Lugubrious Prognostications on the Supreme Court
Amid all of the lugubrious prognostications about the Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage, may I risk the ire of many by suggesting that this is a good thing? Certainly, it is unfortunate to see our country move to exceed the liberalism of Europe. Sadness must be in the heart of every Christ-honoring, Bible-believing follower of the Lord over the moral implications of the ruling and its devastating effect on the social order. More eloquently stated by a hundred others, yet I, too, sense the panic of attempting to negotiate our Brave New World.
So how can this ruling be a good thing? Romans 8:28 reminds us that “all things work together for good to those who love God….” Paul certainly was no Pollyanna seeing all that transpires as fabulous. But he did have a confident belief in the providence of God and knew that the Sovereign of the universe specialized in making good arise from evil. The key here is to love God. If one holds the most profound affections for God, he need never be found among the anguished hand-ringers. Our Lord has not abdicated His throne in favor of the Supreme Court.
Consider a few possibilities. In our constant press for numerical expansion, we have inducted into the memberships of our churches a host of people who have never been regenerated. We have exacerbated the problem by baptizing more and more young children who have sweet hearts but often little understanding of what it means to be born again. With so many “cultural Christians” in our churches, we look increasingly like a generation of “rock stars,” mixed with Hollywood, and more like a dose of the US Congress than we look like the Church of Jesus the Christ.
Since we have largely abandoned responsible church membership and church discipline and have been content with the status quo, God may well have allowed pressure to come on His people to separate believers from pretenders. The looming discrimination toward evangelical Christians will eventually give way to overt persecution. When that occurs, and suffering for faith continues to increase in America, God will prune the church for His glory. This decision by the Supreme Court, as immoral and as reprehensible as it is, may well be a part of the process God is allowing to produce a pure church.
How many sermons have you heard recently (last 10 years) on the return of Christ? Only wild-eyed, fundamentalist fanatics warn about the coming judgment of God. Yet, Jesus warned of conditions that will exist in the last days and urged the church to see these as signs of the coming of judgment and the end of the age. Paul and John echoed these sentiments, but the social niceties of the present era conspire against choosing those texts for sermons. So perhaps the hovering specter of persecution will revive the courage of preachers in evangelical congregations to teach the truths of the return of Christ as our hope and as God’s judgment on the world.
Baptisms are down, as everyone knows, because the inhabitants of our cities are no longer responsive to the Gospel. I suggest that the natives are no less responsive to the Gospel than they ever were. The problem is our evangelical cocoon. For too many of us, our faith is lived in the isolation of a warm cocoon of similarly-minded people. We go to church with them, read each other’s blogs and tweets, and follow ourselves on Facebook. But how much conversation do we have with homosexuals, adulterers, and others who desperately need to hear of Christ? Our brave new environment will force us to engage with people of different views and to do so in a far more loving and gentle way than we often have in the past.
Perhaps most important of all, how does the average attendee in our churches conceive of marriage? Can he immediately take an interrogator to Genesis and demonstrate the definition, purpose, and effects of marriage according to the plan of God? Does he have the first idea about the reasons and purposes that God had for creating sexual intimacy? When did he hear a sermon on that topic? Is it possible that God is saying, “If you will not preach the biblical truths about marriage, I will use the flawed logic, the moral turpitude, and the truncated historical awareness of the Supreme Court to draw a prophetic word from my prophets once again?”
Historically, God spoke to Israel through the Syrians, Assyrians, Babylonians and Egyptians. He did this when his own prophets became largely indistinguishable from the society to whom they were sent. While I deplore the Supreme Court ruling in most ways, I cannot but wonder if Pharaoh “being dead yet speaks.” If God is speaking to us through Pharaoh, God grant that the church will hear. And Dear Lord, would you one more time open the waters of the Red Sea and save your people?