The individual Christian’s response to the Supreme Court’s recent decision to nationally legalize homosexual marriage is not identical with that of the local church. The local church has a unique function and has been Divinely limited in its operations. Individual Christian’s have the opportunit ot band together in organizations to combat this decision. This is not an option for the church. (For the sake of clarity, I am defining the church as an organized assembly that regularly meets together and is comprised of Christians in a committed fellowship with one another. In other words, the visible local churches, not the invisible body of Christ comprised of all the saved.) Individual Christians may band together in political action committees, pro-marriage organizations and other lobbyist groups to use all legal means to overturn the supreme Court’s decision. Christians have the liberty, Biblically and nationally, to use all legal means at their disposal to correct the court’s egregious error. However, churches do not have that same liberty.
The Bible gives a very narrow definition of the functions of the church. The church does not have liberty to seek to operate outside those Biblically described boundaries. The church must continue to preach and teach the Word as has been done since the very beginning of the church age. The ministry of the church is far to important to be sidetracked into pressing political matters. To the local churches a large part of the response to the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is to carry on as normal- or at least carry on with what the Bible defines as normal for the church. The church’s task is to prepare Christians to minister to one another and to the unsaved. This task has not changed. While the church may need to provide some specific instruction on how deal with difficult questions unsaved friends might bring up, the ministry of the church has not been altered by the recent ruling.
The message of the church must remain solidly grounded in Biblical truth. The gospel is the only hope this nation has. Stopping homosexual marriage is not the answer for America’s moral malaise. The answer is the transformative work of the gospel. The church must clearly preach the Word of God every single Sunday. The culture is not going to be changed by politically driven ministries. The culture is going to be changed by the Word of God. Churches must be preaching the Word and equipping their members to go into the community proclaiming the Word.
Churches also need to be prepared for the challenges that are coming. Seeing the warning signs of religious persecution in this most recent decision and making wise preparation is not alarmism but realism. The deliberations and dissenting opinions before the Supreme Court gave strong hints of future troubles. Churches will face loss of tax exempt status, lawsuits and fines. The church needs to prepare itself to stand with grace and conviction in the legal fights to come. Churches need to prepare themselves to support those members who lose jobs and assets because they have refused to support the mandate of this new America.
Prayer for the nation and individual leaders must echo through the halls and from the sanctuaries of churches all across our nation. Prayer for the salvation of the lost and for righteous leaders. Prayer must not be joined with fear. Students of the Bible and church history are not at all surprised to find America turning against Christianity. America has been against Biblical Christianity for many, many decades. The church has for the most part been a group without power in this world, outside the favor of governments. The history of the church in America is not typical of church experiences across the globe or throughout history. Normal for the church is marginalization and opposition. Persecution and suffering are common. Churches must steel themselves to remain joyful in their faithfulness, no matter how intense the coming persecution becomes.
Though the temptation to bow to immoral dictates will be very strong, churches must remain steadfast. The temptation to live in fear and sorrow is great, but churches and Christians must remain joyful. “Consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearing and faint in your minds.”