Trying to Respond Like Jesus to the SCOTUS Pronouncement on Same-Sex Marriage

Many Summit members have asked how to respond to last Friday’s Supreme Court legislation of the legitimacy of same-sex marriage for all 50 states.

Let me offer four thoughts about the decision, and then suggest a Jesus-centered way to pray for our country, and ourselves, during this time.

Thoughts:

1. The institutionalizing of same-sex marriage did not redefine marriage; rather, it is the fruit of a redefinition of marriage. Same-sex marriage is one star in a constellation of changes arising from a rejection of God’s pattern for family, a rejection that began decades ago. Many are amazed at the speed at which the cultural revolution on same-sex marriage took place, but that is because our society long ago rejected the Creator’s basic pattern for sex and relationships. When we enthroned our desires, rather than God’s designs, as the ultimate arbiter for what is right and wrong in relationships, the acceptance of same-sex marriages became inevitable. Improvisations on God’s designs have disastrous effects on society as a whole—most notably on the children—and this improvisation will be no different.

2. Now more than ever, we, as Christians, should realize that we are citizens of another Country. We have grown accustomed to living in a country quite hospitable to our faith, and we should be exceedingly grateful for that. But we should also realize that this has been a privilege almost unknown in Christian history.

The entire New Testament, for instance, was written not from the seats of cultural and political control, but from the cultural and political margins. The Apostle Peter did not open his letter to the church with “to those in power” but “to those in exile.”

The good news is that Christianity thrives in such a context. Many of our country’s great spiritual awakenings came in times of great political darkness, times when the country’s spirituality seemed at its lowest point. Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. As the darkness becomes darker, the light becomes more distinct. Christian families, operating by the Creator’s design and with the Creator’s blessing, will become more enigmatic and attractive than ever.

The early Christians recognized that the Lordship of Jesus was a direct challenge to the lordship of Caesar. Many paid the ultimate price for it. At its core, the Lordship of Jesus is a political claim: We pledge ultimate allegiance to Jesus, not to any court or the will of the people. If the government continues to exert an ever-increasing amount of control over our lives, we will reach a point when such a countercultural claim will not be tolerated.

I want neither to overplay or underplay the ramifications of this. The persecution that is coming is real—the first wave being economic. Some have already lost their livelihoods for refusal to conform to the party line. For years the LGBT community argued, “What could it possibly hurt to let these two people get married?” The answer now has become clear: It means that a lot of people who will not pick up the mantle of affirmation will lose their jobs.

This is going to be difficult for many of us to get used to. We are used to living in an environment that is friendly toward Christianity and expecting our social institutions to reflect, however imperfectly, Judeo-Christian ethics. The Supreme Court decision reminds us that we should temper our expectations, disabusing us of any hope to create a utopia here on earth. While we will never quit working for “a more perfect Union,” we know that the struggle between God and the Enemy rages in every sphere, especially in the halls of power.

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J.D. Greear
J.D. Greear, Ph.D., is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.

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