Sunday, June 28, 2015

Do not give into bitterness, hate, or judgment. . .

On Friday, the Supreme Court struck down every state law that prohibited same sex couples to marry.  It came as no real surprise but signals the great divide among the peoples of America.  In a division that mirrors the legalization of abortion some 40 years ago, Americans stand bitterly divided. 

As we consider what this will mean for Churches who confess marriage as God’s design of man and woman, it is important that we not rush either to fear or to bitterness.  God’s people were never going to triumph at the ballot box or in the courtroom but by the bold proclamation of God’s Word, the Law and the Gospel.  This is our strength and this is our power. God has promised the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church. 

In addition, the world expects Christians to be angry and bitter.  Now is not the time to rage but to show the face of Christ, to speak not simply with the voice of no but the positive description of the relationship God designed and man and woman before the Lord, living in fidelity, mirroring His creative love with the gift of children, raising their families to know and love the Lord through His Church, and committed to love their neighbors with Christ’s all surpassing love.

We must also acknowledge that we live in a new social climate in which the values of God and His kingdom are increasingly in conflict with the values of a world clearly headed its own way.  Yet with this conflict comes the real opportunity to explain what we believe, to give reason for the hope that is within us, to teach God’s purpose in creation and redemption, and to show forth the power of His redeeming love in our own lives and our lives together as the Church.

We will face great pressure to conform, to be unfairly labeled and criticized, and to be persecuted for the sake of righteousness.  But do not be afraid.  God has not given us over to the enemies of His Word and God has given us all the resources of His grace to endure the day of trouble, to proclaim the Gospel without fear, and to live boldly the love of Christ.  Our calling is not to win popularity contests or to embrace every detour of culture but to be steadfast and faithful to Christ and receive the crown of glory that does not fade.

verbum dei manet aeternum -- The Word of the Lord endures forever.


John Joseph Flanagan said...

Pastor, it is a very serious time facing biblical Christians in our land. We were previously left in peace to follow our faith and convictions, and we enjoyed free speech, viewpoint expression, and we mistakingly believed these rights would continue indefinitely....all part of our American spirit of freedom. But the world, our world was turned upside down by SCOTUS and the progressives who aided the gay activists in their ruthless desire to marginalize our faith and convictions, and repress free speech as well. So the future is now a picture of storms and conflicts with our own society, and we must accept Our Lord's word that we shall prevail. You and I and millions of other American Christians are strangers and pilgrims in a hostile land, the land we once swore loyalty to, and honored. But when a generation of the wicked has emerged, we can see the persecutions are coming. Bring them on. My God is more powerful.

Gary said...

No one has take any right away from you, John. The Supreme Court simply declared equal rights for everyone. You are still welcome to hold your religious views in your home and in your church. I and the overwhelming majority of liberals and other non-religious, secular Americans would fight and die for your right to believe and worship as you choose.

However, you and your conservative Christian friends are no longer able to dictate legal restrictions for everyone in society, based on the teachings of an ancient, superstition-based, middle-eastern holy book.

The days of Christian "Sharia-law" are over.

Carl Vehse said...

Words mean something, especially when used by Supreme Court Justices dissenting against the hell-spawned Obergefell v. Hodges opinion of the SCOTUS-5.

Joined by Justice Thomas, Justice Scalia opens his dissent:

"I join THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s opinion in full. I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy."

Then on p. 6 of his dissent Justice Scalia writes:

"But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch."

Merriam-Webster gives the English definition of "putsch" as "a secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government."

Carl Vehse said...

"Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered." [Opinion of the Court, p. 27]

For the SCOTUSSPEAK-challenged, here is a translation:

"If you like your religious doctrine, you can keep your religious doctrine."

Gary said...

I don't think that Christians should get too worked up over this court decision. It isn't going to affect you personally, although it may effect the tax exempt status of some religious institutions. But tax exempt status for religious institutions is not a constitutional right.

The tax exempt status of religious institutions is based solely on the goodwill of the American people. Once the majority of Americans decide that your religious institution is no longer providing a social benefit, your tax exempt status will be removed. There is no mention in the Bible of a divine right for churches to have tax exempt status, either. So, if the majority of Americans choose to remove your tax exempt status, if you are going to follow the Bible, you must accept it.

Bottom line: Gay marriage is not going to affect you or your marriage...unless one of you is gay.


Anonymous said...

Gary. I guess the "Period" means that only you and the Pope himself speak Ex Cathedra. To say that the marriage ruling is not going to affect us personally *period* and not going to affect us or our marriage *period* is not only infallible it is hubris worthy of the Holy Pappa who continually flaunts his humility.

Take your periods and shove them up your semi-colons.

Of course, when churches shut down because they lose their tax-exempt status it will effect pastors personally...their families too.

