Resources for the Marriage Debate & Beyond
Written by PFR   
Friday, 14 March 2014 08:30
Firmly believing and proclaiming that God's covenant of marriage is between one man and one woman, we who claim the label “evangelical” are, first and foremost, to be the bearers of this Good News. The gospel compels us to be part of the debate about marriage, and we who are part of the Body of Christ must be able to disagree with one another while maintaining mutual respect and compassion. The way in which we engage in the marriage debate, both within and beyond the PC(USA), has far greater potential to validate or harm our Kingdom witness than any Assembly vote.  

To this end, we offer a variety of articles, videos, and books that may be helpful in preparing for the upcoming debate on Christian Marriage and also for nurturing ongoing ministry.  We will update these resources as new materials are discovered.  You will not agree with everything on this list.  As an example, you may wonder why PFR would publish the marriage study from the More Light Presbyterians.  We offer these resources in an effort to bring clarity and eliminate stereotyping of either the progressive or the evangelical point of view in this important debate.  We pray that these resources will help to foster a discussion that honors the Savior among those who are within the Body of Christ.

From the PC(USA)

Marriage study (and related resources) from the Office of Theology and Worship

From More Light Presbyterians   (in support of redefinition)

Marriage & the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): A People’s Guide for Study and Conversation


“Justice Kennedy’s 40,000 Children”

Robert Oscar Lopez, The Witherspoon Institute Public Discourse, May 2013

“Love and the Inhumanity of Same-Sex Marriage”

Jonathan Leeman, The Gospel Coalition, April 2013

“Marriage: What it Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It”

Ryan Anderson, The Heritage Foundation, Marcy 2013

“Same-Sex Marriage and the Common Good”

Richard Mouw, Mouw’s Musings, November 2012

“Same-Sex Marriage and the Single Christian”

Katelyn Beaty, Christianity Today, July 2013

"Sex After Christianity"

Rod Dreher, The American Conservative, April 11, 2013

“Sex in Leviticus”

Christopher Wright, Christianity Today, July 2013

“Sex Without Bodies”

Andy Crouch, Christianity Today, June 2013

“Why No One Hears Arguments for Marriage: What That Means for Us”

John Stonestreet, Breakpoint, April 2013

 “Why Welcome and Same-Sex Couple to Church

Timothy Morgan, Christianity Today, August 2013


“Speaking a Mystery: God’s Design for Human Sexuality” PFR Resources, 2006


“Authentic Human Sexuality: An Integrated Christian Approach”

Judith and Jack Balswick, IVP (2008)

“Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America”

Jeff Chu, Harper Collins (2013)

“Is God Anti-Gay: Questions Christians Ask”

Sam Allberry, The Good Book Co. (2013)

“Homosexuality and the Christian”

Mark Yarhouse, Bethany House (2010)

“Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community”

Andrew Marin, IVP (2009)

“Sex and the iWorld: Rethinking Relationship Beyond an Age of Individualism”

Dale Kuehne, Baker Academic (2009)

“Sexuality and Holy Longing: Embracing Intimacy in a Broken World”

Lisa Graham McMinn, Jossey-Bass (2004)

“The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex is Too Important to Define Who We Are”

Jennell Williams Paris, IVP (2011)

“Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs-Christians Debate”

Justin Lee, Jericho Books (2012)

“Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality”

Wesley Hill, Zondervan (2010)

“What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense”

Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, Robert George, Encounter Books (2012)

The Elephant's Name is Not Marriage
Written by Paul Detterman   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 10:48

If you’ve ever seen the movie The Princess Bride, you’ll recognize Peter Cook’s iconic line, “Mawiage: mawiage is what bwings us togetheh today.” The laughing will stop, however, when “marriage” comes up on the docket at the General Assembly this summer. Deep disagreement over exactly what God intended to be a “holy mystery—a gift for the wellbeing of human society, the ordering of family life, and the birth and nurture of children” (BCW) is poised to sever the remaining treads of unity within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Anxiety over this debate is increasing in congregations and among many denominational leaders. For those of us who are in the accountable community of the Fellowship, it is vitally important to be clear about what is happening and how we must be prepared to respond.

Author’s Note: If you are reading this from beyond the PC(USA), I beg you not to stop. This is not a PC(USA)-exclusive issue. At this moment we just happen to be standing furthest out in the surf—closest to where the wave will break that will eventually saturate the rest of the Western Church.


The General Assembly will very likely be asked to “redefine the PC(USA)’s interpretation” of Christian marriage. Let’s be clear—they/we cannot “redefine” Christian marriage. That is God's prerogative, not ours. Civil authorities can and have redefined secular meanings of marriage. But Scripture speaks with one voice: God created the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman. This covenant provides a way to live in the comfort and consolation of a relationship held together by something greater than our attractiveness to each other, a purely moral commitment, or the desire to not be alone. It establishes the foundation for society, and provides the framework for fully experiencing God’s gift of human sexuality. A PC(USA) General Assembly can vote to depart from Scripture’s teaching, acquiesce to the culture and, in so doing, break with the global Church, but God’s design and God’s intent cannot be “redefined.”

Although many actions coming to the Assembly would broaden “marriage” to include two people of the same gender, it has been argued that none of these would overtly require teaching elders (pastors) or ruling elders (sessions) to abide by this reinterpretation. Time will tell. We who are part of the Fellowship are and will continue to be committed to biblical teaching on marriage irrespective of any General Assembly action. This may eventually become a costly decision—so be it. That said, we’re still only playing with the symptoms of the real problem and, as a result, playing at being Christ’s Church.


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