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A Time To Stand

My heart is both sad and challenged as I write this blog. I believe that June 26, 2015 will stand as a day of great significance in the history of the Church of Christ in the United States of America. On this date, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges, by a 5-4 majority, that the Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of State. I love our country and I am fiercely loyal to our nation and what it stands for in this world … but I cannot stand in agreement with this interpretation. I find myself in the position of the apostles of old as they faced oppressive pagan authorities who attempted to thwart the spreading of the Gospel – “I must obey God rather than man.” Acts 5:29 In my opinion, this court has disregarded thousands of years of defining marriage as a God-ordained union between one man and one woman, and the affect it will have upon our culture will be broad and impactful. In the light of this monumental interpretation by the highest court in our land, we must articulate what we believe about marriage. We must not define marriage in terms of values or culture alone. Our challenge is to talk about marriage the way Jesus and the apostles did. Marriage must be seen as a picture of the union of Christ and his church (Eph. 5:32). Scripture defines marriage solely in terms of the union of a man and a woman (e.g., Matthew 19:4–6; Mark 10:5–9; cf. Genesis 1:27–28, 2:20–24; Ephesians 5:21–32). Not only that, Scripture prohibits same-sex intercourse (Romans 1:26–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10; cf. Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). When it comes to same sex marriage, the Scripture stands clear and uncompromising. So then, must we. At the same time, we must lace our convictions with love. We must stand with conviction and with kindness, with truth and with grace, with strength and with love. We must hold to our values and love those who hate us for them. We must not only speak Christian truths; we must speak with Christian love. We must make certain that we convey our truth with mercy and with an invitation to new life in Christ. The early church ministered under an oppressive pagan empire and grew in power, strength and numbers. We can too. Lastly, we must intensify our prayer for this great nation. I am reminded of the challenge found in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (NLT) So, let us stand … let us love … let us pray! Can you say amen?