How Shall We Respond to Same-Sex Marriages

Listen to a recording of this class: 

Download the notes: 07232014HowShallWeRespondToSameSexMarriagesDonRuhl

How Shall We Respond to Same-Sex Marriages? 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • July 23, In the year of our Lord, 2014


  1. Recent article in The Daily Courier July 6, pages 1 and 7 
  2. The elders asked me what I shall do if a same-sex couple approaches me to do a wedding. 
  3. Others have asked me the same question. 
  4. I have also imagined what I would do if that happens. 


  1. Should the world change the church or should the church change the world? 
    1. What do you think of this statement?

      “As the world changes, the church not only must change, but part of our call is to lead the change if the change is toward greater tolerance and greater understanding” (Richard Füss of Newman United Methodist Church).

    2. Are there ways in which we change with the world?
      1. What did Paul say in First Corinthians 9?

        19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you (1Co 9.19–23).
      2. Where does same-sex marriage fall?
        1. Is it a non-moral, non-scriptural matter on which God has not spoken?
        2. Does it fall under the category of becoming all things to all men?
      3. Same-sex marriage is a moral matter and the Holy Spirit addressed homosexuality in the Scriptures.
        1. If He wanted to show same-sex marriages, He could have.
        2. However, He did not, and never says anything good about it.
    3. We have to remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5,

      13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt 5.13–16).

      1. What does this passage teach?
      2. It teaches that we change the culture, not that the culture changes us.
  2. What I shall do if approached to do a wedding? 
    1. I shall handle it the same way I do a heterosexual wedding.
    2. I ask two questions:
      1. When is your wedding?
      2. Have either one of you ever been married before?
        1. If either one has, I read Matthew 19.3–9 to them,

          3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 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’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” 8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matt 19.3–9).
        2. As I read the text, I provide as little commentary as possible
          1. so that the words of Jesus stand alone or apart from
          2. my interpretation as possible, but
            1. I know that people from the world
            2. often need background information, and so I give that.
        3. I affirm that I believe what Jesus taught.
          1. I then ask the couple whether they believe
          2. I can perform their wedding with a good conscience.
            1. They will tell me one way or the other whether I can.
            2. Some have become angry because I will not do their wedding.
              1. Yet, I never tell them that their marriage
              2. is unscriptural or anything of that nature.
    3. What does this passage teach in regard to for whom is marriage?
      1. Therefore, if the couple is of the same sex,
      2. I will still read this passage, and
        1. ask the same question.
        2. I will make sure that they understand what Jesus said
          1. about the beginning when God created man and woman.
          2. I will tell them that I believe this passage.
            1. I will ask them whether they think
            2. that I can officiate their wedding with a good conscience.
    4. It is certainly possible that they will press the issue, because
      1. they will want to make a case of it, and
      2. if that happens, I will just say that I cannot officiate at their wedding.
        1. If they want to sue me,
        2. I will let them do it.
          1. I am not frighten or nervous about it.
          2. I had one person asking me and they were greatly concerned.
        3. I will not fight them, or try to persuade them not to do it.
          1. I have no intention of compromising.
          2. I will show them what the Bible says about being saved.
  3. How shall you respond? 
    1. Not what the government should or should not do.
    2. Not what the church should or should not do.
    3. I want to know how you should respond.
    4. Why do we treat this differently?
      1. Granted they often want special treatment, but
      2. we should teach them the way of salvation
        1. in the same manner as we would anyone else.
        2. Why do we have to target their sin.
          1. There might be times when that is appropriate,
          2. such as Peter on the Day of Pentecost, but
            1. most of the time, that will not be necessary, but
            2. we will want to do as Philip did with the Ethiopian Treasurer.