Pastor Rick Warren has recently said that the gay marriage issue is “not his agenda.” In a sense, of course, he is right. The gospel itself is the agenda of the Christian, including pastors. However, humanity is also our concern. And, the church is called to be the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Tim 3:15).
To quote Pastor Warren, “There are about two percent of Americans [who] are homosexual or gay/lesbian people. We should not let two percent of the population determine to change a definition of marriage that has been supported by every single culture and every single religion for 5,000 years.”
To quote Pastor Warren again, “This is not even just a Christian issue — it’s a humanitarian and human issue that God created marriage for the purpose of family, love, and procreation.”
I would add further that marriage and family is the foundational social institution upon which a culture should build. Something must hold, or else the culture disintegrates into chaos. If the meaning of marriage is undone, then the culture itself is undone. Nothing which binds society together can hold any longer because the foundation itself has faltered.
It does not matter how nice the brick looks on the outside of a house once the foundation has cracked. When the foundation is lost, the house will fall. Once the institution of marriage is undone, the culture will no longer have a societal “ideal” for which to work and on which to build. Marriage and family will mean anything (bigamy, polygamy, polyandry…). In other words, there will be nothing at the foundational level. No ideal, thus no order.
Is such a disintegration the concern of a purpose driven pastor? I suppose that depends on the purpose of the pastor. It seems to me that the earlier Rick Warren makes some good sense that the later Rick Warren ought not to have disavowed. Why is it that poverty is an acceptable part of the Saddleback gospel agenda but honoring marriage is not? Why would fighting AIDS be on the agenda but honoring family would not? Fighting AIDS and poverty, like standing up for marriage and family, has to do with loving mankind and speaking of that which is ordained by God for Man’s flourishing.
There is no hate in such speaking up for humankind. Just as fighting AIDS is not an act of condemnation toward homosexuals, so, too, is standing for marriage not an act of condemnation toward homosexuals. Both fights are engaged for the well-being of humankind, to maximize the flourishing of Man.