Have you enjoyed your weekend foray into the world of social media? It has been a predictable response, no? There is a major decision made by powerful people in American politics and every timeline near you blows up. I’m not here to add to the noise, but to utilize this blog in line with its intended purpose, to equip the church to be the Church by getting back to the source of Scripture. When I say, “equip the church,” I’m thinking first and directly about LifePoint Church. I write this as a pastor serving in a local church context, particularly burdened for the younger Christians in our church family. If you are reading this from outside the LPC family, that’s cool, don’t feel like you’re eavesdropping. This blog is hosted on the Internet, after all.
If you’re just joining the party now, something important happened last Friday. The Supreme Court of the United States made a unilateral decision concerning the institution of marriage, as a 5-person majority imposed their will on the American people. With that one decision, 39 of the 50 states, many of which voted to restrict “marriage” to the only definition it has ever had in all of human history, were confronted with a cultural and political landscape not in line with the will of the majority. I’m not a lawyer, politician, or expert historian, but from what I understand the reach of the Court in this instance is significant, both in terms of the presumption this takes and the precedent this sets. The dissenting opinions of the 4-judge minority make this clear.
The Court’s decision may have been met with massive disappointment by millions of people, but it shouldn’t have been a surprise. American culture has been headed this direction for a number of years. Just as predictable as this ruling was the response of people nationwide.
I want to talk about 3 responses I’ve observed and 1 thing I want to recommend, specifically to young Christians.
Here are the 3 primary responses:
This has been evident on both sides of the argument. When you put a microphone (called a Facebook or Twitter profile) in the hands of everyone on earth, you’re going to get some nuttiness. I get it. For those in culture who hate Christians, this is a great opportunity to stick it to them. Like bandwagon fans that talk trash after the Super Bowl, even though they don’t know any of the player’s names, this decision has been a great opportunity to lord the new law of the land over the Pharisees. Similarly, for those Christians (actual or supposed) who misunderstand either the history or necessity of American law reflecting biblical values, fear or hate can elicit vitriol.
From the outset, many of the most visible and vocal Christian leaders in America have been on point. They have called Christians to get perspective, pray, continue to be about the mission, and get over the fact that we no longer have home field advantage. I’ve been thankful for this response. America is going the way of secular nations all over the globe, and as much angst as that may cause, it’s a reality the Church in America would be wise to recognize. For more than 2 centuries the United States has been probably the easiest and most favorable nation in the history of the world in which Christianity has settled. Those days are passing quickly, but it’s not a death-sentence for the Church. True Christianity has never truly thrived as a comfortable religion of the masses.
This final response to Friday’s news is the reason I’m writing this blog. Particularly among younger Christians, there seems to be this idea that what happened is “not that big of a deal.” This group is particularly adept at “taking the high road,” which in this instance means grandstanding, as they lecture other Christians about grace, love and the gospel. I mean, come on people, GOD IS LOVE! He invented the rainbow.
As younger Christians we know and have grown up with an increasing number of people who identify as homosexuals. Now, we have a “third way” being propagated, which teaches that you can be both a homosexual and a Christian. I’ll address this in my comments on Matthew Vines’ God and the Gay Christian later this week. For starters, let me say that this “third way” is a wide road that leads to destruction, and there are many who are finding it. Since many younger Christians are more personally involved with more people who identify this way, it seems we feel a sense of defensiveness toward those we see as “marginalized” in our culture.
Here is my 1 recommendation:
If you are a Christian who bases your opinions of this issue on personal experience, talking heads on TV, or the blogosphere—get educated on this stuff. The Bible teaches a clear sexual ethic from start to finish, and the definition of marriage is included in that ethic. What is happening in our culture right now is a big deal. As much as your friend’s timeline may tell you different, Bible-believing Christians do not disagree on this issue. There aren’t “two camps” in the Christian world when it comes to the definition of marriage or the issue of homosexuality. Christians who recognize the authority of Scripture and who refuse to twist it and contort it to meet their own needs are completely aligned here. Homosexuality is sin and same-sex marriage is a lie. There is not an “agree to disagree” option on this for Christians. And understanding that doesn’t mean you hate people or that you are a bigot or that you are ignorant.
I want to leave you with this quote from Kevin DeYoung’s book What Does the Bible Really Teach on Homosexuality? For those wanting to get more educated on this issue, DeYoung’s text is the #1 book I’d recommend. I’ll be commenting further on this book later this week.
A rant is not an idea, and feeling hurt is not an argument. To be sure, how we make people feel is not unimportant. But in our age of perpetual outrage, we must make clear that offendedness is not proof of the coherence or plausibility of any argument. Now is not the time for fuzzy thinking. Now is not the time to shy away form careful definitions. Now is not the time to let moods substitute for logic. These are difficult issues. These are personal issues. These are complicated issues. We cannot chart our ethical course by what feels better. We cannot build our theology based on what makes us look nicer. We cannot abdicate intellectual responsibility because smart people disagree. And we certainly cannot keep our Bibles closed. We must submit ourselves to Scripture and let God be true even if it makes every man a liar (Romans 3:4).
 Kevin DeYoung, What does the Bible really teach about Homosexuality? p. 126.