Same-Sex Marriage and the Church: Jeremiah, Nehemiah and you
The move toward same-sex marriage in America is now complete, though far from over. On Friday, June 26, the United States Supreme Court, citing some sloppy reasons rooted in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
Reactions from traditional marriage proponents have been wise, insightful, encouraging and with a long-view of marriage and life in mind. Dr. Russell Moore said, “I am a conscientious dissenter from this ruling handed down by the Court today.”
In Oklahoma, two Oklahoma Baptist leaders spoke. Dr. Anthony L. Jordan, Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Executive Director-Treasurer said, “Nothing has changed and everything has changed. Our position on marriage remains the same because our God and His truth have not changed. Marriage is biblically defined as the union of one man and one woman. A Supreme Court ruling, vote of congress, or poll of the people cannot change the truth of God’s Word. The landscape of law and our culture has changed. People of faith will face new challenges, and our religious freedom will likely come under assault. We will face those challenges with uncompromising faith and inclusive love for all.”
Dr. Hance Dilbeck, Senior Pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, who is serving as BGCO President, said, “This court ruling reflects the troubling shift we are seeing in our culture, away from the biblical view of marriage. At the same time, we recognize that the Christian view of marriage and sexuality always has been distinct, and often counter cultural. We stand by these convictions, and we will continue to contend for our views and live them out in our churches, while showing kindness and Christ’s love to all of our neighbors.”
I admire all three of these men tremendously and agree with their sentiments. It would be tempting to take a “Jeremiah” perspective in such a clear cultural defeat. Recall the weeping prophet, who did what God called him to do, did sometimes lapse into an overly woefully attitude. Even so, Jeremiah, in the midst of captivity, offered these beautiful words.
“This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says to all the exiles I deported from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters. Take wives for your sons and give your daughters to men in marriage so that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there; do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it has prosperity, you will prosper’” (Jeremiah 29:4-7).
Nehemiah did that kind of building in his own day. While he saw how bad things were, instead of just speaking into the situation, he did something about it. Instead of despairing, he set out to build. Take time even today to read the Book of Nehemiah.
When it comes to marriage, may we be like Nehemiah, not cursing those with whom with disagree. Let’s instead build a cultural of marriage within the church, that even the world recognizes as something joyous, fruitful and to be desired.
God help us.