Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decision and the Church

A lot of people, from all sides, are responding to the Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage the law of the land. The claim is that this is what the majority of Americans want and desire. After all, recent polls show the majority favoring such a decision for homosexuals. The ploy by that community of people and their supporters is that everyone will want to be a part of history, and not left behind in such history breaking ground. And that includes the church.

Indeed, many Christian churches have given in to the rhetoric, the poor exegesis of biblical texts and contexts, and the "niceness" of those seeking homosexual affirmation and same-sex unions. My prediction stands that the Christian church, including many evangelical churches, will welcome and affirm homosexual people and same-sex couples as a "normal" part of their services and ministries in the not too far future. We will find openly gay people serving in all parts and roles of ministry in our churches. The LGBT community will be fully accepted in the church of Jesus Christ. We will become rainbow-colored churches. This is a tragedy and an open welcome for God's judgment upon the church.

I am an older evangelical pastor, who happens to believe that biblical truth never goes out of style and that there is always right and wrong in all things. The homosexual community will simply wait us out, no doubt, until we die off, and then they can make their presence and influence known in our churches. My son is studying for the ministry, and he and his kids will find a vastly different (and diverse) church in which to minister God's truth and gospel. But before I go the way of all flesh, let me just say a few things about this turn of events.

First, truth is non-negotiable. No matter what the post-Christian world says, truth is absolute, for all time and for all cultures and communities. Certainly, truth must be joined with grace and graciousness for all people in all circumstances. But that graciousness must not compromise or dilute truth, especially biblical truth. God does not operate on a majority opinion, nor on Supreme Court decisions. And the truth of the matter about homosexuality and its tentacles is that it is wrong-headed and sinful. No matter how much we want to re-interpret the plain texts of the Bible on this subject, the preponderance of truth is that openly gay choices and lifestyles are wrong.

Second, same-sex marriage and homosexuality are choices made, not genetically forced upon us so that we can do nothing about them. A lot of talk is made about homosexual desires and how people cannot help being what they are. This supposedly is a defense of openly gay choices and people. However, we all operate by choices. And those choices can be good or bad or neutral. I can choose to smoke or not smoke. Nicotine habits can be broken. Homosexual choices can be broken. To claim I have to be what I was made to be negates the "new birth" and "new creation" that God does in a person's life and choices. We all do what we want to do--just admit this about gay people and same-sex unions.

Third, we live and operate in an increasingly post-Christian and irreligious America. Everybody agrees with this. It's not a thesis or supposition anymore. It is a fact. We have trashed our Christian and biblically based value systems for a humanistic and me-centered lifestyle. Therefore, the Court simply recognized what is true about American culture and values and societal trends. Again, let's just admit this. However, admission of this cultural shift and trend does not make it right or acceptable in our churches. We still need to proclaim and teach biblical truth and standards and the gospel to a dying world.

Finally, life will get worse, not better, for a Christ-follower and a church committed to the truth of Scripture. Such thinking coincides with a Scriptural model of the end times. The letters of the New Testament talk about deception in the last days, and how people will call truth evil and hold to deceptive and false practices. Christ-followers are called to stand their ground. It will be a battle for the hearts and minds of cultures and communities. I predict a day when churches not accepting openly gay people and couples will lose their government privileges. They will be fined for not marrying same-sex couples. Not just dismissed, but openly challenged. Remember the words of Paul the Apostle, "having done all, to stand firm." (Ephesians 6:13)