Friday, June 26, 2015

Sorry, I'm not Circling the Wagons on Homosexual Marriage

Since this morning, when I first heard of the Supremes’ decision to give carte blanche to gay weddings, I've been reading a litany of Facebook posts and Internet articles about how churches can weather the storm that’s apparently coming our way. 

One article advises that the churches draft a clear statement of faith that includes “a statement on marriage, gender, and sexuality." It goes on to say “Be sure that your statement on gender identity establishes a normative connection between gender and biological sex.” Say. Didn’t we already do that? I think it’s found in Genesis 1:26-28 and elsewhere.

Now what if a same-sex couple comes and wants you to perform their marriage? Another article recommends that you just tell the couple you only marry members of your church. That way you don't have to marry them plus you avoid any legal push back. Well, I have a better idea. Just say, "I don't marry homosexual or lesbian people because homosexuality is a sin against a Holy God. What’s more, marriage is between a man and a woman. Now I would be happy to tell you how all your sins can be forgiven and you can receive the gift of eternal life.”

Another writer offers a way to handle that testy problem of saying "No" if a gay group wants to rent your facility. Just put a clause in your insurance that states in no uncertain terms that renting parties need a pricey insurance rider. That ought to dissuade them. 

Then there’s the ever-present problem of not hiring that openly gay church organist. It’s easy. Just hold an audition. Then say, “Sorry but I really didn’t like the pianissimo before the Coda. Mendelsohn wouldn’t approve.”

Finally, what do pastors do if a gay, married [titular] couple shows up to services? One author says,

This certainly means thinking afresh about what we will and will not do when, for example, a gay married couple, seeking to draw closer to God, shows up in church and wants to get involved. It nearly goes without saying that we will welcome them unconditionally as we would anyone who walks in the door. But what does love look like in this particular instance? How much participation do we encourage before we ask them to adopt the Christian sexual ethic?

Wait. A gay couple comes to my church seeking to get closer to God? Does that mean they are rethinking their homosexuality? And then he asks "How much participation do we encourage before we ask them to adopt the Christian sexual ethic?" I think we may have that backward. How about we present everything in such a way that adoption of the Christian sexual ethic [is there another one that works?] is of immediate import? Or is there something special about these sinners that requires extemporaneity? 

I guess what’s troubling me is this. Most, not all, but most of the council I’ve read aimed at assisting evangelical churches, now that the Court has approved the marriage revolution, makes it sound like the churches are nineteenth-century wagon trail settlers under assault by Cherokees. And so here’s the modern-day equivalent of “Best Steps on How to Circle the Wagons.”

I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it. For one, I don’t plan to change a thing. If I have to start thinking of inventive ways not to be shut down and sent to a reprogramming center, then you’ve won already. Second, God is with us. That means that he is my strength and my shield (Ps. 28:7). Third, if you want our building you can have it. We have a better one in the heavens. And I’m afraid you can’t get your hands on that one. Finally, why all the hand-wringing over possible persecution? It says, “For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil 1:29).

So thanks for the advice on how to navigate the recent Court ruling. I know your heart is in the right place. But the fact remains, they can never take the True Church. Jesus said, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). They can’t take our salvation. That is “hid with Christ” (Col. 3:3). And if they really want to eliminate us, it wouldn’t be the first time Christians were called upon for such a high honor. 

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