Along with everyone else, I am taking in the news of the recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United States to grant the right of same-sex marriage in all fifty states. While I disagree strongly with this fundamental change in definition, I am not surprised. And I am just as confident in the truth of the gospel as I was yesterday.
Certainly, questions of religious liberty become more important than ever when it comes to the belief and practice of the local church and Christian institutions. I am grateful to see this stated clearly in the majority opinion of the court:
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.
I pray that this protection remains, and will use it to proclaim the gospel without apology. I recently shared with the Biblical Recorder:
Religious freedom has always been one of the foundational rights in our society, and something that the founders of this nation deemed to be crucial. It is increasingly important in a day when the public square is in danger of shrinking. The simple request that the state protect the right to dissent on religious grounds has become more complicated, particularly as we navigate a fundamental disagreement over the definition of one word: marriage. We cannot walk away from the pursuit of biblical truth as expressed by our Lord through an inerrant Bible.
But just as I believe that the U.S. Constitution gives us the freedom and right to express belief, I also believe that the gospel frees us to love. We must continue to respect our neighbors and pursue civil discourse in an open public square. I will continue to affirm marriage as a covenantal, monogamous relationship between a man and a woman, but I also love every person regardless of their views or lifestyle and I am against any expression of hatred toward individuals. We can never stop standing for religious freedom, and we can never stop using that freedom in a way that honors our Lord. Our hope is in King Jesus. We must proclaim his gospel and extend His grace to others, grace that meets us where we are and transforms us into His image.
I am most grateful for the words of Dr. Russell Moore in response to this decision just a few moments ago, and I echo them: