by Steven Chan
Brethren, appended below is the note from bro Yeow Chin Kiong, the organizer of the Restoration Seminar 2017, on the theme of this year’s inter-congregational seminar.
It is an important subject for us to consider because a growing number of very vocal people are advocating the acceptability of “same-sex” marriage in many countries. Some leaders of the countries are also openly declaring themselves as being in “same-sex” marriages. Religious organizations are grappling with the issue of acceptance of those who are in “same sex” marriage relationships, as members in good standing and/or serving in leadership positions within the religious organizations.
While we respect the right of everyone to have his/her opinion and practice in such matters, those of us who are believers in the God who created this universe and gave us through His prophets, His revealed Will, the Bible, as well as revealed Himself to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, need to ensure that we know with certainty the will of our God with regards “same-sex” marriage. This is because some “believers” are teaching that God approves of “same sex” marriage. They appeal to the same scriptures (the Bible) as the basis for their doctrine that “same sex” marriage is permitted by God. Is that the truth? That’s the question that we need to consider. If we believe that God does not approve of “same sex” marriage then we need to be able to “give a reason” (1 Pet 3:15) for our belief or “prove” from the Scriptures that such is indeed the case (1 Thess 5:21-22). Our desire is to ascertain the truth from the Bible on this matter so that we will not be confused by bible believers who teach differently.
We encourage you to come and participate in this Seminar as the speakers will seek to present the truth on this important subject.
Message from bro Yeow Chin Kiong, Subang Jaya congregation: –
After a year’s hiatus, the Subang Jaya congregation is again organizing the Restoration Seminar to draw the brethren’s attention to what God’s word says about important matters affecting their faith and life. As before, the Seminar will be a platform to discuss a current issue which needs, – but may not get, – an adequate Bible-based treatment during the regular sermons and Bible studies in our respective congregations.
This year, we propose to discuss, “What The Bible Says About Same-gender Marriage”, with an emphasis on refuting the misinterpretation of scripture by certain quarters to suggest that God’s word does not prohibit same-gender sexual conduct and the formalization of such conduct through same-gender marriage.
Over the past decades, there has been a sea change in the way much of the world looks at sexual attraction, sexual conduct and marital union involving individuals of the same gender. What was once looked upon as abhorrent has become acceptable, to the extent that criticizing it is considered discriminatory at best and a hate-crime at worst. That the world at large is growing more permissive comes as no surprise (2 Timothy 3:13; 4:3-4), but it is very sad that bible-believing groups have followed the same path instead of continuing in the teachings handed down to us and which will save us (2 Timothy 3:14-17) and preaching truth while correcting error (2 Timothy 4:1-2).
As only the latest of many denominationally-sponsored “studies” on the acceptability of same-gender marriage within their fellowship, please have a look at “An Approach To The Theology Of Same-Sex Marriage”, a report of the “theological forum” of the Church of Scotland published on 24 April 2017 for the consideration of the denomination’s Commissioners to the General Assembly. Access it at www.
Like other denominational reports of the same ilk before this, the report suggests that historic Christian teaching on marriage has been more varied and accommodating than what we have been thought to believe all this while, – a wedge with which to smuggle into that denomination the notion that same-gender marriage is permitted by God’s word.
Already 22 nations have legalized same-gender civil marriages, with Germany possibly going to the polls on this matter, next month. Truly, the tidal wave at every level of society of this sea change appears inexorable.
We propose that the entire half-day Seminar focus on the seven passages of scripture which appear in almost every discussion or debate on whether the Bible permits or prohibits same-gender marriage and sexual conduct: Genesis 19:1-11 and Jude 7 (on the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah), Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 (on the prohibitions of the Law of Moses); 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:10 (the words referring to homosexuality in two New Testament lists of vices) and Romans 1:26-27 (vile passion leading to violating the order of nature). The “Bible-believing” promoters of same-gender marriage usually, – and conveniently, – leave out Matthew 19:3-12 and the cross-reference to Genesis 1:27, 5:2 and 2:24, but we must also consider these passages.
The entire Seminar will be an exercise of “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) and “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). 2 Corinthians 4:1-4 expresses our intention for this Seminar in a nutshell. As we merely want to ascertain Bible authority concerning the issue, there will not be time for, – nor any usefulness in, – discussing the so-called scientific, sociological and legal perspectives which, if anything, show the confused and shifting lines of argument pro and contra when not moored on the Creator’s will revealed in the Bible.
RESTORATION SEMINAR 2017
9 am, Thursday, 31 August 2017
Assembly Premises of The Subang Jaya Church of Christ
20, Jalan SS 19/1g, Ss 19, 47400 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia