Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Gay Marriage. Now What?

As most everyone knows by now, the Supreme Court has made gay marriage the law of the land by a 5-4 vote. Without question, the decision will change the landscape of America as much, or more than, anything has in many decades. The impact, although immediate, will not be fully felt until all the many ramifications begin filtering down into numerous aspects throughout the culture. What many fail to realize is that this new law is not simply about what some can now legally do. It is much more. This new law will impose restrictions on many who may disagree with what has just occurred and who dare to take a public stand against it. 

Those who want any influence removed from the organized church, the main voice that has spoken out against what has just occurred, are already making their desires and goals known. To see this reaction is as easy as looking at a current article in Time magazine where the author, in light of the ruling, is calling for the removal of all church-related tax exempt benefits. The related scenarios that will follow for those taking a biblically-based stand are easily predicted and almost infinite. 

What will happen to a pastor, and perhaps his church, if he fails to marry those who are now legally able to be linked together under the new law? What will happen to the Christian college that may resist allowing on-campus housing to gay couples based on the school's beliefs. What will be the future of Christian broadcasters who take a public, verbal stand against what has occurred? Will stations cancel their programs? And what will be the future of secular private or government businesses that are suddenly are forced to make a stand on hiring practices that could lead to severe consequences? If we don’t think that "test cases" are not already in the works as we speak, we are fooling ourselves. And if you think these kinds of things are somehow far fetched, take a few moments and read this article from

Much more could be said on this landmark ruling that has changed our culture forever. And again, we have not seen the tip of the iceberg as far as how the entire society will be affected along the way. But many have quickly spoken out and summarized the views of millions who hold to the traditional view of marriage despite what 5 out of 9 justices have decided. One such group is the National Association of Evangelicals, a group that represents some 30 million church-goers across America. The following statement was issued by the group after the decision was handed down. It is a good summary and one worded far better than I ever could.

“While commentators, politicians and judges may revise their understanding of marriage in response to shifting societal trends, followers of Jesus should embrace his clear vision of marriage found in Matthew 19:4-6: “Haven’t you read,” Jesus replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Nothing in the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges opinion changes the truth about marriage. What has changed is the legal definition of marriage, which is now at variance with orthodox biblical faith as it has been affirmed across the centuries and as it is embraced today by nearly two billion Christians in every nation on earth.

"In its role as a moral teacher, the law now misleads Americans about the true nature of marriage. Evangelicals and other followers of the Bible have a heightened opportunity to demonstrate the attractiveness of loving Christian marriages and families. Evangelicals should renew their commitment to the sacrificial love and faithfulness to which Jesus calls all husbands and wives.

"As witnesses to the truth, evangelicals should be gracious and compassionate to those who do not share their views on marriage. Those who continue to embrace biblical teaching on marriage will increasingly appeal to the First Amendment protection not just for abstract belief, but for the practice of their faith. The National Association of Evangelicals calls on Congress to enact laws, on the president to implement policies, and on the courts to render judgments that uphold the freedom and human rights of all Americans.”

America is at yet another moral crossroads the impact of which is simply staggering. The church of Christ stands at the same exact spot with the world watching for its reaction. Christians need to keep in mind several things in response. Peter, in Acts 5:29, when he and the apostles were commanded to be silent as far as their faith and biblical beliefs were concerned, stated "We ought to obey God rather than men.”

And along the way, those in God’s family need also to act with the same kind of love and compassion as did Jesus when He encountered the woman who was caught red-handed in something Scripture clearly taught as wrong. His pattern was to embrace her, love her, and forgive her. But He did not stop there. Because He was her holy Savior, He also declared to her in no uncertain terms, "Go and sin no more" (John 8:3-11).

Yes, it is a time for compassion, grace and godly love. But these traits must also be coupled with something more. They must openly reflect the unflinching proclamation of God’s righteous standards. And they must always reveal sin, any and all sin, for what it is – both when that goes against cultural practices and even legal rulings.

Bill Breckenridge