4 bad arguments for Traditional Marriage…and 1 good one!

The current Marriage debate has many people worrying about the institution’s survival. In Canada and the US, the battle has been fought, and seemingly lost. Now it moves to Australia, where a plebiscite – non-binding, but it has everyone talking – is happening in September.

But what should be more worrying is how many Christians have not used this battle to give glory to God where and when we could. Instead of relying on Him and His unshakeable Word, too many Christians have decided to rely on secular reasoning.

Oh, we might have signed petitions, and cast our ballot, and even encouraged others to vote the proper way, but in all that, many Christians have done so without battling as Christians. Too often we’ve relied on “neutral” non-religious arguments.

And the problem with neutral arguments is that they have no foundation – they don’t hold up under scrutiny.

4 bad arguments

So, for example, you may have heard it argued (and perhaps you’ve used this yourself):

Traditional Marriage is, well, traditional – it’s been this way for thousands of years, so why change it now?

The problem is, slavery was also in vogue for millennia too. Does that mean it was right? Of course not. So tradition for tradition’s sake isn’t much of an argument.

“Gay marriage” will undermine Traditional Marriage.

This argument may well be legitimate, but the next time a divorced politician brings up this point he should be arrested by the hypocrisy police. Will “same-sex marriage” ever undermine the institution as much as no-fault divorce already has?

Gay marriage is not natural.

There is a sense in which this is most certainly true. In gay marriage the parts do not fit or function as they should. We are not designed for this sort of thing.

And yet, they said that about human flight too – “unnatural” is hardly the same thing as “bad.” And besides, if we look to Nature, homosexuality is found among many animal species – it is “natural.” Christians should know better than to base any arguments for morality on what we see happening in our sin-stained world. We know that since the Fall, it is now in Man’s nature to sin – sin is natural. After the Fall, Nature was also stained and twisted, so we shouldn’t be surprised to find that brokenness evident there too.

Most Australians are against changing Marriage.

We’ll see once the results are in. But even if the vote goes our way, we know better than to believe that just because most people think a certain way that way is right. As our mothers used to say, “If all the other boys jumped off a bridge, would you too?” Instead of focusing on what’s popular, we should try and figure out what’s right.

1 good one

There is really only one good argument for Traditional Marriage: God created this institution so He gets to decide what it is, and isn’t.

That argument may not be very appealing to atheists and agnostics. But the alternative is probably even more unappealing because the truth is if you reject God’s standard for Marriage you’re left with no standard at all.

Only one standard

Some find God’s definition of Marriage too intolerant, so they want to replace it with something a little less discriminatory.

So, for example, you’ve likely heard it mentioned that there was a time not so long ago when it was perfectly acceptable that women could not vote. In other words, since it was wrong to discriminate against women back then it must therefore be wrong to discriminate against gays when it comes to Marriage.

But where does this new standard – that discrimination is always wrong – take us? Yes, gays will be allowed to “marry” but this new standard justifies much more. After all, if two men can marry, why not three?

What about the bisexual? We discriminate against her, on the basis of her sexual orientation, when we require her to marry only one gender or the other. How can she live a fulfilled life in such a restricted setting?

And what of homosexual couples who want to have children? These couples, by necessity, require a third individual to propagate. For example, it’s been more than ten years now since a New York lesbian, Beth Niernberg, decided to live with two gay men who have both fathered a son by her. The three co-parented the boys.

We’ve entered the realm of polygamy and really, it only makes sense. If you reject God’s limits to Marriage then there’s really no reason to have limits at all. After all, if two men can marry, why not three?

Or why not one? In the Netherlands Jennifer Hoes was one of the first to end her wait for the perfect man or woman and instead “marry” herself. There is even a name for this: sologamy.

And in France, the government decided that they would grant marital benefits to two heterosexual men who “marry.” After all, it really isn’t fair to discriminate against them just because they aren’t having sex.

If God’s standard for Marriage is rejected then absolutely anything is possible.

The way it was meant to be

The only anchor, the only firm foundation for Marriage is found in God’s design for the institution. His institution recognizes that men and women need each other, and that being male and female has real meaning beyond just our body parts. He knows that children need a mother and a father, parents who are committed to one another for life, so He hates divorce and adultery.

