VICTOR SUNGSHU LAN: Churches, sex and marriage
Recently my church of 35 years, Graystone Presbyterian Church, painfully voted to separate from the Presbyterian Church USA. The vote to separate has a complicated foundation with multiple reasons; however, marriage, sex and homosexuality were certainly at the forefront of the controversy.
Sex is a trap of nature to ensure the best chance of survival for the species. In many species, sex means the demise of the parents for their offspring.
Marriage is a legal definition based on existing social values, not a religious one. The Bible confirms the notion of the importance of procreation through sex (Genesis 1:28). In the Old Testament, survival of a nation was a priority. Marriage was simply pronounced by a virgin’s father (translation from Betulah, in Hebrew). A barren womb was condemned (Proverbs 30:16), and polygamy was encouraged.
Jehovah told Abraham, “I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore (Genesis 22:17-18).”
In the New Testament, the Roman Empire was in a state of moral decay. This was the reason St. Paul emphasized new moral orders; faith, hope and love became a foundation for marriage. Biblically, marriage was normally between a man and a virgin or widow.
Homosexuality is simply in a minority of human behavior. If there are no victims, who is to judge? As such, homosexuals may not be comfortable becoming priests, or marrying in a church depending on the individual church’s views. They usually do not flaunt their lifestyle publicly within conservative societies. Pope Francis said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Same with the rest of us!
This is a sensitive and complicated topic worthy of logical discussion rather than emotional attack. Life is filled with pain and suffering, with a world population that has jumped from 1 billion to 7 billion. The people of the world are begging for comfort and for a more peaceful life.
With God’s given knowledge to us, it is urgent to re-prioritize and remember our most important missions: to love God and to show God’s love to save the poor, the deprived and the environment. God bless!
Victor Sungshu Lan