In a 5-4 ruling, the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, thus allowing legally married same-sex couples access to federal benefits. Times like this require delicate handling of the situation as people’s emotions are on edge. What now faces the church is a road of reaction to this cultural shift.
Most in the church who hold to the traditional view of homosexuality as a sin are resolving to continue trusting in the faithfulness of God. There’s nothing wrong with that. But we have to realize that such an event will give rise to questions from people in the church. So how exactly should we respond? Here are a couple of steps that the church can take to avoid conflict:
1. Stick to the Truth
Every pastor has the responsibility to know the truth and preach the truth. Jesus told Peter in John 21:17, “feed my sheep.” Understanding the truth in this time is critical. A quick study of the Bible would suggest that, indeed, homosexuality is a sin. Between God’s creation in Eden and Paul’s comments in Romans 1, the argument is sound.
And for the people who point to Jesus’ silence on the matter, consider Mark 10:1-12. Here Jesus is talking about divorce, but he only refers to marriage as a union between a man and his wife. Therefore, apply what I learned as a child: when the crowd goes the wrong way, go against the crowd. Do not bow to societal pressure to conform.
2. Put Down the Signs
It’s certainly not the way Jesus did things. He did confront people on the matter of their sin, but it was in a private. one-on-one setting (think woman at the well). It’s all well and good that you want to defend your faith, but has there been any fruit to those protests? If anything it makes Christians come off as those people who protest for abortion, probably a group Christians would not want to be associated with.
Can you even tell the two groups apart in pictures, though (aside from the rainbow signs, but even Westboro uses those so who can really tell)? It is easy to get sucked into an argument, especially if you are passionate about the subject.
3. Build Something Worth Defending
We defend traditional marriage as if it was something worth defending. The thing is, it is. But the problem is that we know what marriage is ideologically but we have nothing as a Church to demonstrate to the outside world. You have to wonder how many people who defend traditional marriage are divorced, unfaithful, or abusive.
Churches need to develop stronger marriages so they have an alternative to present to those who would otherwise scoff at the idea of a monogamous heterosexual marriage. Offering classes, seminars, and studies from a Biblical perspective can help turn back the tide.
4. Recognize Our Place
Why do we expect the United States of America to be a Christian nation? This idea might seem revolutionary, but consider it:
“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:11-17).
We don’t see anywhere in the New Testament the establishment of a Christian nation. It focuses more on the individual believer and local congregations. In general, there is a more kingdom-based focus in the minds of the authors.
The importance of prayer cannot be overstated. There are so many things that we must pray for that I can’t even list them all here. Not only because we feel the need to but we are told to from the Word,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” – Ephesians 6:18
Prayer has power to do incredible things in our lives and in the world around us. As we see this gathering darkness in the world, prayer is the key to unleashing the light.