• Tom Strode

Standing together as the churcH

It's good to know where you stand, and biblically faithful followers of Jesus should recognize we increasingly do not stand with Americans on the left or the right.

Marriage may not be the only issue on which this is true, but it is an especially notable one.

A colleague's tweet earlier this month referenced "prominent conservatives celebrating the same-sex marriage of another prominent conservative." When I learned his identity, I wasn't shocked about the conservative who got married, but I was surprised regarding one of those who attended the ceremony. In the wake of the wedding, my colleague commented, "A movement that won't defend or recognize marriage for what it truly is won't be much good at transforming culture."

Of course, transforming culture is not our primary responsibility as the church. Our focus is on glorifying God, being a faithful church and making disciples. Yet it is telling when political conservatives -- some at least who would identify as Christians -- no longer recognize the significance of defending the biblical and historic view of marriage, the basic, societal unit that conservatives have traditionally sought to preserve.

Political liberals, meanwhile, appear to have fully endorsed the same-sex marriage agenda, even to the point of promoting the denial of freedom of conscience for Christians and other Americans who believe in the biblical view of man-woman marriage and decline to use their businesses and gifts in support of ceremonies that violate their convictions.

In addition, a growing number of people who have identified in the past as evangelical Christians have adopted a revisionist view of marriage. They have accepted a reworking of Scripture that finds room for people of the same sex to marry in contrast to the teaching of Jesus and His church for the last 2,000 years and the divine order designed by God thousands of years before that and revealed in Holy Scripture.

We have known for awhile the left will not support the biblical view of marriage. Now we are learning an expanding portion of the right will not.

The pressure and temptation to bend to the cultural redefinition of marriage are growing.

What are we to do?

First, we should continue to affirm the long-held biblical and church teaching on marriage.

Second, we should not minimize the importance of the correct view of marriage. Holding only to the union of a man and a woman in marriage as a picture of the marriage of Jesus to His bride, the church, is not a matter we can agree to disagree on in a church. Our church's confession of faith calls for agreement on the biblical definition of marriage in order for a person to become a covenant member. It says, "Marriage is the uniting of only one man and only one woman in a lifetime covenant, providing a picture of the union between Christ and His church, the exclusive context for sexual expression, and the means for procreation of the human race."

Third, we should stand united, not alone, within the local church in support of the Bible's teaching on marriage. As the pressure mounts from culture and government to compromise, we have one another. We are able to exhort and encourage one another, and we may even have the opportunity to support one another materially in some cases.

We are the church. Jesus is our King. Let's stand together.

-- Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash


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