In response to Friday’s Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, John MacArthur wrote to the alumni of the Master’s Seminary, the institution he founded in 1986. He focused specifically on how pastor’s should lead their people at this time. Here is the letter in its entirety.
Dear Master’s Man,
The highest court in the land has passed its judgment. The headlines proclaim that a slim majority of Supreme Court justices considers freedom of sexual orientation a right for all Americans. This exchange of one set of values in favor of another does not come as a surprise to us who already know that the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe (2 Cor. 4:4). June 26th, 2015 stands as a significant milestone in the American demonstration of this ancient reality.
In the coming days, you will be expected as a shepherd to provide commentary and comfort to your flock. This is a critical hour for pastors, and stands as another reminder of why proper training is crucial.
I’m writing this short message as one pastor to another. Media outlets are bustling with updates, and I don’t need to add my voice to the general fray. Instead, I want to help you shepherd your church through this confusing time. In addition to the helpful articles on the Preaching and Preachers Blog, I also want to communicate the below thoughts that I trust will help you frame the issue in a biblical way.
1. No human court has the authority to redefine marriage, and the verdict yesterday does not change the God ordained reality of marriage. God was not defeated in this ruling, and every marriage will be judged according to biblical grounds on the last day. Nothing will prevail against Him (Proverbs 21:30) and nothing will thwart the advance of His Kingdom (Dan 4:35).
2. The Word of God has pronounced judgment on any nation that would reclassify evil as good, darkness as light, and bitter as sweet (Isaiah 5:20). As a nation, America continues to put herself in the crosshairs of judgment. As a proclaimer of truth, you are responsible for never compromising on these issues. In every way you must stand firm.
3. This ruling proves that we are clearly in the minority, and a people set apart (1 Peter 2:9-11). As I wrote in the book Why Government Can’t Save You, the standards that shaped Western culture and American society have given way to practical atheism and moral relativism. This decision has simply accelerated the rate of decline. A country will not rise above the morality of its citizens, and the majority of Americans don’t have a biblical worldview.
4. Religious liberty is not promised in the Bible. In America, the church of Jesus Christ has enjoyed unprecedented freedom. This is changing, and the new normal may include persecution that is new to us. There has never been a more important time for gifted men to help lead the church by capably handling the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
5. Marriage is not the ultimate battleground, and our enemies are not the men and women who seek to destroy it (2 Corinthians 10:4). The battleground is the Gospel. Be careful not to replace patience, love, and prayer with bitterness, hatred, and politics. As you carefully guide your flock around the dangerous pitfalls ahead, remind them of the indomitable power of forgiveness through the cross of Christ.
6. Romans 1 clearly identifies the evidence for the wrath of God on a nation: sexual immorality followed by homosexual immorality culminating in a reprobate mind. This most recent step reminds us that God’s wrath has come in full. We now see reprobate minds at every level of leadership – in the Supreme Court, the presidency, cabinet, legislature, press and culture. If our diagnosis is in line with Romans 1 then we must also follow the prescription found in Romans 1 – we are not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation! In this day it is our divine duty and calling to strengthen the church, families, and gospel testimony by shedding the pragmatic nonsense that distracts the church from its mission given by God. Homosexuals—like all other sinners—need to be warned of impending eternal judgment and lovingly offered the forgiveness, grace and new life through repentance and faith in the lord Jesus Christ
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.
We are praying for your steadfast proclamation of truth, and your uncompromising stand for Christ.
This open letter was originally posted here.