Letter to the Editor: An open invitation to discuss traditional views of marriage

Dear Editor, 

This letter is in part occasioned by an article published last week regarding the ordination to the office of deacon at Neland Ave CRC of a person living in a same-sex marriage. As I am not a member of the CRC, I do not presume to comment directly on that situation. I would like, however, to speak to the student body. For some time now I have been considering what my responsibility is as someone who holds the traditional view of human sexuality presented in the Reformed confessions. I mean both the confessions of the CRC which I have subscribed as a faculty member, as well as the Westminster Standards I subscribe to as a pastor in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Because I hold to the traditional view – that the Scriptures forbid all sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage – what moral obligations rest upon me when this view is challenged? 

First, it seems I ought to state plainly that I think the traditional view alone is correct. I do not have the space here to explain why I think this is the only view the Scriptures allow, even though many disagree. But I would like to let the student body know that although some may hold the traditional view from narrow-mindedness, bigotry, or other sinful reasons, many of us do so because we are convicted that this is what God’s Word says. The Reformed confessions explain with great clarity that the only rule of faith and practice is the Holy Spirit speaking in the inscripturated Word. He is the supreme judge of all controversies. This is not to challenge the motives of those who disagree, only their conclusions. 

Second, I want to invite students of all convictions on this subject to talk with me if I can help them in any way with doubts and questions. Here are some questions that are often asked: Why should I listen to a religious document that is 2,000 years old? How are traditional views on human sexuality not oppressive and violent? What is original sin and what does it mean in the context of this issue? I know that there are already many resources on campus to help students think about these topics. My purpose is to support that work by offering another sympathetic ear for conversation, encouragement, and prayer. 

Finally, please do not forget that the forgiving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is both abundant and free. All our sins deserve God’s wrath and judgment. If the Lord counted my sins against me, I could never stand in his presence (Psalm 130.3). But thanks be to God who made us an escape by the perfect sacrifice of his own Son. I would welcome the opportunity to talk to you about this grace, especially as it relates to the other things I have mentioned.

Prof. Noe