Over the past decades we’ve seen the damage that happens when we deviate from His standard. That’s where, if we speak as Christians, we can offer our nation a prophetic voice. We can tell them that in this direction lies only further lawlessness. But we can also tell them about the God who thought up marriage in the first place. We can tell them about how his love is evident in his commandments – He made us, so He knows what’s best for us – and that’s why we see children in stable loving families, with parents living out their marriages as God intended, do better than in any other setting. Then, in standing as Christians against “gay marriage” and for Traditional Marriage, we can point people to the God they need to know.

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  1. Luke Bester

    September 23, 2017 at 9:12 am

    I like this article & I like your website, but something that you don’t address, which I would appreciate if you could maybe share your opinion on by responding to my comment or perhaps via e-mail, Mr. Dykstra, is, the doctrine of separation of Church and State.

    Could you kindly offer your take on the following verses:

    – “My kingdom is not of this world” (Joh. 18:36)
    – “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mark 12:17 / Matt. 22:21)
    – “We know that we are from God, this world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 Joh. 5:19)
    – “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luk. 17:21)
    – “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another, as I have loved you” (Joh. 13:34) *one of my favourite hymns btw 🙂

    Were we to take these verses, along with the works of Tolstoy, Lewis & many others into consideration, should true Christians, who, above all else, cling to the gospel & the love of Christ for all mankind; so viciously be enforcing their beliefs off on others? I, like you, believe that God is the author of marriage, however, this world is filled with billions of people who do not share our faith and governments are inherently secularist institutions. History has shown us that, without exception, a government where a state religion and religious ideologies has always led to suppression, strive and bloodshed [even Calvin in Geneva].

    If we were brutally honest with each other, probably 90% of ‘christians’ who oppose gay marriage will fail the test of Matt. 7:15 – ‘you will know them by their fruits’. They seem to despise something like gay marriage yet cling dearly to so many other horrid sins that Christ would have opposed. But lets not focus on the ‘anti-gay movement’ at large. I would rather like your own opinion; I also ask that you ask yourself: How would Jesus want us to treat gay people?

    [Please also bear in mind that depression, anxiety and suicide is incredibly high in the gay community – and how you think Jesus feels about this]

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best Regards,

    • Reformed Perspective

      September 30, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      As you note, there is a difference between Church and State, and with those differences come different responsibilities. But as church members, and as citizens, we have a role in both. It’s important then, to realize even as the State should not seek to rule the Church, and the Church has its own focus – on preaching God’s Word, and not collecting taxes, or running jails, or paving streets – that there is still just one King over it all.

      When, for example, Christ said, “My kingdom is not of this world” He was speaking as to how his kingdom isn’t one of these temporary, land-based, earthly kingdoms, but is the rather the timeless, all-encompassing kingdom. Or, to put it another way, Christ doesn’t rule everything except the State. He rules everything…period.


      So even kings and rulers will be held accountable. And this is a Christian idea. You wrote:

      “History has shown us that, without exception, a government with a state religion and religious ideologies has always led to suppression, strife and bloodshed [even Calvin in Geneva].”

      I will say the opposite is true. It’s when we have government unpinned from Christian morality that we see destruction – think of the atheism of Communism, the racism of Nazis, or the North Korean dictator who styles himself a god. But when a ruler understands that he too, will be held accountable – that there is a law above him – freedom can exist.

      It is no coincidence that it is in the West that freedom has most flourished, and that is because of its Christian underpinnings. For example, equality has a Christian foundation and no other – we know that God made us all in his image, every one of us. There is no other way in which we are all the same, and outside of this no basis for equality (this is the great unasked question among secular human rights activists – why are we all equal, and where do human rights really come from?).

      Freedom of religion is also a Christian idea – we know that a man can not be coerced into believing. And we know that God hates hypocrisy. So we also know we can’t make someone Christian, and don’t want to force them to pretend to be Christian.

      Now, sometimes governments have, in the name of religion, caused bloodshed. But that is because they are lying as to their motivation, and not because God isn’t ruler also of the political sphere.


