The Supreme Court has declared that gay marriage is now the law of the land. As a sign of postmodern politics, this new law of the land was not voted upon by the people (in fact, where the people had a choice, they overwhelmingly rejected the legality of gay marriage), nor was it enacted by the peoples’ representatives in Congress. It was simply a power play – and the church needs to remember this. While there is discussion of protecting the church’s religious beliefs, this Supreme Court has demonstrated that it does not care what the Constitution says, it does not concern itself about precedent (how long ago was it that when this Court ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act, it declared that the definition of marriage should be reserved for the States?), and it does not care what the people as a whole think.
So what should a church do? First, we need to remind ourselves that the local church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). Had the churches of America upheld the truth of Scripture as they should have, perhaps we would not find ourselves in our current situation. One problem, of course, is that there are “evangelical” churches that have reinterpreted Scripture to argue in favor of gay marriage. We were not surprised to hear that liberals would embrace gay marriage, but it is disappointing to see how many supposed evangelicals have been willing to accept this new definition of marriage.
Second, the church needs to honor government. Baptists have always accepted the validity of human government (Rom 13:1). God’s covenant with Noah (Gen 8:20-9:19) gave to mankind the right and responsibility to govern. Romans 13:1-7 gives several reasons for human government. One is to maintain good in society (v 3-4). Pagan states have the human conscience (Rom 2:14-15) and God’s revelation in nature (Rom 1:18-20) as a foundation for their laws. Nations that have a Judeo-Christian background have historically based their laws on this tradition. In Paul’s discussion of law in Romans 1 and 2, he concluded that those without the Scriptures and those with the Word have similar laws. Because all men are created in the image of God and have a common conscience, basic laws around the world tend to be very much alike. Another reason for human government is to punish offenders (Rom 13:4). When the state restrains evil and rewards good, it is the “minister” or “servant” of God. Paul does not address this, but logically it follows that when the state restrains good and rewards evil, it ceases to be a “minister” of God. A final purpose is to promote the general welfare of the population and praise those who do good. In 1 Tim 2:1-4, Paul commanded Christians to pray for civil rulers. It is notable that the Emperor of Rome at this time was Nero, the man who would eventually order Paul’s execution. What we find today, however, is that the State has rejected God. The current administration has made it abundantly clear that religious liberty is to be restricted to quiet whispers to one another inside the walls of our respective churches – religious liberty for them does not allow religion in the marketplace.
Third, Bible believing churches must take the truth to the marketplace. At this point, we must take an Acts 5:29 position – “We must obey God rather than man.”We have been too quiet and have thus played into the hands of the liberal politicians who seek to silence the church. Political liberals want nothing more than to marginalize Christianity (making us more like England or France, their “exemplary” nations), and we should do everything possible to disappoint them!
Fourth, there are some practical and “political” steps a church should take. Each church should include a definition of marriage somewhere in its official documents – either its constitution or its statement of faith. This does not have to be elaborate. Something as simple as, “Marriage is defined in Scripture as the formal union of one man and one woman (Gen 2:24; Eph 5:31) and a covenant between a man and a woman before God (Mal. 2:14). As such, a wedding ceremony is an act of worship (Prov. 18:22; 19:14; Eph 5:22-33). Weddings in our church are a type of worship service. All sexual activity (i.e., fornication, adultery, pornography and homosexuality) outside this covenanted union is sin.” Churches may want to consider limiting the use of its facilities to its members. Churches that rent out its facilities to the general public may find themselves forced to rent their buildings for same-sex marriage services. Understand that the LBGT advocates are not finished. They have won the court battle, but they are not content that their position is now merely legal. They will continue to pressure those who do not promote their position.
Finally, a church that is not part of an organization or association should consider becoming a part of a larger unit. Biblically, a church is an autonomous organization, but there is an emphasis on church fellowship and association in the New Testament. Politically, a single church has a small voice in the courts. Being part of a larger association may provide some additional protection. Consider becoming a part of your state association or a national organization such as the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship (www.fbfi.org), the New Testament Association (www.ntaibc.org), or the Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America (www.ibfna.org).