Whenever the culture shifts significantly I find myself aligning to the Truth regarding that conversion. In the midst of change, confusion and uncertainty, I need to look again and again at that which does not change.
The United States Supreme Court ruled today on the legality of homosexual marriage in America. The implications of that decision for individual states and our country will soon follow.
People deny God everyday: the created rejecting the Creator. It goes far beyond the Ten Commandments being marginalized. This is an entire dismissal of God-given natural law(i). When this happens, we — God’s set-apart people — must respond with eternal Truth for our times.
The opposite of the Truth is the Lie. The Lie is always worded in such a way that it’s incredibly convincing (that’s why so many continue to believe it!). It is repackaged for every generation. It’s always “new-n-improved,” it’s updated and revised on a regular basis… and yet it has been and will always be the same Lie. The Lie is regarding the death of man, both earthly and eternally. It started in the garden, when the enemy of our souls played his one and only card, “You will not die!” (ii) From the beginning, he has only had one Lie and it has always revolved around our death and the separation from the Father of all creation.
The Lie kills both individuals and nations; no one is immune. History records the unsettling judgment on culture after culture that has rejected the Truth and consumed the Lie. The Lie has invaded religion and law, poetry and philosophy, life in marriage and family, in the state and society — in short, one sphere of life after another falls to the power and deception of the Lie. When the Lie replaces the Truth, humanity cannot continue. Wherever humanity denies that he and/or others are dying, that culture rapidly declines, and the Lie is often headlined as “cultural advancement,” and “social innovation.” The Lie is the greatest and oldest of all deceptions.
We can easily see this decline in the everyday example of the friend or loved one who doesn’t feel good, and yet refuses to seek medical help. Most recently (and very publicly) Steve Jobs (American pioneer of the personal computer) died, regretting that he had spent so long attempting to treat his pancreatic cancer with alternative medicine before agreeing to undergo surgery.(iii)
In spite of pleas from family and friends, the co-founder of Apple computers, tried to cure himself through acupuncture sessions, drinking special fruit juices, visiting "spiritualists" and using other treatments he found on the internet. Some cancer experts have said that the entrepreneur, marketer and inventor may have survived if he had promptly tackled his cancer aggressively with scientifically proven medical treatments. When asked why "such a smart man could do such a stupid thing", Isaacson said: "I think he felt: ‘if you ignore something you don't want to exist, you can have magical thinking.’ It had worked for him in the past. He would regret it." (iv)
We’ve heard it before, “It’ll be fine,” they say… “It’s not a big deal,” they say. And as they continue to do their best to convince you (and themselves) that everything is okay, the aches intensify and the pain increases, along with their resolve to, “Not make it a bigger deal than it is!” Then comes the blood in the urine or the passing out unexpectedly. And by then it’s too late. Surprisingly, in their passing, we read the headlines that say, “It was their time to go.” And yet, had they taken proper care as consistently outlined in the medical textbooks, they would have lived.
Today, nine justices (in a 5-4 ruling) considered same sex marriage as a fundamental right in the context of the 14th Amendment.(v) They also brought their “opinion” (ruling) regarding the constitutional right for American citizens to participate in same-sex marriage. But it will never make it Right, just as the legalization of abortion never made it Right!
In 1971 the Supreme Court considered and ruled on Roe v. Wade and made the killing of the unborn both lawful and profitable under the law, defiling God’s natural law(vi) that said it was neither!(vii) The Lie was quickly repackaged for abortion, it headlined as a “Scientific breakthrough!” Generations of women and men exercised their fundamental and constitutional right and used abortion as a viable option for pregnancy. The womb soon became the most dangerous place to live in the United Sates.(viii) As of today 57,762,169 (fifty-seven million, seven hundred sixty-two thousand, one hundred and sixty-nine) Americans have been aborted since their landmark decision.(ix)
Currently we’re watching countless scores of American citizens of every age and demographic wake up to the tragedy of abortion. More and more young people are watching the ultrasound screen while listening to the heartbeat of life from within the womb and, in amazement, walk away convinced, “That’s no blob of tissue… that’s a baby! How could I have an abortion… it’s alive!” Abortion numbers are declining every year because the followers of Jesus continue to speak the Truth as ambassadors(x) and expose the Lie; speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves.(xi)
The ongoing struggle for Bible reading/believing Christians continues. Where and how do we participate in a culture that denies our values and beliefs? Because our citizenship is in heaven,(xii) no matter what happens, we continue to speak on God’s behalf.(xiii) We don’t represent another government, but a Kingdom, not of this world.(xiv) For followers to be most effective we must know and understand the Word of God like never before.(xv) Be encouraged: we will not win the culture war. However, our Lord, Jesus the Christ, has already defeated the author of all Lies, at the Cross… it is finished!(xvi)
But what can we do in the here-n-now? How can we respond to the Supreme Court ruling making the way for every state to recognize something as legitimate (abortion, homosexual marriage, etc.) that is contrary to biblical/Christian morals and values?
