or fewer lifetime partners. Such statistics are seldom reported in the mainstream media. The question is, is this the kind of relationship we as a society want to encourage, reward, and promote by giving it the status of “marriage” and all the societal encouragement and endorsement that that status carries?
I don’t think any society today should criminalize homosexual conduct (as some legislators in Uganda are now attempting to do), any more than I think society should criminalize adultery or fornication, because these are private acts between individuals that government should not intrude into. But I also don’t think society should encourage and promote such relationships by calling them “marriage” and giving them all the benefits that go with marriage. And so the issue is not whether homosexual couples can get married, but rather, do we as a society wish to redefine marriage in its entirety so that it is no longer a relationship between one man and one woman? The homosexual agenda is attempting to redefine what marriage is, and I think that would be a terrible mistake for our society.
2. Senior Rabbi Stephen Pearce is spiritual leader of Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco, California. He says about homosexuals: “These are people who seek and receive the blessing of the community, the force of the tradition, and they are embraced by the community. It is difficult to envision a God who condemns same sex relationships as sinful.” “… Is God a just God, or does God want people to be punished because it is an orientation that is God given.” “…The prophetic tradition is one that teaches God wants justice and that we certainly honor the prophetic position when we speak out. So when we exclude someone from having the happiness of a sanctified relationship, we deny the God of justice.” “Justice, Justice shall you pursue,” is found in Deuteronomy 16:20.” Dr. Grudem, will you respond one by one, if possible, to the Rabbi’s remarks (statements in quotes)? I know you speak as a Christian, and I am not asking that you enter into a dialogue or debate with the Rabbi. I ask that you take his as contemporary and widely held values and attitudes by religious institutions and clergy in our United States who support and practice the matter of these questions by performing Same Sex Blessings and Gay Marriage.
The question is who gets to define “justice.” I think the Bible is the only reliable source of information how God himself defines justice. I understand justice to mean fairness in upholding conformity to God’s moral standards in the Bible. Where Rabbi Pearce says it is “difficult to envision a God who condemns same sex relationships as sinful,” I wonder if he has read Genesis 19 where it says that God brought judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. It portrays the city as filled with homosexual activity, and then it says that God caused sulpher and fire to rain down from heaven and destroy the city. It is a pretty frightening and sobering story.
Rabbi Pearce says one more thing that I would disagree with. He says that homosexual orientation is an orientation that is God-given. My response is that James 1:13-14 in the New Testament says this, Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. ESV).(The Bible I am using here is the English Standard Version, and I am one of the translators.) But his [Rabbi Pearce, Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco] position is not surprising for clergy who do not accept the absolute authority of the Bible’s moral standards as applicable for today.
3. Why should a nation have only one definition of marriage? Why can’t different people just make up their own definitions as they please?
Every society needs to have public knowledge of who is married and who is not. There are many reasons: The society needs to know who is responsible for the care of children and who is responsible for the care of spouses with medical or financial needs. The society also needs to provide legal protection to keep women from being exploited by men who might abandon them or any children they may have borne.
In the debate about marriage, the importance of caring for and protecting children cannot be overstated. Children can’t care for themselves. Or educate themselves. Or train themselves for moral values. So every society needs to have agreed-upon standards for these responsibilities, or women and children especially will suffer immense destructive consequences and the society will begin to disintegrate.
The United Sates decided in the Mormon Polygamy Controversy that we could not allow two standards of marriage to exist in the nation. Utah territory, which was dominated by Mormons, applied for Statehood seven times beginning in 1849, but Congress did not permit it to become a State until 1896, after Utah inserted a ban on polygamy into its Constitution. So Congress imposed a kind of national standard for marriage – it excluded polygamy. (From Dr. Grudem’s book Politics—According to the Bible, p. 223).
