7 Initial thoughts on the Supreme Court’s Decision to Legalize Gay Marriage

94307-004-B97FF4161. We must not react, but we must think.

Of course, this ruling is discouraging on many levels and we are tempted to respond in unhealthy ways that may be displeasing to the Lord and potentially harmful to His purposes. I’m calling us to think through things calmly, rationally, and most importantly, Biblically. The “I’d rather not think about it” approach should not be an option for the Christian. We’ve got to understand why this is happening, why people are making these choices, and why they think that these choices are acceptable alternatives. We must think about it and we will be asked what we think. I’m planning some articles that will help us think deeply about these issues.

2. We must not compromise, but we must stand.

One wrong reaction would be to “cave” by choosing not to state our beliefs. We might be tempted to think that it is better to skirt the issue, change the subject, or even resolve the conflict by rationalizing that “it’s ok.” Scripture does not allow for that and neither should the Christian.

3. We must not despair, but we must pray.

This ought to motivate us to pray for the hearts and the souls of men and women (and those who don’t want to be what God has made them to be). We’ve depended on political action and strategy for far to long… they have their place, but what we really need is prayer. We are utterly powerless and helpless to change people’s hearts. Only God can do that.

4. We must not asceticize, but we must mobilize.

Yes, I did make up the word, asceticize. Asceticism espouses purity through avoidance. It suggests that the best way to deal with a problem is to avoid it. The temptation for many of us is to gather our family into a cave to wait out the impending storm we know is going to occur from the moral decline of this country. But this is a time where people need see that there is a better way to live! We’ve got to live out the gospel and the way of Scripture in front of them. The end of sin is destruction — we as Christians need to be on the other end of people’s destruction — ready with the gospel of Christ.

5. We must not assume, but we must articulate.

For far too long we have assumed that people understand the Christian worldview. We think they understand the gospel simply because they have access to it and we think that people are Christians just because they claim to be. Inviting people to church is not enough. A 15 minute canned gospel presentation is not enough. We’ve got to learn to use the Word like a scalpel rather than a machete. But you can’t use what you don’t know how to use– to do so could do more harm then good. We’ve got to know the Word and know how to articulate it.

6. We must not isolate, but we must insulate.

For the Christian, isolation from the world is not an option. But the issues of gay marriage and the transgender phenomenon are uniquely new issues. Never in the history of our civilization have these kinds of sin issues surfaced in this way. I’m preparing a blog article that will suggest ways that we can protect our kids from these current problems and equip them to face these kinds of challenges. To be candid, I’m still thinking through these issues myself, but i will try to offer some help in this area.

7. We must not panic, but we must be prudent. 

Despite the assurance of the pundits on the news, I do think that there will be legal challenges that Christian businessmen and churches will face. I’ll discuss how Christians and churches should plan on protecting themselves for as long s possible.

“Stay tuned” for more articles to come and if you have questions or concerns regarding this important cultural issue please let me know!


What’s On the Horizon?: Implications of the SCOTUS ruling on Gay Marriage

UnknownWhy am I weighing in? I’ve always avoided addressing political issues and getting into political debates on social media. Why now? As I scroll through my news feed of Facebook, I’m often seeing  one of two extremes from Christians. On the one hand I’m seeing an un-Christlike, trite, often inflammatory, and usually underdeveloped response that falls short of goals that would truly honor Christ. From other Christians, I’m seeing little or no response at all. The latter is safer and more understandable than the former and I don’t desire to condemn silence since there are multiple motives for silence– some noble and some not. But SCOTUS has put Christians, and particularly pastors in a very difficult position by essentially linking religion and state. So as a Christian, I hope to provide a balanced, kind, and well-developed Christian perspective.  As as pastor I pray that these posts may be used as a resource to equip God’s people to prepare, think, and respond appropriately. Because I’ve been asked various sincere questions by Christians, some of whom are members of the church I’m privileged to pastor, and because silence carries its own potential consequences, I  really feel I can’t keep silent on this, though I respect the decision of other Christians who may have that luxury.

I appreciate much of the sentiments in this blog:

Dear Homosexual, I’m Sorry: An Open Letter from a Christian

After my initial post, which was intended merely to provide some guidance for responding correctly as a Christian (and how not to respond as a Christian). I’ve been thinking through all of the various implications of the SCOTUS ruling. I want to address this issue in a reasonably comprehensive manner, so in order to do that, I need to continue to address, in a very general way, the various implications of this verdict before getting into the details in future posts.