We begin with understanding that our struggle is not against flesh and blood,(xvii) we don’t battle government and courthouse.(xviii) We must stand firm!(xix) We live in, by, and for the One who rescued us, who calls us to stay the course. We stay committed to repent of our own sin. We must devote ourselves to good teaching, fellowship, sharing meals together, (specifically the Lord’s table, aka: communion) and to prayer.(xx) It’s time to double-up our teaching on God’s gift of marriage, and show love and mercy to those who have been harmed by the dissolution of God’s order for marriage, which was intended for the protection of all. We must stand ready to minister health, healing, and hope for those who stand in the fallout from the nuclear detonation of the family.
This plan fits the nature and calling of the Church! We have been set apart(xxi) to proclaim forgiveness found in Christ alone. That Good News is peace to struggling homosexual or heterosexual men and women alike. And this message is ours to share anywhere and everywhere.(xxii)
The followers of Jesus must be consistent and steady for the long haul; we cannot change our song or stop singing. We’re a real people sharing about a real solution: His name is Jesus! Our message is declared openly with black-robed Supreme Court justices as well as to protestors on the steps of that building. We share with young adults enrolled in college watching this ruling unfold and with those who never imagined they would live to see this kind of seismic shift in their lifetime. And with them all, we are called to demonstrate the mercy and love of Christ.(xxiii) Today we are not only called to stay the course but also to share the course of the One who came for sinners — all sinners — the One who showed His love for us by dying for us.(xxiv)
That’s why we will need to pray in the days ahead. Legal marriage may be redefined, and outcomes we never imagined will occur. But none of this is a surprise and we don’t need to be alarmed. The crumbling culture merely proves that the Lie first spoken in the Garden of Eden is still prevalent today; it is still being broadcast loud and clear for all to hear. We must proclaim the Truth—as sinners living among sinners—we are all in need of the Christ’s mercy and grace.(xxv) This world is winding down,(xxvi) but the story ends well.(xxvii) That’s the message those in the pew, as well as those disenchanted by those in the pew need to hear… and will always need to hear!
Beyond the theological consequences of this ruling, the Church will also be navigating the practical implications of this squall in the days and months ahead; I urge you to consider the following:
- The Good News never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.(xxviii)
- God is faithful to complete all that He has started.(xxix)
- The followers of Jesus are called to be obedient to Him — and to His Good News — alone.
Just as Noah was obedient to God in a wicked world, we are called to be obedient in the world in which we live. We are to remain on the narrow path.(xxx) My concern for all Christians everywhere is the negative influence and bombardment of peer pressure all around us. Although we’re called to stand up to peer pressure, we often face the temptation of wanting to fit in, to be like everyone else. But when that pressure comes from those in Christian leadership roles, the confusion runs rampant.
Recently Tony Campolo, (a highly respected voice in evangelical Christianity) “changed his position” because, “Through Peggy, (his wife) I have come to know so many gay Christian couples whose relationships work in much the same way as our own.”(xxxi) Rather than applying God’s Truth to his experience, Tony filtered God’s Truth through his experience.
Unfortunately, we’re in a time where people cannot stomach solid teaching, and prefer to fill up on spiritual junk food. We now have “social scientists” spouting opinions that make people feel good about the Lie; causing them to turn their back on God’s Truth and chase religious mirages;(xxxii) and in many cases deceiving even God’s chosen ones.(xxxiii)
I have to ask myself, “Are you willing to be God’s person even if it means you will differ from the world?” “What if doing right means you don’t fit in very well, even with other Christians?” As followers of Jesus we apply God’s Word to our experience, and He strengthens and clarifies in the process. God’s Word is clear on the subject; homosexuality is just another form of relational brokenness that God wants to heal and restore. Regrettably, in the midst of it all, (as I see the increasing ache and pain) people continue to say, “It’ll be fine; it’s not a big deal,” along with, “Let people love who they want.”
Will the leaders of the Church be fined or thrown in jail for not performing same-sex marriages? Potentially. Will the Christians be further persecuted and mocked for taking a stand for Truth? Absolutely. But these are the things Jesus said would happen.(xxxiv) The temptation for leaders in the Church and those in the congregation alike will be to run out into the crowd, to abandon the home front, choose silence, or to give up all together. But we are called instead to repent, to be ready, to move confidently into the future, come what may. We speak the truth in love to all.(xxxv) We share about the freedom found in forgiveness with each person He sets in our path.(xxxvi)
Come LORD Jesus! (xxxvii)
Until then, be God’s… live as loved!!
(ii) Genesis 3:4
(v) The 14th amendment addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws and was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War.
(vi) Genesis 1:27; Psalm 127:3; Psalm 139:13, 15
(ix) According to the government's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Guttmacher Institute, research affiliate of abortion chain Planned Parenthood.
(xvii) Ephesians 6:12; Having said this, we DO support those believers who are called to the courthouse, equipped to make intelligent arguments with the rulers and authorities of our land. They have studied and prepared themselves to represent sound thinking in the marketplace of ideas. (2 Tim 1:7)
(xxx) Matthew 7:14