4. One clergy member told me this definition of community: “Community is a group of connected individuals who believe in a vision of social justice and connecting with a higher source to make the world a better place.” It was his belief that community supported Gay Marriage and Same Sex Blessings, giving the authority necessary of that religious community to do these things. Will you give us your definition of community in the Christian and Church sense? Will you also tell us where on the Evangelical spectrum as a Christian you stand in the political direction in general? That is, are you Conservative, Moderate, Liberal, or Progressive? What does this mean to you? I know, these are hard questions but please with the short time we have together, do as best you can. If we must talk again by phone to fill in gaps later, this writer is happy to do that to help in this interview.
Individual communities don’t have the right to define marriage for themselves. The civil government has reserved for itself the right to define what marriage is. In Colorado and Arizona, we’ve had this Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. It’s a splinter group from mainstream Mormonism, and it practices polygamy. They wanted to define marriage for themselves. But the leaders had multiple underage wives contrary to the laws of the United States, and some have been arrested for sexual conduct with minors. The civil government has to define marriage for the society, and not leave it up to all sorts of different communities to decide for themselves. What would we say if a new community formed that wanted to count incest as marriage? Or to allow marriage to 12-year-olds? This would just bring hopeless confusion and harm to society.
As for my book Politics – According to the Bible, it largely advocates political positions that are largely conservative ones. But I advocate them because I think they flow from the teachings of the Bible and a Biblical worldview, as I explain in chapters 3 and 4.
If there is a key Bible vision that commands the issues of Gay Marriage & Same Sex Blessing, please give Biblical example and explain something of your vision on interpretation? Or if there is not, in both New and Old Testament, do the same. Who else shares this sensibility and understanding we might know or recognize? Will you speak to the subject of your book, Politics–According to the Bible byWayne Grudem (Zondervan, 2010), 624 pages, in relation to the issue and public controversy, as well as Christian Church controversy on Gay Marriage on how Politics is influenced by the Bible? (Reverend Doctor Wayne Grudem of Phoenix Seminary, Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary. Dr. Wayne Grudem holds degrees from Harvard (BA), Westminster Seminary (MDiv), and Cambridge (PhD). He is the author of over fifteen books including the bestselling Systematic Theology.)
The Bible’s pattern for marriage is established in Genesis 1 and 2 where God creates Adam and Eve and refers to them as a man and “his wife.” The pattern is between one man and one woman. Such marriage is protected in the Ten Commandments where it says, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).
The Bible prohibits conduct such as incest and adultery, and it also prohibits homosexual conduct (see Romans 1:26-27; 1st Corinthians 6:9-11; 1st Timothy 1:9-10; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Jude 7).
Virtually all Evangelical pastors and Bible teachers, as well as most conservative Roman Catholics, share this sensibility and understanding: There was a public statement that Evangelical and Roman Catholic teachers and leaders signed November 20, 2009 to affirm this view. It was called the Manhattan Declaration and the leaders of it were Charles Colson, Robert George, and Timoth George. Other prominent signers included James Dobson, Al Mohler, Chuck Swindoll, and Tony Perkins. (I was also one of the early signers.)
I also mentioned the amicus brief filed by officers and former presidents of the Evangelical Theological Society in February 2010. It affirms that if someone believes that the Bible is “the inspired word of God,” and uses established standards of interpretation (“grammatical-historical exegesis,” p. 18), then it becomes a core religious belief of Christians to uphold a moral standard that prohibits “fornication, adultery, and homosexual conduct.” (p. 10). That amicus brief argued that in attempting to force the Christian Legal Society to change these standards for voting membership and leadership, the Hastings College of Law was “attempting to compel CLS to recant, and betray its deepest core beliefs.” ( p. 18). The case was Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. (The CLS lost 5-4, unfortunately, on a narrowly-defined ruling based on an understanding of the standards for recognized student groups at the Hastings College of Law in San Francisco.)
I think these statements are as close as you can come to saying that a statement represents the mainstream consensus of the academic and pastoral leadership of the evangelical world, because of all the signers.
