Today, the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal in all 50 States. This has sweeping consequences for our society and culture. It will also put the Church and individual Bible believing people in many uncomfortable positions in the years to come. The question that must be asked by Christians is… “How do we respond?”
Biblical Christianity is fundamentally at odds with the ruling of the Court and with the current prevailing view in our culture. The Scriptures clearly teach of the authority of God, the intention and definition of marriage as being between a man and woman, and of the saving work of Christ for all sinners.
A serious question that will have to be dealt with in the days to come is how this ruling impacts religious liberties for people holding to the biblical view of sexuality and marriage. The Court included in their ruling a statement affirming the First Amendment rights of citizens to oppose the idea of same-sex marriage in both belief and speech. It reads…
“Finally it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same-sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate.”
It will be interesting to see how this fleshes out in the days and years to come. This ruling will be tested in many ways and the issue will most likely create issues with Christian owned businesses and religious based institutions and agencies. There will be some stressful days for many who wish to stand firm on their deeply held religious beliefs.
A sad reality is that Bible believing followers of Christ will find themselves increasingly marginalized for their views in society. In years past many evangelicals believed themselves to represent a moral majority. Basic biblical beliefs held by conservative Christians seemed to be largely recognized as noble and right by the society at large. Perhaps that once was the case, but it has not been the case for a long time.
Those who have held firmly to a biblical worldview have been in the minority for a long time in our nation. It’s just that we are finally waking up to this cold reality. And wake up to it we must! It would be foolish to pretend that we are not out numbered in the realm of public opinion. We are. We do not live in Christendom any longer.
To compare our situation with ancient Israel we would find ourselves to no longer be living in Jerusalem (where our views rule the day), but instead we find ourselves in Babylon (where we are outnumbered, surrounded by a culture that wants to assimilate us as it separates us from our faith).
So what are we to do?
Well that is where we need to choose to have faith in a Mighty God who has called us to serve him “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14) Who says that because we are outnumbered that we are defeated? We are not. We are instead living at a moment in history when the world most desperately needs to see believers in Jesus standing strong and doing the things God has called us to do.
I like what my dear friend, Dr. Paul Chitwood, Executive Director of Kentucky Baptists, wrote today concerning our calling to continue on in our Christian commitment. He wrote…
“Appealing to the First Amendment, biblically faithful Baptists in Kentucky will continue to preach and teach God’s truth on the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, as well the sinfulness of the homosexual lifestyle. Should the First Amendment fail to provide protection to the Church, nothing changes. Like the early disciples, those who love the Lord and live by His Word will continue to do what pleases God rather than men and face whatever consequences Caesar may bring.”
Chitwood’s point is clear. The most important thing believers can do is continue doing what God has called us to do, continue teaching what God has given to us in the Scriptures.
Christians have lived a very comfortable life in America for many years. To some measure that has been changing, but we must not allow the change to discourage us. Instead it should be an occasion for us to renew our commitment to living obediently to Christ and His Word.
So here are a few quick things I believe we need to do as the Church and as individual believers…
- Go back to the basics. Brother’s and sisters in Christ, it is time we all dusted off our Bibles and start feeding from them deeply. Gone is the day (as if it was ever really here) that we could effectively live out our Christian life with only a surface understanding of scripture. It is not enough to fuel our spirits on an “out of context feel good bible verse” once in a while. We need to know what we believe. We need to have a grasp of the Bible and the doctrines that come from the Bible. My friends, we need to know what we believe and have our minds full of God’s Word. Our churches must lead believers into a revived hunger for the knowledge of God.
- Choose a broken heart over angry bitterness. I am concerned that many believers will choose to make angry, snarky, even hateful comments in the coming days to express their indignation over the Supreme Court Ruling. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media venues will no doubt be the platforms for these statements. By all means let’s enter the dialog. But let’s do so with nobility. Let’s make a case for our views, our faith. But let’s do so with the love and respectfulness that Christ demands. Let’s be Spirit-filled in our speech and loving in our approach. That never means we shrink back from truth, but it does demand that we do so in love. Let’s be broken over our Nation’s drift from God and loving in our concern for her.
- Renew commitment to the gospel. The gospel is our only hope. Paul said it best when he wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16, NIV) It is interesting to note that he wrote these words just prior to his description of how human societies have left God, wandering from His laws in such a way that it resulted in a perversion of God’s sexual plan. (Romans 1:18-32) Paul lived in a day when the moral culture was dark, as it is for us today. What was his response to the darkness? Preach the gospel! Point people to the one who died for all men’s sins.
- Preach and live out the biblical vision for marriage. We live in a day when the church needs to do two very important things. We need to teach the biblical doctrines of marriage. If we don’t, no one else will. That is more clear now than ever before. God’s vision for marriage is beautiful. It is magnificent. We must teach and preach it in all its beauty. Secondly we must live it out. We must be more committed to our Christian marriages than ever before. We need to celebrate biblical manhood, biblical womanhood, and the beauty of a true marital union. That means Pastor’s need to preach on marriage, leaders must teach on marriage, and all of us must renew our commitment to marriage. It is vital to our witness to our culture.
- Expect to be characterized negatively, but behave nobly. Here is the painful truth…people will characterize our views as bigoted, even hateful. We know that God’s Word is anything but bigoted. We know that the gospel is all about calling people away from the things that separate them from God and calling them to the one who brings them to God. We know that sharing this is an act of love. But some who disagree with us will sometimes vilify us. It will happen. But it is important for us to behave lovingly and with the highest of character. Let’s not smear those who oppose our views, but let us always take the high road and treat people with the utmost of respect.
- Be hopeful. Remember that many of your brothers and sisters in Christ over the last 2000 years have been through similar difficult times where being a Christian brought with it various social pressures and pains. Also remember that God is still on His throne and that as believers we are His servants. Read the Bible through and through. What do you find? God wins in the end.
We have often read of great Christians of the past living out their faith in trying times. Most of us probably thought that we would never face such difficulties that would test our resolve and commitment to Jesus.
But here we are. We are in days that will demand that we pay a certain price standing for our Lord.
Here is what I believe. I believe that the next few decades could be the most challenging years for the church in American history. That means some of history’s greatest stories of courageous believers will be lived out and written in the years to come.
Will you be a part of those stories? Will you renew your commitment to Christ, to the truth of His Word? Will you strive to live out a beautiful life that radiates the truth and love of Christ like a star up against a dark sky? (Philippians 2:15)You can leave a comment by clicking here.