California’s Gay Marriage Law and Praying for our Country
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Today is a significant day in the life of our country and I want to ask you to pray with me for God to have mercy on us. Today was the day California's new "law" opening up marriage to people of the same sex went into effect–against the will of the people of that state, mind you. You say, "Haven't people been able to get married in certain states before?" Yes, but there were always residency requirements and throwbacks. Under this new law, people from anywhere can simply go to California and get married and carry that marriage anywhere they please.
Before I comment… a little context: Those of you that go to the Summit know that I have made a decision, as a pastor, to stay out of politics. That's not because I don't think political things matter or they are somehow "beyond" the scope of the Christian worldview. They do matter, and they are not beyond the scope of Biblical thinking. As a follower of Jesus, I must look at EVERYTHING through the lens of the Christian worldview. Nor is it because I am short on opinions. Anyone who knows me knows I have 9 opinions on any 1 subject.
My decision to stay out of politics, personally, has to do with my own personal calling as a pastor. My primary calling is to the Gospel, and I refuse to
entangle myself in anything that keeps me from that one thing. The
Gospel, and not a particular political persuasion, is the "main thing" at our
church. We have both Republicans and Democrats on our staff and in our
congregation. We have both McCainiacs and Obama-mamas in our congregation and on our stage each Sunday.
I will do my best to teach biblical principles about all areas of life, but applying them to various political situations I'll usually leave to you. You may disagree with me on how I apply a biblical worldview to situations–say, the war in Iraq, taxation, theories about climate change, etc. That is OK. I don't want to let that divide us. Plus, I know I might be wrong in my opinion on the war in Iraq or the proper role of the government in education. But I KNOW I'm not wrong about the Gospel, and I don't want to let my opinions on the former keep you from hearing and believing me about the latter.
There are exceptions, however–times we must be involved politically. For example, if I were a pastor in Richmond, VA in 1860 I don't think it would please God for me not to preach against racism just because it was a "politically charged issue" (nor should I avoid talking about it today!). If I were a German pastor in 1939 I don't think I should keep my mouth shut about anti-semitism. Today, I can't call myself a follower of Jesus and keep my mouth shut about the mass-murdering of an entire generation of children, particularly the children of minorities, in the name of "freedom of choice."
In the same way, I believe we must speak out about the redefinition of marriage. I know you may ask "Why is this an issue of such critical importance? Why can't people be free to do what they want and marry whom they want?"
When you redefine marriage, you unweave a crucial thread in any stable society. Marriage was established by the Creator to be a crucial building block for a healthy life. Part of our self-identity is found in our gender. We understand who we are and the roles we play by understanding the distinctions of gender. If you don't understand who are as a male or female, you don't understand yourself. God intended marriage to be a union of the two genders because in that union we have the loving union of the two contrasting genders. Marriage between people of the same sex skews that understanding and, consequently, our view of ourselves. Further, same sex marriage mars our image of God. God said that His image was revealed in the "male and female" union in marriage (Gen 1:28-29).
Thus, when you redefine marriage as something other than between one man and one woman, you distort your view of yourself and your view of God.Even though no marriages are perfect, and divorce and immorality skew
the picture God intended to give us, the structure of marriage itself
is a compass that adds definition to our lives.
Furthermore, there has to be SOME definition of marriage we are operating on. If we begin to say that same-sex marriage is ok, what stops us from polygamy? What about an older man and a consenting adolescent? How about a man and a horse? I'm not trying to be silly, I'm just saying that at some point somebody has to define marriage. The whole "lowest common denominator" thing won't work very long.
Government has not seen it to be their role to define marriage. What "marriage" is, is written into natural law as well as spelled out in God's word–both of which are the basis of our societal laws. Government doesn't, and never has, define marriage, it recognizes the definition written into natural law.
Of course, not all of our biblical convictions should be made into laws that apply to all people. We have a pluralistic society which is free to, in many ways, recognize and pursue their own morality, even when it is very offensive to us. People can choose to worship God or not. They can choose to be immoral or not. But when marriage itself is redefined, then the entire society is redefined. It will soon become mandatory to recognize and teach the normalcy of both types of marriages in our public schools. It may become illegal to criticize same sex marriage. This will be a major blow to the stability of our society and how future generations of boys and girls come to understand themselves and their gender identities. (If you don't believe all of this, check out "Act 2" of this news story from NPR. The trajectory is not hard to plot.)
For the sake of future generations–future boys and girls who will learn to understand life, God, and themselves by looking at the structure of family–this is an issue we have to be clear on. Out of love, and self-righteous judgmentalism, we must work to maintain the family structure in our society. Loss of the family structure will do nearly irreparable harm to millions of future boys and girls. I hope you will pray with me for God's mercy and blessing on our society. We are the church and this is why we are here–we are salt and light. Let's cry out to God for mercy on our community.
We love homosexual people and they are welcome in our church on Sunday. In no way am I calling for self-righteous judgmentalism. We are massively fallen people ourselves, and we are a community of people experiencing healing and forgiveness. I am not a judge, just a fellow sinner pointing toward a redeeming Savior, arguing that His ways are always best. I've been forgiven of more than I can tell you about. I am inviting you to trust God with me.
This has not been an attempt to provide a full apology on the institution of marriage–just a reminder to fellow believers that we need to pray (if you're looking for a more definitive treatment, check out stuff by one of my favorite authors, J. Budziszewski, such as this). I know not every Christian will agree with me that this is an issue worth speaking out on, but I hope you at least the reasoning I'm using in getting there…