Does the Bible prohibit providing services for same-sex weddings? Theologians weigh in

Editor’s note: The Presbyterian Lay Committee (PLC), the publisher of The Layman and The Layman Online, does not support same-sex marriage. Instead, the PLC board affirms natural monogamous one man, one woman marriage, believing “with Scripture that God ordained the lifelong marriage of a man and a woman in the very order of creation and that Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, blessed and sanctified this relationship.”

samesexBy Jonathan Merritt

The evangelical world blew up this week over the question of whether Christian business owners and individuals should refuse goods and services for same-sex weddings. Many Christian theologians, pastors, and bloggers—particularly hailing from the evangelical new-Calvinist movement—have argued the answer is yes in some cases.

In a Daily Beast column I wrote with Kirsten Powers, we argued that the Bible does not prohibit such service. Sean Davis at The Federalist blasted the column as “a masterpiece of Biblical ignorance.” He points to a passage in 1 Corinthians where the Apostle Paul addressed whether Christians should eat meat sacrificed to idols as proof that Christians should not provide service to same-sex weddings.

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), made a similar argument and cited the same scripture in a response to our column. He reasserted his position that Christians should “sacrifice the business for the conscience” when there is an obvious deviation from Biblical standards. ERLC Director of Communications Joe Carter took to Twitter to accuse Kirsten and I of having “embarrassed” ourselves with the column.

So, is our argument really that far off base? I reached out a variety of leading theologians the evangelical world respects to get their take.  They uniformly found the use of 1 Corinthians in this case to be a misapplication.