Same-Sex Marriage: A Current South African Christian Perspective -- By: Christopher L. Peppler

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 02:1 (Sep 2006)
Article: Same-Sex Marriage: A Current South African Christian Perspective
Author: Christopher L. Peppler

Same-Sex Marriage:
A Current South African Christian Perspective

Christopher L. Peppler1


This article deals with same-sex marriage from a Biblical Christian perspective. It is not a treatise on homosexuality from either a Biblical or sociological point of view. The article deals with homosexuality, per se, only in as much as is necessary to examine the question of the Biblical Christian stance concerning same-sex marriage.

The article starts with a brief overview of the South African civil legal history of same-sex ‘marriage’ partnerships leading up to the current ruling by the Constitutional Court. The debate then starts with the Biblical definition of marriage before mining down to the two main arguments in favour of same-sex marriage and the homosexuality that underpins it – the appeal to the concepts of justice and love. Only then does the focus turn to the Biblical prohibitions concerning homosexual activity.

The second part of the article deals briefly with implications for church life, firstly from the perspective of how the church approaches same-sex marriage in general society, and then from the perspective of those within, or seeking to join, the church.

1. Introduction

In December 2004, the South African Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the definition of marriage be extended to include same-sex partners. The government took this on appeal to the Constitutional Court, which rejected the appeal in December 2005 and gave parliament one year to amend the Marriage Act. The issue of same-sex marriage is now a matter of both civic and religious importance.

In this article, I am addressing the issue of same-sex marriage, and not homosexuality per se. However, I cannot discuss the subject of same-sex marriage without some form of analysis of homosexuality. Moreover, I am focusing the discussion almost exclusively on the current South African situation. My perspective is that of a Christian minister and theologian and so I will not be focusing on purely psychological or sociological issues. Furthermore, my Christian perspective is that of one who is committed to the authority of the Bible and the effective lordship of Jesus Christ.

My objective in writing this paper is to explore the issue of same-sex marriage from a Biblical point of view and to present suggestions to Christians, and ministers in particular, as to a biblically sound position on this issue concerning both civil society and the church.

2. South African: Legal History and Current Situation

The current legal and parliamentary debate i...

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