This is what our world has become
THE LEGALIZATION of same-sex marriage in all of the United States is the biggest news these days. It didn't come as a surprise that it happened at all—that the Supreme Court would issue a decision so final about an issue so divisive—but when I saw the news, my heart was filled with sadness. So this is what our world has become.
Dr. John MacArthur wrote a moving letter to pastors:
I spent most of my waking hours last night reading through the US Supreme Court landmark decision delivered by Justice Kennedy, and the dissenting opinions of Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito that followed. The texts helped me make sense of the issue, though I had wished I were a lawyer—I would've had a better understanding of the legalese. I read them with interest from a Christian worldview. I am, after all, a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. To engage my friends—some of whom are openly homosexual and are dear to me—in an open, healthy conversation about the implications of this decision requires that I must be prepared to speak the truth in love. The adage, "Hate the sin, but love the sinner," rings even truer. This is especially hard, given that there is an ever-present danger of being branded a bigot when one calls homosexuality for what the Bible calls it: a sin. It is not the biggest sin, but it is different from other sins in that society aggressively seeks to accept it. Fornication, if you will review history, hasn't received the same societal support.
And yet Christians—the redeemed people of the Lord, sinners bought by the cleansing blood of Jesus on the cross—are called to love one another, and to share God's love to others by way of the gospel. We are sojourners and pilgrims (ah, to read Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress again!) in this land, because our home is in heaven. Yet Jesus called us to be the salt and light of this world, even if it means being persecuted and mocked and derided and laughed at and called uncivilized. The best way to love our friends, even family, who belong to the LGBT community is to speak the truth in love: for them to turn from sin and to follow Christ, as we have. They will argue that the institutionalization of same-sex marriage is a celebration of equality and the human right to happiness; but true joy comes from God.
I turn to John Piper who wrote an eloquent lamentation:
My sense is that we do not realize what a calamity is happening around us. The new thing — new for America, and new for history — is not homosexuality. That brokenness has been here since we were all broken in the fall of man. (And there is a great distinction between the orientation and the act — just like there is a great difference between my orientation to pride and the act of boasting.)
What’s new is not even the celebration and approval of homosexual sin. Homosexual behavior has been exploited, and reveled in, and celebrated in art, for millennia. What’s new is normalization and institutionalization. This is the new calamity.
My main reason for writing is not to mount a political counter-assault. I don’t think that is the calling of the church as such. My reason for writing is to help the church feel the sorrow of these days. And the magnitude of the assault on God and his image in man.
I also turn to Dr. Albert Mohler. His is an intact and sound Biblical worldview:
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the land, and its decisions cannot be appealed to a higher court of law. But the Supreme Court, like every human institution and individual, will eventually face two higher courts. The first is the court of history, which will render a judgment that I believe will embarrass this court and reveal its dangerous trajectory. The precedents and arguments set forth in this decision cannot be limited to the right of same-sex couples to marry. If individual autonomy and equal protection mean that same-sex couples cannot be denied what is now defined as a fundamental right of marriage, then others will arrive to make the same argument. This Court will find itself in a trap of its own making, and one that will bring great harm to this nation and its families. The second court we all must face is the court of divine judgment. For centuries, marriage ceremonies in the English-speaking world have included the admonition that what God has put together, no human being – or human court – should tear asunder. That is exactly what the Supreme Court of the United States has now done.
The threat to religious liberty represented by this decision is clear, present, and inevitable. Assurances to the contrary, the majority in this decision has placed every religious institution in legal jeopardy if that institution intends to uphold its theological convictions limiting marriage to the union of a man and a woman. This threat is extended to every religious citizen or congregation that would uphold the convictions held by believers for millennia. Justice Clarence Thomas warned in his dissent of “ruinous consequences for religious liberty.”
One of the most dangerous dimensions of this decision is evident in what can only be described as the majority’s vilification of those who hold to a traditional view of marriage as exclusively the union of a man and a woman. Justice Samuel Alito stated bluntly that the decision “will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.” According to the argument offered by the majority, any opposition to same-sex marriage is rooted in moral animus against homosexuals. In offering this argument the majority slanders any defender of traditional marriage and openly rejects and vilifies those who, on the grounds of theological conviction, cannot affirm same-sex marriage.
In a very real sense, everything has now changed. The highest court of the land has redefined marriage. Those who cannot accept this redefinition of marriage as a matter of morality and ultimate truth, must acknowledge that the laws of this nation concerning marriage will indeed be defined against our will. We must acknowledge the authority of the Supreme Court in matters of law. Christians must be committed to be good citizens and good neighbors, even as we cannot accept this redefinition of marriage in our churches and in our lives.
Dr. John MacArthur wrote a moving letter to pastors:
In the final analysis, your greatest contribution to your people will be to show patience and a steady confidence in the sovereignty of God, the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the authority of Scripture. Turn their eyes toward the Savior, and remind them that when He returns, all will be made right.
All will be made right, indeed. Maranatha. The Lord is coming.