A Common Sense Explanation of Why “Marriage Equality” Is a Misused Term

This video clip (3:30) is a “highlight reel” of a talk titled “What Is Marriage?” (55:57), followed by a Q&A session (36:11), in which 32-year-old PhD candidate (Notre Dame) Ryan T. Anderson explains in common-sense terms why “marriage equality” is a term devoid of any meaning if there’s no agreed-upon definition of what marriage is.  He goes on to give a cogent definition of marriage.

Ryan’s presentation is based entirely on logic and social science research results.  He does not based his argument on the Bible or on morality or on tradition.  Of course, most supporters of “marriage equality” reject the Bible and tradition as authoritative, and they view morality as individually determined and therefore lacking authority as well.  Alas, it’s apparent from the Q&A session that some of them don’t even consider logic as authoritative.  Nonetheless, Anderson’s argument is one that reasonable people – whether Christians or not – should be able to understand and accept.

Anderson, along with Rhodes scholar Sherif Girgis and Princeton professor Robert P. George, co-authored the book What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense.  The heart of the book originally appeared as an essay in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, where it garnered signficant attention.  Here is an excerpt of the Amazon description of the book:

Most compellingly, they show that those who embrace same-sex civil marriage leave no firm ground–none–for not recognizing every relationship describable in polite English, including polyamorous sexual unions, and that enshrining their view would further erode the norms of marriage, and hence the common good.

Finally, What Is Marriage? decisively answers common objections: that the historic view is rooted in bigotry, like laws forbidding interracial marriage; that it is callous to people’s needs; that it can’t show the harm of recognizing same-sex couplings, or the point of recognizing infertile ones; and that it treats a mere “social construct” as if it were natural, or an unreasoned religious view as if it were rational.

Anderson’s talk is an encapsulation of the book’s argument.

You and I can take God’s word for the definition and purpose and marriage, but you have neighbors who don’t accept the Bible and don’t want to hear about it.  For them, the logic of this presentation will help them strengthen their intuitions or even come to their senses.  It’s essentially a secular argument against redefining marriage.

If this short clip interests you, follow the link below it to the full talk, and to the Q&A that followed it.

Ryan T. Anderson on Marriage at Stanford University | Denny Burk.

Daily Miscellany for July 30, 2014

We’ve all seen surveys which tell of declining church attendance.  There are actually two very different kinds of people leaving the institutional church: those who do so following the broad way that leads to destruction (that is, matriculating back into worldly associations) and those who do so to seek the narrow way of following Christ Himself (that is, those who at significant cost to themselves are seeking to be faithful members of the true church of Jesus Christ).  None of the surveys I’ve seen on the subject of church attendance seem to capture – or even be aware of – this crucial distinction.


 If you’re looking for fresh direction from God, start with what you know He’s already said to you.  “Out of the old comes something new; and out of both come all things true.”


Will proponents of “marriage equality” insist that “same-sex marriage spouses” have full and unrestricted access to all the free contraceptives prescribed by the Affordable Care Act?


The church is who we are, not where we go.


We live in a world that is hostile to faith.  Therefore, if you do nothing to keep your faith strong, it will not remain strong.


Eric Metaxas and Al Mohler Shame Evangelicals for Being Soft on Divorce

In this short essay (available also in audio), Eric Metaxas, with the prompting of Al Mohler,  unequivocally condemns divorce and chastises fellow evangelicals for being slow to do the same.

One of the reasons that evangelical resistance to “same-sex marriage” has been so ineffectual is that evangelicals had never made much of a fuss about divorce.  Therefore, they lacked credibility when they stood against redefining marriage on the basis of “the sanctity of marriage.”  That sanctity had already been compromised by increase in divorces and the change in state laws to make them even easier to achieve.

By the way, I have to think that homosexuals would not be nearly as interested in “same-sex marriage” if marriage were still viewed as a “‘until death do us part” proposition.  You could almost say that on-demand divorce (i.e. no-fault divorce) was a necessary pre-condition for the pursuit of “same-sex marriage.”

You could also say that we Christians allowed marriage’s duration requirement to be redefined before we tried to disallow its gender requirement to be redefined – making our defense of marriage selective and hypocritical. However, Metaxas and Mohler are trying to make things right, and that’s a good thing.

The true definition for marriage is one man with one woman for one lifetime.  We should never have stopped proclaiming and living that standard.

Mum’s the Word on Divorce (Eric Metaxas, with citation of Al Mohler)  [Editorial note as of March 3, 2017: Sorry, but it appears that the Colson Center (Breakpoint) is no longer maintaining this page.]  

Daily Miscellany for July 29, 2014

The New Testament records what happened when God visited the earth.  The way He did it was surprising (no grand entrance), and the way we reacted was surprising (no cordial welcome).  We should try to learn what we can from this.


All ancient writings which can be legitimately traced to the original disciples of Jesus Christ (that is, His apostles) have been placed in a file.  That file is called the New Testament.  That file could have been called by another name and the contents would be just as valid.


When God visited the earth, He did so as a Jew.  He was the son of carpenter, and a member of an ethnic minority in a remote occupied region of the Roman Empire almost 2,000 years ago.  All His earthly circumstances destined Him for obscurity.  That His name is currently known by most of the world’s 7 billion inhabitants and claimed by more than 2 billion of them is remarkable…to say the least.


Lately, I have been thinking about Psalm 2:1-3 and how it so aptly describe the furious effort American and broader society is putting into throwing off what it deems to be the shackles of marriage as it’s been defined for thousands of years by innumerable cultures.  It’s scary…but God laughs because He knows how futile their efforts really are.  You can jump off a cliff, and then furiously object to the fact that you’re falling…but that won’t affect in the slightest the crash that’s inevitably coming.


“The evangelical birthrate in the year 2010 is about half of what it was in 1960.” – Al Mohler

Here’s a little more context for the quote in the title, with the key part in bold:

You know one of the realities we’re facing right now is that people are looking at the number of young people in church and saying where are they? Well, about half of them never were. In other words, the evangelical birthrate in the year 2010 is about half of what it was in 1960. So there are about half as many teenagers with the same number of couples.

The Age Wave and Its Consequences: A Conversation with Ted Fishman (hosted by Albert Mohler, January 17, 2011):  audio | transcript

(Be aware that the conversation is focused on the societal ramifications of aging populations and not on the subject of the quote, which is birthrates.  The quote comes in the closing comments by Mohler.)

Daily Miscellany for July 27, 2014

We are recovering the faith of the apostles.  That is, we are seeking in the Scriptures the faith which the apostles preached and practiced that we might practice it…and then preach it.


 The New Testament Gospels tell of the time that God visited the earth.  He has visited the earth many times before and since, but never quite like that time.  In Jesus of Nazareth was the fullness of God’s character uniquely revealed.


The prophets and the apostles are the stars of righteousness (Daniel 12:3), but Jesus is the sun of said righteousness (Malachi 4:2).

The prophets gave us the Old Testament and the apostles gave us the New Testament, but Jesus gave us the prophets and the apostles.


Moses had declared some foods clean and other foods unclean; but in Mark 7:18-19, Jesus declared all foods clean.  On the other hand, Moses had forbidden adultery; yet in Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus expanded the definition of adultery to even include lustful thoughts.  Therefore, we can see that in some cases Jesus made the Law of Moses less demanding while in other cases He made it more demanding.  Further, we can see the slackening had to do with outward things and the intensifying had to do with inward things – that is, matters of the heart.  For this reason, Paul would later write Romans 2:28-29, summarizing what it mean to be a true Jew in Messiah’s kingdom.