Student Question #1: The Issue of Gay Marriage

We will occasionally post real-life questions posed to Dr. Sanchez from his students.   The following is an excerpt from a letter recently submitted to Dr. Sanchez from one of his students concerning the issue of gay marriage:

 

Dr. Sanchez:

I’m not sure if you’ll have an answer, but I figured as my Apologetics teacher, you’re the best person to ask.  I’ve been thinking about gay marriage laws and I’ve been going through a line of logic to present my ideas if asked.  Is there an answer I haven’t seen yet?  I’m wondering if my thinking is flawed because I’m looking for a solution that would please both sides of the gay marriage argument when there possibly isn’t one.

Thanks,

Wanting Help

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Dear Wanting Help:

You’ll discover that the issues around the question of gay marriage are not as simplistic as they first appear; they precede your present generation - at minimum, half a century or more.

 Most of us work "backward" from a presenting cultural or moral issue (pro or con gay marriage, civil unions, etc.). We respectfully, but pointedly, ask questions about the issue, do our research, and seek to sincerely comprehend a proponent's underlying logic, rationale, or ideology upon which their stance purports to rest. 

 As a Christian, you’ll discover that innovative moral positions built upon select personal ideology are usually more emotive than thoughtful, more committed to certain outcomes themselves than to the long-term human implications of those ideas. Regrettably, recent history and innumerable graves are marked with the cultural scars of such views. 

 However, God's laws for humankind cannot and will not be broken; history has repeatedly demonstrated that all moral innovation, personal and political, will always be shattered when we throw ourselves against God's laws and ways for his world, including desacralizing sexual identity and union.

 Yes, our human laws can be changed and sometimes should (i.e.: slavery); but God’s laws cannot - they endure forever, written into Creation and into our creation.  We can vote "outdated" moral ideas out of office and replace them with advocates who support our more tolerant views.  But God wasn't voted into office and he cannot be voted out (see Psalm 115, MSG).  We humans, and all of our ideas, have an "expiration date." But God's Word will endure long after our place in history evaporates; the immoral and their ideas will not long be remembered.

 So, how are we to respond to contemporary moral issues such as gay marriage?  Here’s some old-school, ancient but time-tested wisdom: 

·      Know the gospel well (embrace your own story). 

·      Learn and have your own wisdom shaped in a gospel-shaped community of faith.

·      Live the gospel in the marketplace alongside real people. 

·      Listen carefully to the groans of culture coming from the weight of its own sin and         misdirection. 

·      Study the insights and approaches of good thinkers, not angry legalists, on both sides of an issue.

·      Learn to articulate the deepest questions of people honestly, and apply the gospel to their deeper concerns. 

·      And if necessary, be willing to make a principled stand, even die for, the privilege of presenting the only good news with divine power to rescue men and women from themselves and the insanity of broken ideas.

 

Left to ourselves, we are always blind and desensitized to what really awaits us on the other side of our misdirected loves.  As apologists, however, we are called to stand between the very people Christ died to redeem and the ideas/schemes of the one who, for yet a season, exists only to lie, steal and destroy.

 Sincerely,

Dr. Sanchez

 

 

The Presence of God and the Thin Places

“The presence of God is the central fact of Christianity.  At the heart of the Christian message is God Himself waiting for His redeemed children to push in to conscious awareness of His presence. That type of Christianity, which happens now to be the vogue, knows this Presence only in theory. It fails to stress the Christian's privilege of present realization. According to its teachings, we are in the presence of God positionally, and nothing is said about the need to experience that Presence actually. We are satisfied to rest in our judicial possessions and, for the most part, we bother ourselves very little about the absence of personal experience.”

        A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God [1948]

 

Gabriel Music Inc. was birthed out of an overflow of unexpected seasons of personal renewal.  I didn’t look for them, but they found me.  Those who know me well know I’m not one who chases experiences. 

 But as a younger man, my hunger for the Lord did lead me through life-changing movements and moments.  And for me, the best of those transformational seasons were almost always tied to certain songs, musicians, and leaders that, at critical junctures in my life, seemed to carry an attractive sense of what I call “the presence of God.” 

 What I mean is that there was a favor, a momentum to who they were and in what they created.  And when they did what they did, people around them were impacted - not solely by the power of their personality or skill, but by a “presence” most would acknowledge but could not explain or replicate. 

 Some call that special “something” anointing; I’ve come to call it “presence.”

 So, what is the “presence of God”?  God is - theologians tell us - everywhere present at all times.  This I believe. 

 And those of us who love Jesus look forward to enjoying his physical presence at his promised return. That is my hope and the historic longing of the Church.

 But many around the world also report encounters with God’s “manifest presence,” moments when the Lord, by His Spirit – for reasons known only to Him - “breaks into” our ordinary day with an extraordinary display of his power and goodness.  Many of the stories are astounding and awe-inspiring.

 I too have been privileged to witness and experience such “presence” moments – individually, with students in college classrooms, in rehearsals, while teaching in foreign countries, in corporate worship, in songwriting sessions, while journaling, and during personal study.  Every visit was unanticipated.  Every result I witnessed was, for me,  a “surprising work of God.”

 Such times do mark you; such visitations can leave you hungering for more.  Truth is, I never want those special moments to pass; I never want the experience to fade; I want what I feel to last forever.  And such feelings are not wrong; they are natural between those who love one another.  But God is eternal; and we are not yet what we shall be.  So, for now, the Spirit orchestrates such encounters.  And I am glad.

So, what’s the big deal about the presence of God?  His manifest presence is the “life of the future” breaking into our world, reminding us that this world is not all there is, that we are being prepared for another existence in the “forever presence” of God, and that our deepest longings can only be satisfied by His nearness.  Celtic Christians called these the “thin places” on the earth where heaven and earth almost seem to touch.  At such times, the concluding words of Psalm 73 remind me once again that “it is good for me to be near God.” 

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So, I’m wondering:  Have you experienced the “presence of God”?  Are there songs or artists that seem to carry a special sense of God’s favor for you? 

Let us know.  I’d love to read your story.

New Beginnings.

Welcome to the launch of Gabriel Music Inc's website!  

While we've been around for over 20 years, we are excited to officially make our internet debut.  Our hope is that this site will make licensing requests easier and more efficient for YOU! 

Not only are we thrilled to finally have an internet presence, we are also excited about the new additions to GMI's website, including:

- a personal blog with insights from founder Pete Sanchez and some of his friends.

book and music reviews

- teaching resources for thinking about and leading worship

- excerpts from a devotional e-book for worship musicians, based on the Psalms, entitled "David's Shadow."

- and the opportunity to feature the work of new artists and songwriters. (For more information on this, please contact us directly).

Thanks for stopping by and we look forward to this next chapter in the life of Gabriel Music!