Same-Sex Marriage: Responding to the Supreme Court’s Decision
By: Dr. Dillon Burroughs
by Dillion Burroughs (June 26, 2015)
Today’s U.S. Supreme Courts ruled in a 5-4 decision that states cannot ban same-sex marriage, offering a landmark victory to gay activists. How can Bible-believing Christians respond to this new cultural shift? Scripture offers five responses to remember God’s principles regarding this controversial issue.
First, remember God’s Word does not change, even when culture does. Christians are still called to love God and love people (Matthew 22:37-40). At the same time, Scripture condemns certain activities as sin, calling those who follow Jesus to let their light shine before others to bring glory to our heavenly Father (Matthew 5:16). We can continue to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), realizing that not all will agree or understand.
Second, remember to set an example. As believers, our actions often speak louder than words. Our purity (1 Timothy 4:12), our Christ-centered marriages between man and woman, and our treatment of others, loving neighbor as self, all speak loudly to those who oppose our convictions. We can offer living proof that, “[Traditional] Marriage should be honored by all” (Hebrews 13:4). In the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s “Here We Stand” declaration regarding marriage, they offer the following specific ways we can effectively witness without compromise. Commit to:
- Respect and pray for our governing authorities even as we work through the democratic process to rebuild a culture of marriage (Rom. 13:1-7);
- the truth about biblical marriage in a way that brings healing to a sexually broken culture;
- affirm the biblical mandate that all persons, including LGBT persons, are created in the image of God and deserve dignity and respect;
- love our neighbors regardless of whatever disagreements arise as a result of conflicting beliefs about marriage;
- live respectfully and civilly alongside those who may disagree with us for the sake of the common good;
- cultivate a common culture of religious liberty that allows the freedom to live and believe differently to prosper.
Third, remember to pray for our nation and its future. In the Old Testament, the nation of Israel often turned away from God toward sinful practices. Yet there was always a remnant of faithful followers who prayed, served, and communicated His message. In many cases, God brought about periods of spiritual awakening, as in the days of Ezra or in the response to Jonah’s preaching by the people of Nineveh. Let us pray and seek such awakening for our own nation.
Fourth, remember we may be called to face persecution for our beliefs. When Peter and John were commanded not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus, they replied, ““Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20). Joseph, Esther, Daniel, and other followers of God have provided many examples of times when Christians may need to stand firm for truth despite the consequences. As Trevin Wax observes, “When it comes to churches and denominations, we will soon see who is truly tethered to the authority of God’s Word no matter what way the wind is blowing, and who is conforming to the pattern of this world. Churches that embrace the new definition of marriage will show themselves to be in step with contemporary society and radically out of step with the Christian Church for two thousand years.” [From http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevinwax/2013/06/26/why-gay-marriage-is-good-and-bad-for-the-church/] You can stand for God’s view of marriage and family even when others do not.
Fifth, remember to focus on the things of eternity. Colossians 3:1 teaches, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” We may not see our values win in every court case or law, but we have a message of eternal hope in Jesus Christ. Our calling is to make disciples of all nations, helping every person to know the true love the Lord offers (Matthew 28:19-20; John 3:16). Only He can truly change the heart. Our goal is not to give up, but to press on, knowing God stands in control and will prevail in the end.