Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex couples, nationwide, have the right to marry. Although the full text of their decision can be found online, the bottom line is that same-sex couples can now be married in all 50 states. In light of this ruling, the elders of Redeemer want to address this issue from a few different angles. Our hope is that you would more fully understand Redeemer’s conviction about marriage and feel more equipped to talk about this issue in a humble and courageous manner. The contents of this post will fall into three categories: the authority of Scripture, the biblical mandate for marriage, and a few next steps.
The Authority of Scripture
Any conversation about sexuality, marriage, and love will almost certainly begin with a statement about authority. Depending on whom you are talking with, this authority may be a mixture of personal experience, real-life occurrences, scientific observations, political ideologies or gut instincts. If you listen closely and ask a few questions, you will begin to see that everyone attributes their opinions and beliefs to an authoritative figure (God, self, government, science, etc.). Human opinions and deeply held convictions are rooted in the soil of authority and, unless that authority is perfect in wisdom and perfect in power, it really should not be trusted as a final authority. The Bible does make the claim of final authority about God and we accept it as such. So, the question of authority is an important ingredient in this conversation because it provides the foundation for your worldview, whether you are a Christian, a non-Christian, an atheist or a seeker.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we trust in the perfect wisdom and perfect power of God Almighty. Furthermore, we believe that his perfect wisdom and perfect power are revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures. Simply put, we believe that the unchanging God has revealed his unchanging will and unchanging nature through the unchanging Word (2 Timothy 3:14-16). So, that is our authority; He is our authority. Therefore, our real-world experiences, our scientific observations, modern cultural trends, sociological research and personal gut instincts must be examined in light of his authoritative word. As Christians, we do not get to rewrite his word, revise his will or redefine his boundaries. When the grace of God awakens our hearts and we commit to follow Jesus, we are making a statement about whose authority we trust and value (Psalm 119:9-16).
Simply put, we believe that the unchanging God has revealed his unchanging will and unchanging nature through the unchanging Word. So, that is our authority; He is our authority.
At Redeemer, we affirm that the Word of God is our final authority on issues of sexuality, marriage, love and all other aspects of life.
The Biblical Mandate for Marriage
With the preceding paragraphs in view, we want to affirm that we believe that God’s good and perfect design for marriage is clearly defined for us in the Bible. It is our biblical conviction that God designed marriage to be a committed, covenantal relationship between one man and one woman. In the context of this covenantal union, a husband and wife are able to enjoy spiritual intimacy, emotional intimacy, and physical intimacy. Here are just a few of the Scriptures that clearly define the marriage relationship that God has intended.
– Genesis 2:18-25
– Proverbs 18:22
– Matthew 19:4-6
– 1 Corinthians 7:3-4
– Ephesians 5:22-33
At this juncture, it is important to note that we maintain that God has ordained the institution of marriage for our human flourishing and his ultimate glory. This mandate cannot be revised or redefined by court systems, human institutions or cultural shifts. Revisionist attempts that allow for same-sex marriages assume that the institution of marriage, as ordained by God, is somehow flawed or in need of some modification. It assumes that human emotion and human desires need not submit to God’s definition for marital boundaries and covenantal love. The God of the Scriptures is perfect in wisdom and he created the one-flesh union between a husband and wife knowing it would reflect his wisdom fully and completely.
Although we maintain this biblical view of marriage, we do want to acknowledge that same-sex attraction, same-sex desires, and homosexual thoughts are real and present feelings for many people who love Jesus. For those who struggle to honor God and not act on those desires, we want to say that the grace of Jesus is sufficient and the community offered here at Redeemer is a powerful ally in the fight against loneliness and unmet desires. You can trust Jesus to be patient and merciful as you walk with other believers in humility and dependence.
What Comes Next?
There is certainly a lot more that could be written about this ruling and the theological landscape of our convictions. But, I want to finish by giving you a few things to do.
1. You Can Pray
Prayer is such a vital part of the Christian life and, because of Jesus our High Priest, we know that God hears our prayers. Pray for wisdom in navigating this issue, pray for family members or friends that are affected by this ruling, pray for boldness among the evangelical church, and pray for perseverance in this broken world. Prayer is such a vital part of the Christian life and, because of Jesus our High Priest, we know that God hears our prayers. Pray for wisdom in navigating this issue, pray for family members or friends that are affected by this ruling, pray for boldness among the evangelical church, and pray for perseverance in this broken world.
2. Don’t Make Assumptions And Listen With Humility
Christians and non-Christians will have a variety of different opinions about this SCOTUS ruling. So, when you are engaging anyone in a conversation about this do not assume one way or the other. Ask clarifying questions, listen with humility and commit to stay calm. Everyone will enter this conversation with a high-degree of commitment to their stance, but no one will walk away being helped if either side erupts in anger and belittlement.
3. Talk About This With Friends And Family
You and I know people who are directly affected by this ruling. The beauty of the Gospel is that it speaks to every area of life. So, ask your friends and family members what they believe about Jesus, his death and resurrection, the authority of the Bible, and the redemption of humanity. You don’t lose anything by showing others that you care for them and love them.
For centuries, Christians have lived in cultures that are indifferent toward, or even hostile to, a Christ-centered worldview. But, Jesus says, “Take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Lastly, please know this, even if you disagree with Redeemer’s stance on this issue, or disagree with some of the contents above, you are welcome to worship with us, grow alongside of us, and look to Jesus with us. It is Jesus Christ who we are running towards, and I hope that you will continue to run with us.