Saturday, April 25, 2015

Should a Christian Bake a Cake for a Gay Wedding?

The unbelievable recent events where bakery owners and florists are sued, harassed, and persecuted because they refuse to serve gay weddings has caused many people to ask new questions.  In addition to the issue of the government wrongly violating religious freedoms, folks are asking, "So should a Christian bake a cake for a gay wedding?"

This question and ones like it fall in the area of “disputable matters” for believers.  They involve issues about which the Bible does not specifically speak.

Paul had a lot to say about such matters in Romans 14.  Then the issue was, “Should a Christian eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols?”  Animals were sacrificed to many false gods in Paul’s day.  Leftover meat was often sold in the local market.  Some Christians objected to purchasing such meat, fearing the meat was “demonized” and cursed.  Other Christians saw no harm and said, “It is only meat.” 

Debates and opinions raged, dividing believers.  Paul explains that in areas of preferences and personal convictions, we need not to impose ours on each other.  However, in matters of revealed truth, we must submit to God’s Word.   

The matter of the definition of marriage is one of revealed truth.  The Bible teaches - all the way back to its first chapter - that marriage is between one man and one woman.  Whether a Christian baker bakes a cake for a gay wedding, on the other hand, is one of personal conviction.  Some Christians will see it as a way to show love and perhaps gain an opportunity to share Christ.  Others will say, “No way, I can’t do that.  Allowing my art to be used for a gay religious wedding violates my conscience because of my religious beliefs. ” 

For me, I believe I would bake the cake, try to show love and ask God for an opportunity to talk to the people about Christ.  But, I also respect my brother's right to have his convictions and not bake a cake.  And I will speak up and fight for his (or a Jew, Muslim, Mormon, or Jehovah's Witness) right to stick to his convictions when it comes to baking a cake or selling one.  I'm a grown-up, and if they deny me based on their convictions, I can deal with it without suing them.

Speaking to Christians about baking cakes, Paul would say – “Don’t tell your brother what conviction to have there.  Don't look down on them if they bake the cake or if they don't.  Practice your conviction unto the Lord, and love your brother for whom Christ died.” 

Speaking to the person who says that a man marrying a man or a woman marrying a woman is an acceptable form of marriage, I believe Paul would say, "You are wrong, and you are loved."

Jonathan Parnell says it so well:

"The current debate is plagued by this binary lens. Those on the left try to lump everyone who disagrees with them into that right side.
If you don’t support, you hate.

Meanwhile, those on the right see compromise and spinelessness in anyone who doesn’t get red-faced and militant.
If you don’t hate, you support.

But true followers of Christ will walk neither path. We have something to say that no one else is saying, or can say. . . .  You are wrong, and you are loved."

This weekend I've been reading Mike Huckabee's excellent book God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy.  In his chapter on the definition of marriage, he writes, "I believe we live in a God-centered world and that all the definitions of success, fulfillment morality, value, family, and life are His to give and ours to follow.  They provide a roadmap for us.  They also are immutable, meaning unchangeable."

Ain't it the truth, Mike? 

Huckabee writes that if a member of a mostly gay church owned a T-shirt shop and someone came in to buy a custom T-shirt that said “Pray the Gay Away,” would the shop owner be taken to court for advising the customer that he should try another T-shirt shop?  I'll add to that illustration.  What if our local Baptist Association had a "Stand for Marriage Day" and wanted 1000 t-shirts made with the phrase "Marriage is Between One Man and One Woman?" 

Should the courts force a gay business owner to print such a shirt?  And would the gay community say, “Oh yeah, we’re fine with it.  He should have to make that shirt so that he is not a bigot?”  Of course not.  They should not be made to - any more than I should be made to perform a gay wedding or else be severely fined by the government.  I offer services to marry people.  But I can’t, according to my biblical, religoius conviction, offer those services for same-sex unions.  I could have them over to my house for supper, go to a ballgame with them, invite them to attend our church, build a relationship with them, love and care for them, but I could not perform a marriage ceremony for them.

These days we are wise to remember that there is no truth without love, and there is no love without truth.

But today, some courts wrongly believe it is their business - not the individual's - to dictate to bakers when and for what reason to bake cakes. 

Click here to see an excellent video interviewing some of these bakers and florists.

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