5. What book do you recommend readers read that leads to an understanding of your stance and your statements regarding Gay Marriage & Same Sex Blessing?
There are many resources noted in Chapter 7 of my book, Politics—According to the Bible. In addition, the first book I would mention is by a psychiatrist, Jeffrey Satinover, called Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth. He has lectured at Yale and Harvard and graduated from MIT, Harvard, and the University of Texas. Another important book is by Alan Sears and Craig Osten, The Homosexual Agenda.
6. Have you performed a Same Sex Blessing, and if so, will you tell us some of the words you used? Where did you do this? Have you turned any request down for performing a Same Sex Blessing or Gay Marriage, Reverend Doctor?
No, and no.
7. I suppose we’ve covered the subject, but to rephrase the previous question as I think it important to our topic, what does Church mean to you as Bible professor? What is your vision, as one might say?
The Church is the community of all people redeemed by Jesus Christ and forgiven of their sins.
8. This posting from Facebook opened these questions up to some people that this writer knows, and I wrote on my Facebook page: “I am trying to think of questions for Reverend Doctor Wayne Grudem (Ordained in the Baptist Church). Here is a possible question: “Faith and belief in Jesus Christ is thought of as freedom in life. Is a Christian Church’s acceptance of the practice of offering Gay Marriage a form of Christian freedom expressed by the Church?” That’s the first part of this question as we come towards the end of this interview. This is the response: Gay marriage should be a “right”! Not “offered” by anyone! This writer said on the Facebook page: “That’s a question worth thinking about: Is marriage a right? Does that mean like driving a car, or voting, or taking Eucharist, or joining a Church. Or just the pursuit of happiness as a Constitutional ‘right.'” The answer to the first question is asked, and as a response to the two parts of the Facebook posting, please comment on not only is Gay Marriage and Same Sex Blessings a right for them in the Christian faith and in the Christian Church, but is it required to be done because not to do so makes them unhappy. Do Gay and Lesbians have a right in the Christian life and Christian Church to happiness, or at least its pursuit?
The basic question is whether moral standards come from individual hearts or from a divine source outside of us, that is, from God. That question explains the deepest political differences in our society over social issues today. Do moral standards come from our internal feelings, or is there an external standard of right and wrong, of what constitutes true virtue or morality?
As for happiness, I believe that true happiness only comes from following God’s moral standards that he has given in the Bible. After all, he is the Creator! Regarding freedom, I believe that the only true freedom is freedom from sin.
The Facebook statement that marriage should be a “right” and not “offered” by anyone assumes that the entire historical agreement of all the nations in the world has been wrong, because all nations have decided that the civil government must regulate the standards for marriage. When someone advocates a position that goes contrary to what all societies have done in all of recorded history, it does not inspire confidence in the legitimacy of that position.
9. This posting by Facebook, part of a discussion, came up with an interesting question. Let me frame it here with some of the Facebook dialogue: I would draw the question somewhat differently. I don’t think at the end of the day that the Church offers marriage to anyone. Marriage is the purview of the couple — they offer it to one another. The State can confer legal benefits and responsibilities. The Church, for its part, can confer blessing and support… (a) Reverend Doctor, I ask: Do you think marriage is conferred and the Church merely sanctifies it with blessing and support? Discussion comment: I don’t know precisely how evangelicals in general or any one particular church would view my approach. What I do know is that sacramental language is likely off the table, and probably appeals to scriptural language around marriage… would be a place to hold the conversation. Would still be interested to know however, how that biblical basis informs their understanding of the Church’s role in marriage. I speculate it would be a teaching and supportive role, not necessarily in contradiction to my take above, but there may be a bigger piece missing in my take of which I am ignorant… (b) Reverend Doctor, this writer asks: Will you comment on how the Biblical basis of marriage informs the Church’s role in marriage.
