Friday, June 26, 2015

The Supreme Court Is Not My Shepherd (the Same-Sex Marriage Decision)

If the Supreme Court was my shepherd I would be in extreme wanting today. Fortunately my moral and ethical framework is not, and never has been, a function of our country's Supreme Court rulings. I began working out my ethical-theological viewpoint on same-sex issues back in 1981. I have occasionally presented my position on this blog, and in a number of other venues. See:

"Same-Sex Marriage Is Not About "Rights""

"Same-Sex Marriage Is Not About "Marriage Equality," But About the Definition of 'Marriage'"

Christianity Today has a helpful article which I'll post in full - "Here We Stand: An Evangelical Definition of Marriage: Nearly 100 leaders respond to Supreme Court legalizing marriage." 

As evangelical Christians, we dissent from the court’s ruling that redefines marriage. The state did not create the family, and should not try to recreate the family in its own image. We will not capitulate on marriage because biblical authority requires that we cannot. The outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling to redefine marriage represents what seems like the result of a half-century of witnessing marriage’s decline through divorce, cohabitation, and a worldview of almost limitless sexual freedom. The Supreme Court’s actions pose incalculable risks to an already volatile social fabric by alienating those whose beliefs about marriage are motivated by deep biblical convictions and concern for the common good.
The Bible clearly teaches the enduring truth that marriage consists of one man and one woman. From Genesis to Revelation, the authority of Scripture witnesses to the nature of biblical marriage as uniquely bound to the complementarity of man and woman. This truth is not negotiable. The Lord Jesus himself said that marriage is from the beginning (Matt. 19:4-6), so no human institution has the authority to redefine marriage any more than a human institution has the authority to redefine the gospel, which marriage mysteriously reflects (Eph. 5:32). The Supreme Court’s ruling to redefine marriage demonstrates mistaken judgment by disregarding what history and countless civilizations have passed on to us, but it also represents an aftermath that evangelicals themselves, sadly, are not guiltless in contributing to. Too often, professing evangelicals have failed to model the ideals we so dearly cherish and believe are central to gospel proclamation.
Evangelical churches must be faithful to the biblical witness on marriage regardless of the cultural shift. Evangelical churches in America now find themselves in a new moral landscape that calls us to minister in a context growing more hostile to a biblical sexual ethic. This is not new in the history of the church. From its earliest beginnings, whether on the margins of society or in a place of influence, the church is defined by the gospel. We insist that the gospel brings good news to all people, regardless of whether the culture considers the news good or not.
The gospel must inform our approach to public witness. As evangelicals animated by the good news that God offers reconciliation through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, we commit to:
  • Respect and pray for our governing authorities even as we work through the democratic process to rebuild a culture of marriage (Rom. 13:1-7);
  • teach the truth about biblical marriage in a way that brings healing to a sexually broken culture;
  • affirm the biblical mandate that all persons, including LGBT persons, are created in the image of God and deserve dignity and respect;
  • love our neighbors regardless of whatever disagreements arise as a result of conflicting beliefs about marriage;
  • live respectfully and civilly alongside those who may disagree with us for the sake of the common good;
  • cultivate a common culture of religious liberty that allows the freedom to live and believe differently to prosper.
The redefinition of marriage should not entail the erosion of religious liberty. In the coming years, evangelical institutions could be pressed to sacrifice their sacred beliefs about marriage and sexuality in order to accommodate whatever demands the culture and law require. We do not have the option to meet those demands without violating our consciences and surrendering the gospel. We will not allow the government to coerce or infringe upon the rights of institutions to live by the sacred belief that only men and women can enter into marriage.
The gospel of Jesus Christ determines the shape and tone of our ministry.Christian theology considers its teachings about marriage both timeless and unchanging, and therefore we must stand firm in this belief. Outrage and panic are not the responses of those confident in the promises of a reigning Christ Jesus. While we believe the Supreme Court has erred in its ruling, we pledge to stand steadfastly, faithfully witnessing to the biblical teaching that marriage is the chief cornerstone of society, designed to unite men, women, and children. We promise to proclaim and live this truth at all costs, with convictions that are communicated with kindness and love.
A.B Vines
Senior Pastor
New Seasons Church
Afshin Ziafat 
Lead Pastor
Providence Church - Frisco, TX.
Alistair Begg 
Senior Pastor
Parkside Church
Andrew T. Walker 
Director of Policy Studies
