A brief interview with Sean McDowell (’98, M.A. ’03, assistant professor of Christian apologetics), co-author of Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage, Baker Books, July 2014.
Q: Sean, same-sex marriage is one of the most significant — and most discussed — issues in the church and society today. What does your book offer that others on this subject might not?
A: First, we provide a brief history of how we got to where we are. The issue may seem to have exploded onto the scene recently, but it’s been brewing for decades. Second, we offer a biblical and non-biblical case people can make for natural marriage, which includes some tips for how to best communicate in our increasingly secular culture. Third, we offer some very practical steps for the church to rebuild a culture of marriage. There is something each one of us can do. And fourth, we provide practical guidance for some of the new difficult ethical issues Christians are facing, such as attending a same-sex ceremony or being asked to provide services for a same-sex union. These are tremendously difficult issues and we need to stand firm, but also be creative, like Daniel did when he was assigned a portion of the king’s food and drink (Daniel 1).
Q: What is one key message that you hope evangelicals take away from the book?
A: Don’t despair! In our book, co-author John Stonestreet shares a story about a youth pastor who told him after the 2013 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) ruling, “It’s over. We’ve lost.” The cultural acceptance of same-sex marriage is certainly a setback for religious liberty and the family, but Jesus has still risen! God is in control and we are on the right side of history. Rather than despair, which is tempting, we ought to respond with more focus, care and love than ever. We hope the church will be driven to its knees, so rather than respond defensively, we can respond with true grace and love.