I think the State delegates to the Church or to clergy the authority to perform marriage ceremonies, just as it delegates that same authority to Justices of the Peace. It is not up to a Justice of the Peace to make up his own standards for marriage, but he must follow the standards of the State. And the Church must do this as well.
When I perform a marriage ceremony, I pronounce a couple to be husband wife on the basis of the authority given to me by the State of Arizona as a minister of the Gospel. I have no right to make up my own definition of marriage contrary to the laws of the state.
But let me return to the main question that I stated at the beginning: The question is what kind of intimate, cohabiting, potentially childbearing relationships the society wants to encourage and reward and protect? Up to this point, and I hope forever in the future, American society has decided to encourage marriage as only between one man and one woman because this relationship alone gives immeasurable benefits to a society that no other relationship can provide.
LONGER EXCERPT FROM HIS RECENT BOOK
Does the Bible indicate what marriage should be?
Not surprisingly, the Bible contains clear and explicit teachings about marriage. Many of these teachings are relevant to our consideration of governmental laws and policies about marriage.
1. God created marriage at the beginning of the human race as a lifelong union between one man and one woman
In the first chapters of the Bible we read that God created Adam and Eve and told them that together they should bear children:
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it …” (Gen. 1:27–28).
But were Adam and Eve actually a married couple? Yes, because the next chapter calls them “the man and his wife” (Gen.2:25).
The Bible actually views the relationship between Adam and Eve as the pattern for all marriages to follow on the earth. This is clear from the more detailed description of their creation that comes in chapter 2 . . . . [which] uses this union between Adam and Eve as the pattern for marriages generally, for it says,
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (v. 24).
The phrase “a man shall leave his father and his mother” pictures a situation in which the man departs from the household of which he was a part, and it implies that a new household is being established. The phrase “hold fast to his wife” indicates that this new relationship, between a man and his wife, is the basis of the new household that is established. Therefore marriage, in general, is defined here as a union between “a man” and “his wife.”
This is also Jesus’ understanding of Genesis 1–2 when responding to a question from the Pharisees about divorce:
Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt. 19:3–6).
Jesus understands that the essence of marriage was established when God “created them from the beginning” and “made them male and female” and also said that “a man shall … hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (vv. 4–5). He also affirms that marriage is, therefore, an institution God creates between a man and a woman because he calls marriage a relationship between two people whom “God has joined together” (v. 6) . . . .
In addition, it is clear that sexual faithfulness to one’s partner is an essential component of marriage, for adultery is regularly viewed as a sin. In fact, the command “You shall not commit adultery” (Exod. 20:14) is one of the Ten Commandments, and it is reaffirmed several times in the New Testament (see Matt. 19:18; Rom. 2:22; 13:9; James 2:11).
2. God’s definition of marriage was not for the Jewish people only, but was intended to apply to all people in all societies for all time
This establishment of marriage is not like a number of laws in the Old Testament that were intended only for the Jewish people and only for a particular time in their history, such as the laws about the sacrifices of animals and clean and unclean foods. All of those laws came after the Exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt (see Exod. 1–15). These laws were given in Exodus 20–40 and in Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
But the basic material about marriage comes from the beginning of the human race, at the time when Adam and Eve were created. It comes even before there was any evil or sin in the world (which came in Genesis 3). That is why Jesus says that these truths about marriage come “from the beginning” (Matt. 19:4) and they belong to the essence of God’s creating us as “male and female.”
Therefore this understanding of marriage as the lifelong union between one man and one woman is intended by God to be understood as the correct definition of marriage for all people on the earth, for all cultures and societies, and for all periods of history until the beginning of the new heaven and new earth. (In Matthew 22:30 Jesus indicates that a significant change will occur after the final resurrection of believers: “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” )
Thus God can bring judgment, for example, on the gentile (non-Jewish) cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their widespread practice of homosexual conduct (see Gen. 19:1–28, especially 19:5; also Jude 7). He can bring judgment against Pharaoh, King of Egypt, if he commits adultery with someone else’s wife (see Gen. 12:17–20). The book of Proverbs, which contains much wisdom not merely for the people of Israel in the Old Testament but for the conduct of life generally, gives frequent warnings against adultery (see 2:16–19; 5:1–23; 6:20–35; 7:4–27; 23:27–28).
In the New Testament, John the Baptist rebuked Herod Antipas, an Idumean and not part of the people of Israel, for wrongfully committing incest by taking his brother’s wife (Mark 6:17–18). Paul can say that Gentiles, who do not have the Jewish laws, are still guilty of violating God’s moral standards regarding sexual conduct (see Rom. 1:26–27; 1 Cor. 5:9–10, 13; 6:9; cf. 1 Peter 4:3–5). The great city called “Babylon,” which is the center of earthly rebellion against God, is judged in the end of the book of Revelation for many sins, and among them is “sexual immorality” (Rev. 18:3, 9). And those outside the heavenly city in Revelation 21 include “the sexually immoral” (v. 8).
Therefore, from Genesis to Revelation—from the beginning of the Bible to the end—God has established moral standards regarding the nature and conduct of marriage, and he repeatedly indicates that he will hold all people on the earth accountable for disobedience to those standards.
Further evidence of this is seen in Leviticus 18, which states that the Canaanites were morally responsible before God for many kinds of sexual sin (specified in vv. 6–23): “For the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean” (v. 27). God held these Canaanites accountable for violating his standards regarding marriage, even though they did not have the written laws of Israel and were not part of the Jewish people. Yet they had God’s moral standards written on their hearts, and they had their own consciences that bore witness to those standards, and therefore God rightly held them accountable (see Rom. 2:14–15).
For Christians who are thinking about what kind of definition of marriage a civil government should adopt, these passages indicate that the definition of marriage as established by God in the Bible (a lifelong union between one man and one woman) should be the standard adopted by all governments. (This does not mean that all divorce should be prohibited: Because of the advent of sin in the world, later teaching in the Bible specified some conditions under which God allowed for divorce to break the lifelong commitment of marriage; see below.) And this legal standard for marriage should apply to all people, not merely to Christians or those who personally happen to agree with the Bible’s standards.
3. Marriage between a man and a woman is the most fundamental institution in any society
The establishment of marriage in Genesis 1–2 comes before the establishment of any other institution in human society. It comes immediately after the creation of man and woman.
It is significant that God establishes marriage before there is any establishment of cities, nations, courts of law, or any human laws. It certainly comes before any national government, state government, or city government. It comes before any establishment of schools and universities, or businesses and corporations, or churches and other nonprofit organizations. It comes before the establishment of any institution in any human society. And it is foundational to the establishment of any society.
Human societies have long recognized the need for some kind of normalization of a dependable, ongoing, faithful marriage relationship between men and women. So far as I know, every human nation on earth, every society of any size or permanence at all, has recognized and protected the institution of heterosexual marriage. (Though some have had polygamy as a recognized form of marriage, it is still heterosexual marriage.)
British anthropologist J. D. Unwin reached this conclusion after conducting exhaustive research to investigate the assertions made by Sigmund Freud. Unwin discovered that Freud’s call for the liberation of sexual behavior had grave consequences for society. In his research Unwin chronicled the historical decline of eighty-six different cultures and found that “strict marital monogamy” was central to social energy and growth. Indeed, no society flourished for more than three generations without it. Unwin wrote, “In human records there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on prenuptial and postnuptial continence” (by which he meant abstinence from sex outside of marriage). (Joseph Daniel Unwin, Sex and Culture (London: Oxford University Press, 1934); Sexual Regulations and Cultural Behavior (London: Oxford University Press, 1935); and Hopousia: Or the Sexual and Economic Foundations of a New Society (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1940), cited by Daniel R. Heimbach, “Deconstructing the Family,” The Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society, The Religion and Society Report 22:7 (Oct. /Nov. 2005). www.profam.org/pub/rs/rs_2207.htm#endfn57.)