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Bart Barber 
First Baptist Church of Famersville
Bruce Frank 
Senior Pastor
Biltmore Baptist Church
Bruce Riley Ashford 
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Bryan Carter 
Concord Church
Bryan Chapell 
Senior Pastor
Grace Presbyterian Church
Bryan Loritts 
Pastor of Preaching and Mission
Trinity Grace Church, Kainos Movement
Bryant Wright 
Senior Pastor
Johnson Ferry Baptist Church
Carmen Fowler LaBerge 
Presbyterian Lay Committee
Christine Hoover 
Christopher Yuan 
Speaker, Author, Bible Teacher
Clint Pressley 
Pastor & Former VP of SBC
Hickory Grove Baptist Church
Collin Hansen 
Editorial Director
The Gospel Coalition
D.A. Carson 
Research Professor of NT
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
D.A. Horton
Daniel Darling 
Vice-President of Communications
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Daniel Patterson 
Chief of Staff
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Danny Akin 
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
David E. Prince
Assistant Professor of Christian Preaching
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
David French 
National Review
David Jeremiah
Senior Pastor
Shadow Mountain Community Church
David S. Dockery 
Trinity International University/Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
David Platt 
International Mission Board
David Uth 
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Orlando
Dean Inserra 
Lead Pastor
City Church, Tallahassee
Dennis Rainey 
Family Life Today
Eric Teetsel 
Executive Director
Manhattan Declaration
Erwin W. Lutzer 
Senior Pastor
The Moody Church
Fred Luter 
Franklin Avenue Baptist Church
Gabriel Salguero 
National Latino Evangelical Coalition
H.B. Charles Jr.
Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church
Heath Lambert
Executive Director
Association of Certified Biblical Counselors
Hunter Baker 
Associate Professor of Political Science; Dean of Instruction
Union University
James MacDonald 
Harvest Bible Chapel
J.P. Moreland 
Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
Biola University
J.D. Greear 
The Summit Church
J.I. Packer 
Board of Governors’ Professor, Theology
Regent College
Jason Allen 
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Jeff Iorg
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
Jim Daly 
Focus on the Family
Jimmy Scroggins 
Lead Pastor
Family Church, West Palm Beach
John Bradosky Presiding Bishop North American Lutheran Church
John Stonestreet 
Speaker and Fellow
The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview
Johnny Hunt 
First Baptist Church of Woodstock
Jonathan Leeman 
Editorial Director
Juan R. Sanchez, Jr. 
Senior Pastor
High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, Texas
Justin Taylor
Karen Swallow Prior 
Fellow, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Convention Fellow
Professor of English, Liberty University
Ken Whitten 
Senior Pastor
Idlewild Baptist Church
Kevin DeYoung
Senior Pastor
University Reformed Church
Kevin Ezell 
North American Mission Board
Kevin Smith 
Teaching Pastor
Highview Baptist Church
Mark Dever 
Senior Pastor
Capitol Hill Baptist Church
Marvin Olasky 
WORLD Magazine
Matt Carter 
Pastor of Preaching and Vision
The Austin Stone Community Church
Matt Chandler 
Senior Pastor
The Village Church
Matthew Lee Anderson 
Lead Writer
Mere Orthodoxy
Mike Cosper
Pastor of Worship and Arts
Sojourn Community Church
Mike Glenn 
Senior Pastor
Brentwood Baptist Church
Naghmeh Abedini
Nancy Leigh DeMoss 
Revive our Hearts
Nathan Lino 
Lead Pastor
Northeast Houston Baptist Church
Owen Strachan
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Paul Nyquist 
President and CEO
Moody Bible Institute
Phillip Bethancourt 
Executive Vice President
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
R. Albert Mohler, Jr. 
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Ramon Osorio 
Hispanic National Church Mobilizer
North American Mission Board
Randy Alcorn 
Eternal Perspectives Ministries
Ray Ortlund 
Lead Pastor
Immanuel Nashville
Richard D. Land
Southern Evangelical Seminary
Richard Mouw 
Professor of Faith and Public Life
Fuller Seminary
Robert Sloan 
Houston Baptist University
Roger Spradlin 
Senior Pastor
Valley Baptist Church, Bakersfield, CA
Ron Sider 
Senior Distinguished Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry, and Public Policy
Palmer Seminary at Eastern University
Ronnie Floyd 
President, Southern Baptist Convention
Senior Pastor, Cross Church
Rosaria Butterfield 
Author and Speaker
Russell Moore 
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Sam Storms 
Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision
Bridgeway Church
Samuel W. "Dub" Oliver 
Union University
Samuel Rodriguez 
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Thomas White 
Cedarville University
Timothy George 
Dean and Professor of Divinity
Beeson Divinity School
Todd Wagner 
Senior Pastor
Watermark Church
Tommy Nelson Sr.
Denton Bible Church
Tony Evans
Senior Pastor
Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship
Tony Merida 
Pastor for Preaching
Imago Dei Church
Tory Baucum 
Truro Anglican Church
Trillia Newbell 
Director of Community Outreach
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
Trip Lee
Rapper, Author, Pastor
Vance Pitman 
Senior Pastor
Hope Church, Las Vegas, NV