This morning the Supreme Court ruled on two important cases concerning gay marriage. First, they overturned the federal law, The Defense of Marriage Act, which had defined marriage on a federal level as between one man and one woman. Secondly, they punted on ruling on Proposition 8, a California law, which had also defined marriage as between one man and one woman. I say they punted because the justices did not rule on the merits of the proposition but instead ruled that the defenders of the proposition did not have standing. In the end it will eventually mean that gay marriage will be reinstated in California.
How should Christians be responding to these rulings? I believe there are at least three responses that we should keep in mind. If you are a Bible believing Christian you will be disappointed in the rulings. But now what?
- Remember that the Lord is sovereign, even in this. It is easy to become disillusioned when we hear that our Supreme Court has ruled in this way. However, it is important in such times to remember that the Supreme Court is not supreme. The Lord is supreme. Nothing happens in history, including Supreme Court decisions, which are outside his sovereign decree (Isaiah 46:8-10). We may not understand why he decrees such things but we do know that this is part of his plan. We will not lose hope because we know that the Lord is still in control and will, in his time, bring righteousness and justice.
- We must be faithful to biblical teaching. There has been a monumental movement in public opinion over the last five years towards acceptance of gay marriage. Unfortunately, it has included a shift within the church. We cannot determine our theology based on the views of society. In the coming years there is going to be an increased pressure on the church to first accept and then affirm gay marriage and the gay lifestyle. We must not shrink back, even as we become more and more of a minority, in believing and maintaining biblical standards. We cannot be salt and light in our world (Matthew 5:13-16) if we are no different in our thinking than the world.
- We must love those in the LBGT community with the love of Christ. Most of us know members of the LBGT community and many of us will soon know gays and lesbians who will be getting married. The Lord in his sovereignty has placed us in these relationships. They are our co-workers, our neighbors, and their kids play on our kid’s baseball team. We should not shrink back from such contacts. They do not have a disease that will rub off on us if we have interaction with them. They are sinners who need the grace of God and need to hear the gospel. In that sense they are no different than you or me. All of us have the same need for the Savior. Your personal sin may be different from theirs, but your need for Christ was and is no different. We, who were sinful by nature and totally depraved and have experienced the grace of God in Christ, ought to be the most gracious and loving towards other sinners.
We do not know what the future holds. It does seem likely that the cultural battles over issues like gay marriage will be settled more and more in ways that are contrary to Scripture. But we must not lose hope. And we must not lose our commitment to be salt and light in the world governed by our Lord.