[Adapted from Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible, p. 213-217]. 1700 words
SHORTER EXCERPT FROM HIS RECENT BOOK
Q: If Christians insist that marriage should be between one man and one woman, isn’t that an unconstitutional “establishment of religion” that is prohibited by the First Amendment?
A: No, it is not, because marriage is not a religion! When voters define marriage, they are not establishing a religion. In the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” the word “religion” refers to the church that people attend and support. “Religion” means being a Baptist or Catholic or Presbyterian or Jew. It does not mean being married. These arguments try to make the word “religion” in the Constitution mean something different from what it has always meant.
These arguments also make the logical mistake of failing to distinguish the reasons for a law from the content of the law. There were religious reasons behind many of our laws, but these laws do not “establish” a religion. All major religions have teachings against stealing, but laws against stealing do not “establish a religion.” All religions have laws against murder, but laws against murder do not “establish a religion.” The campaign to abolish slavery in the United States and England was led by many Christians, based on their religious convictions, but laws abolishing slavery do not “establish a religion.” The campaign to end racial discrimination and segregation was led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist pastor, who preached against racial injustice from the Bible. But laws against discrimination and segregation do not “establish a religion.”
If these “exclude religion” arguments succeed in court, they could soon be applied
against evangelicals and Catholics who make “religious” arguments against abortion. Majority votes to protect unborn children could then be invalidated by saying these voters are “establishing a religion.” And, by such reasoning, all the votes of religious citizens for almost any issue could be found invalid by court decree! This would be the direct opposite of the kind of country the Founding Fathers established, and the direct opposite of what they meant by “free exercise” of religion in the First Amendment.
[Adapted from Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible, p. 31]. 350 words.
Interview by Adrian Warnock, reproduced by permission and from his web page: http://adrianwarnock.com/2006/12/interview-dr-wayne-grudem-highlights-and-reflections/
“We moved to Phoenix Seminary in Arizona in 2001, primarily because of Margaret’s health. She had been experiencing chronic pain after an auto accident a number of years earlier, and we found that the pain was aggravated by cold and humidity. Well, the Chicago area is cold in the winter and humid in the summer! After a couple of trips to Arizona, which is hot and dry, we realized that Margaret felt much better there. So I phoned the academic dean at Phoenix Seminary and asked if there might possibly be a job opportunity there for me. It is a long and wonderful story of the Lord’s guidance and provision, but the result is that we have been here since June of 2001, Margaret has felt much better, and I also love the seminary where I am now teaching. So we are thankful for God’s blessings in many ways. I am thankful to the Lord that when we were making a decision about whether to move to Phoenix, on the very day we were talking and praying about it, I came to Ephesians 5:28 in my regular schedule of daily Bible reading, and the Lord used this verse strongly in my own decision process: “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” After reading that, I thought it was important for me to move for the sake of Margaret’s physical body, her physical health.
Part 2 – Systematic Theology and Controversy
Dr. Grudem’s answer to my question about his book, Systematic Theology, further demonstrated his humility, but in other ways was also quite revealing. A big difference between men like Grudem and certain other theologians is that he believes it is his task to make complex theological truths understandable by ordinary “lay” people without theological degrees – people like me. I cannot agree more, as quite frankly, if a theologian cannot write about his ideas and the evidence he bases them on in a way that a person of reasonable education can understand, then there is something very wrong. I thank God for men like Grudem who can do just that.
“I am surprised and thankful to God for the way the book seems to continue to be a blessing to people – and not just to pastors and seminary students, but lots of other Christians from all walks of life. As you know, I believe that God intended His Word to be understood, not just by specialists, but also by ordinary Christians. The “blessed man” in Psalm 1 is held up as an example for all of us: “His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)”