Tennessee Baptist Convention

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One Man, One Woman…Period

Marriage is between one man and one woman. Period.

And, it is impossible for any human institution to declare otherwise. Period.

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However, the fate of marriage as defined by popular culture has for months awaited a ruling by our United States Supreme Court to codify the definition it wants. What it wants is for marriage to legally mean nothing. Think about it, if marriage no longer is defined as between one man and one woman, then why can’t it include multiple people along with same-sex partners? In becoming anything to anyone, it will become nothing.

But marriage can’t become nothing because it is something established by God, and it is a very good thing. The Supreme Court, or any other human authority, redefining marriage is about as possible as a scientist restructuring the laws of gravity. God established both. Jeremiah 10:12 says so: “But God made the earth by His power; He founded the world by His wisdom and stretched out the heavens by His understanding.” Subjecting the divinely established institution of marriage to the whims of man only invites divine consequences. ”God shows His anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Romans 1:18).

But that brings us to where we are culturally, doesn’t it? You can literally see Paul’s words recorded in Romans chapters 1-3 lift off the pages of your Bible and take the form of our contemporary society. I’ll not wax nostalgic about former days because by nature man has been in rebellion against SCOTUSGod since Adam and Eve. However, with our courts redefining marriage we are certainly faced with an unprecedented moment in our nation’s history that exposes accelerated rebellion.

Truthfully, I’m staggered by it. I believe events over just the past five years leading to this point have rocked Christians. We’re caught off balance. We walk out of our church doors disoriented. We wring our hands and mumble, “What are we going to do? What are we going to do?” Well, I’m not one to fade gently into that good night. I want to personally be a person of grace to people who embrace a homosexual lifestyle. These are precious people created in God’s image who need compassion and truth. Here are three things I plan to do in the days ahead as homosexuality continues to dominate our cultural conversation. Join me.

Pray. Commit yourself to prayer. Pray for God’s intervention in our nation’s affairs. Pray for God to grant repentance to our leaders (and to us). Pray that there will be a revival in our country. Pray that God will save the spiritually lost. Pray for God to grant you grace in conversation with homosexuals. Pray that He’d open their spiritual eyes. Pray for our pastors to stand boldly in the face of cultural pressure. Pray that our churches will be places of peace and refuge, and also places of ministry and hope. Pray for our families. We need God to protect and strengthen our families.

Prepare. Expect the momentum to continue now that this frontal assault against marriage is in full bloom. In other words, prepare for the worst. I’m not being cynical; I’m being a realist. We need to prepare ourselves spiritually to understand what Scripture actually says about marriage (and everything else), and we need to be prepared to give a compassionate – but firm – biblical defense of it. We also need to prepare for possible legal ramifications. Your church must absolutely have a policy statement in its bylaws or constitution that defines marriage and includes for whom it will conduct marriage ceremonies. We have churches now in Tennessee where pastors and churches are dealing with both membership and marriage questions related to homosexuals. Where does your church stand right now on these questions. Pastors you must lead your churches to answer these questions now or by neglect you are jeopardizing your ministry and Jesus’ church. The Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission has a great resource to guide in this titled, “Protect Your Ministry.” It is available for download at Prayingerlc.com/store. Get it immediately. Another must-have resource is titled: “The President’s Panel: The Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage: Preparing Our Churches.” Go to SBC.net and search the Wednesday afternoon session at the 2015 SBC and watch this video.

Proclaim. Now is not the time to shrink back. Apart from the courts, our culture has made a ruling on marriage with which it is pleased; yet that ruling doesn’t change the culture with which we are engaged. Now is the time to move boldly – and graciously – into our communities with the gospel of Jesus Christ, proclaiming His Good News and leading people to salvation. There are so many people – 3.65 million in Tennessee alone – who are wandering through life spiritually lost. They don’t know they were created to worship God and be in fellowship with Him. We must tell them that Jesus came to bring them peace with God. We must aggressively be salt slowing the decay of our culture while being people of light, graciously sharing the love of Christ through the words of hope. Both require proclamation.

The journey ahead is not easy or comfortable. In fact, Jesus promised it wouldn’t be. However, our ultimate journey leads to the One who “founded the world by His wisdom and stretched out the heavens by His understanding.” It’s a joy to be on that journey with you.