      So yes, Christ is king, and he appoints rulers. Some of them rule in submission, and some rule in rebellion, but all will be held accountable. For some, that accountability will come only in the hereafter. But in democracies, where citizens have been given a role in holding their governments accountable, some of that can come right now. And as citizens, we have a role in that. Citizens have a role in proposing their best ideas, and voting for the best people, and supporting and pushing for the best.

      And as Christians, we want to share what we know to be the best – that is, we want to share God’s thoughts on the issues, so much as we are able.


      Now, in your note, you used one particular word that leapt out at me – the word “viciously,” as in “should true Christians…so viciously be enforcing their beliefs on others?”

      There are two ways this word can be applied to Christians in politics.

      1) There are professing Christians who oppose homosexuality and gay marriage for unChristian reasons – they oppose them out of bigotry, and self-righteousness. These people may well not be Christians, or if they are, they are Christians who are unaware of the depths of their own sin and how they, like homosexuals, are so very much in need of a Savior. These folk may be verbally vicious in their opposition, and act out of loathing, not love.

      2) But there is another group of Christians who are also accused of being vicious, but who are anything but. This group recognizes their own need for a Savior, and also recognizes the destruction caused by sin. So they oppose homosexuality and gay marriage because they know this is only going to lead to harm – they speak out of love and concern. Oh, yes, there are many who say that their gay relationship is a source of happiness, but we are all so very good at fooling ourselves. Think of the many philosophies of the past that were said to lead to happiness, but only lead to destruction – the supposed perfection of communism, or the lure and false promises of pornography, or generation after generation seeks happiness in fame and yet no one seems to attain it. Christians believe God knows best. And God says that homosexuality is a road away from Him, and a road to destruction. So we don’t want the State encouraging this destruction. We also know that marriage is something invented by God, and that no matter what the State pretends it can do, redefining marriage isn’t one of them. This is like the State saying we all have to call circles “squares” – it can fine us, or society can shun us, for not going along, but the State, and society, can’t make circles square. They can only sow confusion. So this second group of Christians speak out of love – they love their homosexual neighbor and want the best for them – and speak in defense of the truth. But in doing so, no matter how compassionately, or calmly, or reasonably, they too, are accused of being vicious.

      So, if you have problems with the first group, I’m with you. But there is a second reason to oppose homosexuality that might be called vicious, but is anything but. It is folk who know that God’s way is best, and they want to share that with the world. Even though the world hates them for it.

      As to how Jesus would want us to treat gay people, he tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. That means treating people with dignity and respect. It also means sharing the truth with them. It doesn’t mean encouraging or endorsing behaviors or lifestyles that we know will, eventually or quickly, lead to their destruction.

      To put it another way, God shows his love, not just in sending his Son, but also in his laws. His commandments serve as guard rails. The enticement of adultery might seem to offer happiness (particularly if a marriage is in the midst of difficulties) but God’s command “Do not commit adultery” is there to warn us this is not the direction to go. This leads to misery. Instead I would need to fight for my marriage, win back the attentions of my wife, ask her forgiveness. And if I do as God commands, that will, often times, lead to happiness.

      What of the exceptions? What of people who do the opposite of what God commands and find happiness? Well, we know there is a short term sort of happiness that can be found here on Earth. Christians aren’t saying all unbelievers are walking around miserable all the time, but we know that the greater happiness can only be found in God.

      So you speak to depression, anxiety and suicide in the homosexual community. The presumption is that this is only due to bigotry. Christians know better. God has said that rebellion leads to destruction. So, yes, some of this misery might be caused by anti-homosexual bigotry – by people who are rebelling against God’s command to love our neighbor as ourself – but some of it is also caused by homosexuals embracing what God says to flee. And all of it is cause by rebellion.

      So, overall, there is a pressing need for Christians to be clearer about our motivations. The problem is, in a political campaign where everything is reduced to bumperstickers and 10 second sound clips, its hard to find the space to say all that I lay out in this response. The short form – “We oppose gay marriage, because we love you” just won’t make sense to most.

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