Open letter to my fellow pastors about Australia’s upcoming plebiscite on “gay marriage”

Today I sent an email to my fellow pastors in the Congregational church concerning the issue of Australia’s upcoming plebiscite on “gay marriage”.  I want to share it here so that others may benefit from it and encourage their churches to vote No in next month’s postal vote.  Although the plebiscite is not compulsory or legally binding, it will officially register public opinion on the issue and make it very difficult for future governments to make it law.  There is much riding on this vote, and if the church does not get its act together and lets the proverbial Trojan horse through the gate, there is no telling how much damage will be done to freedom and future generations.  

To my fellow pastors in the FCC,
My name is Haydn Sennitt, and I am the pastor of Georges River Congregational Church.  I wish to email you all concerning the nation’s upcoming postal plebiscite, and the attempt to introduce “same-sex marriage”.  In lieu of the FCC making a formal statement on this issue, I would like to personally address it myself to you as there are so many things riding on its outcome.  You may or not be aware of these things, but I would nonetheless like the remind/inform you of them.  
The reason for my email is that it is absolutely essential that the plebiscite in September be defeated.  If the Marriage Act changes, then it will not just be about people marrying whomever they choose to love; it will make homosexuality normal and alluring to children, it will encourage the teaching of ‘gender fluidity’ to minors, it will leave the church vulnerable to attacks from lobby groups and even acts of violence and legal attack.  Pastors will inevitably be fined or imprisoned for not only failing to marry same-sex couples, but for even preaching against homosexuality.  (This is already happening with recent attacks on the Australian Christian Lobby’s office in Canberra.)  No doubt such changes will make the anti-hate speech provisions of Section 18C of the Anti-Discrimination Act even more punitive.
In New Zealand, the UK, in Canada, and other jurisdictions, Christian groups have been muzzled for speaking on issues of family and marriage ever since SSM became law.  So-called “gay marriage” is a Trojan horse that comes in the name of ‘love’ and ‘rainbows’ (sickeningly using the symbol of peace between God and man in Genesis 9 to advertise itself) which, once inside the city gates, will permanently scar the landscape.  Once it is made law it will be hard, if not impossible, to repeal and reverse.  And why must marriage be redefined to merely suit the tastes and demands of 25,000 people in our community?  It is they who are being selfish, disingenuous, and demanding.  
However, there are other issues involved here – gospel issues.  What are these?  The most significant one is that marriage is a gift from God made by Him, for sexuality to only and explicitly be expressed between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:15-25).  When man was lonely in the Garden of Eden, God did not give him a dog, a bbq, or another man to be his helper – it was a woman, same as him, but also different.  When Adam saw the woman for the first time, he expressed relief, “At last, this is bone of bone and flesh of my flesh” (Gen. 2:23); furthermore, SHE is the reason why he leaves house and home (2:24).  Any sexual arrangement outside of this boundary (be they de-facto relationships, pre- and extra- marital sex, adultery, fornication, lust and pornography, etc) is sin.  It is not blessed or of God.
As such, the church must defend marriage from being re-defined by man. Even if ‘gay marriage’ succeeds, we must still speak God’s Word against it and resist it with all our might.   Marriage is the first human-human relationship in creation, and if it is redefined and tampered with, it will mess up civilisation as we know it.  Yet marriage is much more than this – Paul in the New Testament saw it as a mind-boggling parallel of God’s relationship with the church (Ephesians 5:32).  As John Piper observed, “God didn’t create the union of Christ and the church after the pattern of human marriage; just the reverse, He created human marriage on the pattern of Christ’s relation to the church” (Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2013, p. 274). 
This would imply – rightly so – that if the institution of human marriage is rearranged, then it’s only a matter of time before proper union with God is up for grabs.  As such, we as pastors have a heavy burden of responsibility in this upcoming plebiscite to tell our churches to vote No against the proposal for same-sex marriage.  Whether individuals agree with this or not is beside the point – we are appointed as leaders and shepherds over our flocks, and to stand firm on God’s Word.  “We can do no other”, as Luther said in the Diet of Worms.  If the church does not firmly stand on God’s Word now against same-sex marriage and remains silent or, worse, actually endorses SSM then it has no place or right to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  
As such, there is no such thing as the church (even our denomination) having “diverse views” on the matter of marriage.  No, there is only Genesis 2; there are no other views.  Two men are not to marry one another; two women are not.  The only position on the plebiscite is to urge a No vote.
