Consensus Does Not Determine Morality

Consensus Does Not Determine MoralityLegalization of same-sex marriage is now supported by most religious groups according to a study released on May 1st by the Public Religion Research Institute. The survey was based on more than 40,000 responses collected during 2017. It found that 61% of Americans now support same-sex marriage. Only 31% oppose it.

The support is the strongest among politically liberal groups such as Jews (77%) and Unitarians (97%). Those identified as unaffiliated approved at 80%. Jana Reiss, reporting for the Religious News Service writes, “What is more surprising is how quickly support for same-sex marriage has grown among religious groups that are more politically diverse. Two-thirds of Catholics, Orthodox Christians and white mainline Protestants now say they are in favor.”

“Majorities of Americans in most states support same-sex marriage,” observed Reiss, “with the exceptions all located in the South. Even in the handful of states that do not have more than 50 percent support for same-sex marriage, they also don’t have 50 percent opposition; Alabama is now the only state where a majority of residents say they oppose same-sex marriage.”

I do wonder about the accuracy of the survey. But regardless, I know this. Morality is not determined by consensus. For those who truly respect the Bible, we know that the majority can be and often is wrong.

Just ask those in Noah’s day when “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” who were drowned in the flood. Only a few, 8 souls, were saved from God’s wrath. (Gen 6; 1 Pet 3:20).

Just ask those who dwelt in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah where 10 righteous souls could not be found and suffered destruction as God rained down fire and brimstone on those ungodly and immoral people. (Gen 18:20-19:29)

Just ask the Israelites who died in the wilderness who rejected God’s Word, rebelled against Him and eventually turned to idolatrous and immoral practices. Of the 600,350 men of war who stood on the brink of the promised land, only Caleb and Joshua were allowed to enter in.    (Num 1:46; 14:26-38.

People forget that God has revealed His standard of morality and regulations regarding marriage in the Bible. While laws may be enacted by governments giving people the right to engage in immoral practices, no human legislature can nullify what God has authorized.

Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt 19:4-6).

The apostle Paul admonished Christians to “flee sexual immorality” (1 Cor 6:18). Furthermore, he warned “Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 6:9-10).

Regarding homosexual behavior, the apostle denounced it with graphic language in Romans 1:18-28 as “degrading passions.” “Unnatural.” “Indecent acts.” By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he said that those who engage in such a lifestyle have a “depraved mind” and “dishonor their bodies.”

Approval by religious organizations and their members does not change God’s Word or sanctify sinful behavior. Author Jerry Bridges was right when he wrote in The Discipline of Grace “if we are going to make progress in the pursuit of holiness, we must aim to live according to the precepts of Scripture–not according to the culture, even the Christian culture, around us.”

Be advised that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”   (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

When it comes to moral choices may our beliefs and convictions be rooted in Scripture, not culture or popular consensus.

Ken Weliever,