1. Biblical: The US law of the land clearly contradicts Scriptural truth (again).

Addressing this Biblically is more involved than meets the eye. Three realities need to be considered. 1)Personal experience, rather than the Bible is the basis of authority for many. 2) Professing Christians have misused the Bible in the past to propagate non-moral agendas that have now created a barrier. 3) Some advocates of homosexual marriage are now openly attacking the Bible by misusing Scripture to undermine its own authority. Example: The citing of polygamy in the Old Testament to undermine the frequently stated Biblical definition of marriage. This then is going to require its own blog article.

2. National: This decision has confirmed that we are no longer a Christian nation.

I think many Christian’s have had the mindset that the gospel will help us “take back America.” While this could be an inadvertent result the gospel’s work in the lives of individuals, this was never the intention of the gospel. God has never called Christians to establish a Christian nation. Furthermore, God has never promised to restore the United States to a God-fearing nation. It is high time that Christians live the gospel and proclaim the gospel, not for the purpose of restoring America, but for the furtherance of God’s heavenly kingdom as He sovereignly sees fit.

Recommended article: 4 Things Jesus Did Not Die For

3. Legal: The Supreme court has reached new heights of “over-reach” by choosing to re-define marriage.

The five supreme court justices essentially acted as an oligarchy, establishing a law, and re-defining an entire concept that does not exist in the constitution. This has essentially established a precedent that even homosexuals should be very concerned about. We are losing our democracy. Dr. Al Mohler has done an excellent job in explaining the far-reaching implications of this decision. I’ll refer you to the following blog articles:

First article from Al Mohler

Second article and audio briefing from Al Mohler

4. Cultural/Social: The problem of viewing people within a country according ethnic and social communities.

There is currently this euphoric sentiment that the SCOTUS decision promotes unity, peace, and harmony. It does not.

Our culture has shifted from promoting the need of “individual rights” to promoting the need for the rights of various ethnic and social communities. This move is a shift from viewing every individual citizen (including those who have chosen a homosexual lifestyle) as a part of a unified country to a nation that is fragmented by various “communities.” This is a “divide and conquer” approach, by those with a socialist (not necessarily homosexual agenda) and will not bring true unity, despite all of the celebrating. The best examples are the decisions of President Obama and Hillary Clinton to endorse gay marriage after stately opposing it in the past. I submit that these recent decisions do not result from evolution, but pragmatism.

The decision has also sanctioned one of these communities as the “gay community.” I’m going to argue that this is not merely a result of gays lobbying for freedom and equality, there is another agenda here and way of  thinking that has been accepted over time. How did our culture move this direction?

This video interview addresses this very well: Is Gay the New Black?

5. Liberty: This ruling will require Christian state officials, responsible for approving marriage documents to either violate their religious conscience or resign.

So what if a state official has a religious conviction against gay marriage? Rule of law dictates that he must issue the license. The state official has already lost his/her liberty. But it won’t end there. It will move next to any organization receiving federal funding. Rule of law will require them not to discriminate, they will surely loose federal funding.

What about religious institutions such as churches? We might be ok for a while, but when this verdict fails to actually bring the harmony and unity that it so desperately desired, the culture will go after those they view as the source of the problem and churches will likely lose their tax exempt status — for starters.

Will pastors be penalized for refusing to sign a marriage license of homosexuals? The Supreme Court says no, and the news pundits say no. They have protected our right to teach our own beliefs. But what currently hangs in the balance is not our freedom to teach, but our freedom to live and practice in matter consistent with our teachings. This verdict has made marriage a right, not just a liberty under rule of law. This may require pastors and churches to be either Biblical or lawless.

Ultimately the Christian should expect persecution and trust that God will give us the grace to handle it as it comes. However, we certainly ought to live as prudently as possible. We’ll explore various options.

6. Family: Children face (inevitable?) exposure to ideas they may not be ready to process, and schools will likely be required to educate students on all of the options. 

To my knowledge no civilization in history has attempted to define marriage the way the SCOTUS has and we don’t know the ultimate impact it will make on society. I’m most concerned for my children and what they will be facing in the days ahead. How do we protect, prepare, and equip them?

7. Unknown: Because the SCOTUS verdict is unprecedented, there are certainly unforeseen implications. 

We rely on history to warn us of the future consequences of the decisions we make. But no history exists to project potential outcomes. It is a bit scary.

I’ll be addressing much of this in further detail in coming posts. Until then, let’s remember some simple yet profound words from Scripture:

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Pro 3:5-6 NKJ)