The question is, are we prepared to stand firmly and boldly on this issue now?  Or are we, as I’m seeing in other denominations, personally and privately terrified that the numerical ‘success’ of ‘our’ ministries may be jeopardised because we dare to take a stand?  Are we terrified of being caught up in the same attacks that were assailed against our own Lord and Saviour for speaking out against the evil of our day (Matthew 15:12)?  If we are ashamed of Him now today on this issue, He will be ashamed of us and have to say later, “Depart from Me, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21).  I don’t think I am embellishing things when I say this.  
I know that taking a stand on this will not be easy, and I have had to suffer a lot myself for speaking up on this since 2010.  I have lost friends, ministry opportunities, career opportunities outside the church, and many other things because of my witness.  But this is the world that we are in now, and we must fight, just as Dietrich Bonhoeffer did in 1930s Germany when almost every other pastor he knew turned his back on him.  As hard as this has been for me, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I myself once lived the gay life, and I know from  bitter personal experience that homosexuality is a lie.  It comes nowhere close to the good life of a man married to a woman under God.  Many other gay people are experiencing this now.  Homosexuality is not ‘gay’ – it is undoubtedly a sad world of anonymous sex and hookups where people use one another for carnal pleasure and then dispense with one another.  Monogamy in that world is a fiction, and most relationships last no longer than 6 months, so how will gay people even be able to keep their marriage vows?  Such promises won’t even be worth the paper they’re written on.   Having now a wife and children I know experientially (not just theologically) that heterosexual marriage between one man and one woman is God’s best.  
The facts are that, biologically, no one is born gay.  Theologically, homosexuality is particularly depraved above other sins – it comes as a result of idolatry (Romans 1:18-32), it is a product of burning in lust contrary to nature (Jude 1:7-8), it is worthy of some of God’s harshest judgement (Genesis 19, Revelation 21:8, 1 Timothy 1:9-10), and is an abomination in His eyes (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13).  Those passages do not refer to mere homosexual gang rape, but to ALL homosexuality.  
Thankfully, God does redeem homosexual people and saves them IF they repent (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) but sexual sin is against the body (1 Cor. 6:18) and promoting it – which ‘gay marriage’ will inevitably do – will only make things worse.  Even if gay and lesbian people have what looks like a “workable” or “long-term” or “monogamous” relationship (if such things do actually exist in the gay community) they are still living in sin and tempting God’s judgement.  
Our job as God’s shepherds is to warn such individuals in love, but never to agree that their relationship is to be blessed or is a marriage.  Our God is not just love but is also holy, and people will not understand this if we say that gay marriage is OK.  It is not OK and cannot ever be so, no matter what anyone thinks to the contrary (Galatians 1:8). 
As Spurgeon once wrote, “If [the sin of homosexuality] should spread amongst the sons of men, it would bring in its infernal train ten thousand times more damage than the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  The sin itself is infinitely worse than the fire which burned it up“.
Having written all this, I implore you to yourselves vote against the proposal for SSM, but to also to urge your church congregations do the same.  If the world wishes to turn to madness, then it may succeed – but don’t let it happen without you trying to stop it and taking bold risks for God’s kingdom.  Whatever we do (or don’t do), we will one day have to give an answer for.  
I pray that you, my fellow pastors and my denomination, will do the right thing and stand so firmly on God’s Word on marriage.  It will not make us popular or elevate us in the eyes of man, but that is a good thing because it will separate the goats from the sheep, cleanse the church, and will help us to more readily identify with Christ’s sufferings (John 15:18-19).  We will begin to understand what life is like for Christians in places like Egypt and Iran, and God will use it to bring people to Himself.  
May the grace and blessings of Jesus Christ be with you and your congregations.  
Pastor Haydn Sennitt
(Georges River Congregational Church).

One thought on “Open letter to my fellow pastors about Australia’s upcoming plebiscite on “gay marriage”

  1. Haydn, glad I have found you. In reference to: >>>>>”Our job as God’s shepherds is to warn such individuals in love, but never to agree that their relationship is to be blessed or is a marriage. Our God is not just love but is also holy, and people will not understand this if we say that gay marriage is OK. It is not OK and cannot ever be so, no matter what anyone thinks to the contrary (Galatians 1:8).”<<<<<< I have tried to explain to people that SSM is not okay; using Matthew 5:27-28 (from Bonhoeffer). I am happy that I have found someone who thinks alike. See:

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