Dr. John E. Johnson

Dr. John E. Johnson

A Pastoral Word on Same Sex Marriage

So many have weighed in on the Supreme Court ruling regarding same sex marriage. As I considered what I should say to the church I pastor, here is what I shared a week ago Sunday:

FIRST-we have witnessed a decision that offends many of us who follow Christ and respect the authority of Scripture. The Supreme Court ruling goes against the biblical definition of marriage, which says marriage is a union of a man and a woman. A few years ago, Time Magazine ran a cover article on the shifting change in culture regarding marriage, with the title “We Won.”  My first thought was not “We Lost.” It was—“This sets us on a very slippery slope.” The same argument of ‘fundamental right’ guaranteed by the Constitution can now be used for polygamy or other future definitions, now that we have rejected the original definition, one defined by God. Once you redraw the lines of authority–once you assume you are the one in authority, than who is to say one’s definition is not as valid as another’s definition. As one put it, “Ultimately the court may find itself in a trap of its own making.” And sadly, one day soon the church may find itself in violation of the law—without freedom to act on its beliefs.

SECOND-it is important we keep a perspective. The greater threat to traditional marriage is not same sex marriage. It is a failure to live out a heterosexual union as God intended. If we accept that it is okay if people live together rather than commit to the institution of marriage; if we find ourselves addicted to pornography and maintaining emotional affairs; if we don’t speak out and confront when a spouse becomes unfaithful; if we are no longer grieved and shocked when people get a divorce in the church—then who are we to express a righteous indignation? If we tolerate behaviors that do not live out divine design, than what moral voice do we have to speak against those who favor a redesign?

Better we get our own house in order, contend for and live out marriage as it was designed by God—a heterosexual union of faithful love, purity, and lifelong commitment–all for the glory of God.

THIRD-we need to keep the main thing the main thing. Jesus did not become too wrapped up in whatever Rome handed down. It is a safe guess the empire allowed much that was morally offensive. Jesus was focused on extending grace, drawing people into His kingdom. If the church was as passionate for reaching lost souls and making disciples as it sometimes is about cultural and political issues, we would probably see an expansive rather than a declining church. 

This means we must be about carrying out what Scripture demands—

a-maintain our core mission to live out the gospel

b-pray for our leaders every day. Respect their office and honor their position

c-stand by our convictions, that hold that the Word of God is our authority (not culture)

d-show grace and mercy to those we agree with and disagree with. Having convictions is not a license to hate. Having convictions does not mean we have to hate. We can have our beliefs that may differ with culture, be passionate, and still live respectfully, demonstrate love, and affirm that everyone is welcome.

  • Matt Hartzell
    8:05 PM, 9 July 2015

    Thank you for this thoughtful response.

  • sewcreative
    1:13 PM, 27 August 2015

    Well said brother dear….

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