Of course, historic church buildings falling to ruins because they have lost tax-exempt status will affect a city.

Of course when the Word of God is forced to move into peoples homes instead of a church building it is going to affect someone personally (at least the owner of the house, and it will affect the owners marriage when that happens).

Of course when you are already telling us that we "must accept it" that is a veiled threat and we will be affected either when we turn the other cheek or when we take widows mites to pay lawyers to defend our 1st amendment rights.

Period? Pope's Hubris.

Gary said...

A considerable percentage of tax-deductible giving in this country goes to churches, most of which is spent on pastors' salaries and building ever larger church sanctuaries. If all that money were instead given to TRUE charities, charities that feed the poor and help those in need, what a wonderful tribute to the legacy of Jesus.

David Gray said...

Gary, you don't seem to have a true understanding of the nature of human need.

Gary said...

"Sell your possessions, and give to the needy."

---Jesus of Nazareth

David Gray said...

And if that was all that God said then you'd have made a powerful point.

Gary said...

I was quoting Jesus, not a god.

Anonymous said...

Gary -

You are so predictably boring and repetitious, and quite trollish.

Put a sock in it.


Anonymous said...

Quote: The days of Christian "Sharia-law" are over.

Response: While Christians do define marriage as a man and a woman, this definition of marriage is not exclusively Christian and has been the defining nature of marriage for millenia. There is no Christian "sharia" law but there is a common perspective shared by Christians, Jews, Muslims, and every culture, religion, and society to the present day.

Kirk Skeptic said...

Gary, you libs are the ones persecuting bakers and even Orthodox rabbis to force you sodomite agenda upon the unwilling. Fight for the rights of dissidents? Only when it suits your purpose.

Gary said...

I support your right to discriminate against gays and lesbians in your homes and churches, but not in your businesses.

Imagine how you would feel if restaurants, groceries stores, and clothing stores refused service to Christian conservatives. If you are going to engage in public commerce, EVERYONE must be allowed to participate. Catholics cannot discriminate against Protestants. Christians cannot discriminate against Jews. Brunettes and blonds cannot discriminate against red heads.

Justice, liberty, and unfettered access to commerce. That's the American way.

Gary said...

Here is a scenario to consider: You and your wife are in an American city with a sizable Muslim population (Minneapolis, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego). You are at the airport and hail a cab. The cab driver puts your luggage in the trunk, opens the door for you and your wife to get into his cab, but, before allowing your wife into his cab, he insists that she put on a head covering, handing her one he keeps in the cab.

You are outraged and ask for another cab, however, all the cab drivers at the airport are Muslim, and they all demand that your wife where a head covering in their cab.

Their request for your wife to wear a head covering is based on their very devout religious beliefs regarding moral behavior for women. Should the law allow them to force your wife to wear a head covering if she wants to take a cab in that city or should the law demand that in order to have a cab license you MUST allow women into your cab without a head covering?

(You may think that this is a silly hypothetical situation, but in Minneapolis Muslim cab drivers have refused service to women who are not "properly dressed".)

Anonymous said...

Gary, Why the hate against Muslims now? Who is next? the Buddhist who insists on pacifism while the Muslim cab driver is verbally abusing the Christian who refuses to wear a multi-colored rainbow scarf while watching the homosexual kiss someone of the opposite sex just to get a tax-break that the founding fathers gave out of the goodness of their hearts, that doesn't affect anybody anyway? (and don't think this is hypothetical either! It happened just north of Bemidji.)
You are taking this conversation towards the center ring of a six ring circus.
Peanuts anyone?

Gary said...

So should an African-American caterer be required to cater an event requested by the local grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan?

Yes...if it is for his daughter's wedding.

No...if it is for an event sponsored by the Klan.

I believe that we should NOT force someone to assist or provide aid to any GROUP that promotes hate and discrimination. However, I believe that all businesses must provide services to INDIVIDUALS regardless of their personal beliefs even if they are racist, bigoted, and discriminatory.

Gary said...

Here's another scenario:

Should a gay caterer be forced by law to cater an event for the pastor of Westboro Baptist Church?

Yes, if it's for his daughter's wedding, and, the wedding reception will not be on Westboro Baptist's church property.

No, if it is for a church function.

Westboro Baptist Church is a hate group and therefore businesses should be able to refuse to provide services for them, but not for individuals in the church, regardless of how repugnant the individual's beliefs and behavior is to the business.

Anonymous said...

"Ayyyy! Gaaarr-eee!!!! Got a shark to jump?" The Fonz

Anonymous said...

If you give Gary a comment then he will type, if he has to type then he will have to write against someone, if he has to write against someone he will be refuted, so then he will have to write against...oh crud you know the rest... don't give Gary a comment is where it ends.