This month the US Supreme Court is set to rule on gay “marriage.” So what is the best approach for Christians to take about this controversy, and how should we view the US Constitution’s guarantee of the “free exercise of religion”?
In addition, for the secularists who are often loudly proclaiming tolerance in the culture, will they be prepared to allow our free exercise of religion and tolerate our different view of morality? For example, will secularists tolerate pastors who refuse to perform same-sex marriages?
In many of my public talks, I quote Jesus in Matthew 19. This is where He taught the meaning of marriage: one man and one woman. Now, after some of my talks, someone may approach me and declare: “Well, I’m a homosexual and I believe in gay marriage. What do you have to say to that?”
In a recent Answers magazine Google Hangout interview, I was asked several questions about the Bible. The last question was, “How can we be bold in our faith . . . without hurting people who strongly disagree with our viewpoint on gay ‘marriage’?”
Here is how I answered:
Let me give a practical answer to help people understand. If I have somebody come up to me at church—and I’ve had this happen when I’ve spoken in churches—and said “I’m a homosexual—what are you going to do about it?” I’m not going to stand there and say that it’s wrong, that it’s evil and against God and His Word. Now, I agree with those things, but I’m not going to say that right there, because I can’t impose my Christian worldview on someone if they don’t have the foundation for it.
So what I will say to that person is, let me tell you why I believe what I do. Then let me know why you believe what you do. It helps take out the emotionalism.
I’ll say, I start with God’s Word. Now you might say you don’t believe it, and I understand that. But I do believe [in one-man-one-woman marriage] because I start with God’s Word. And I do believe Genesis, even if you think it’s just myth. I understand that you do. But just understand where I am coming from, and because of that, that’s why I believe marriage is a man and a woman. And that’s why I would say homosexual behavior is wrong.
I understand you don’t believe Genesis. I understand where you are coming from [about gay “marriage”] because if Genesis is not true, why not accept homosexual behavior? Why not do whatever you want? I understand that. But my challenge to you is, why do you believe what you do, and where do you believe you came from? And what do you think is wrong with the Bible? Can we talk at that level? It really comes down to this: we have different starting points.
That’s what I did in the Bill Nye debate: show that it is really a worldview issue. It’s a starting-points clash. If you can take the emotionalism out of the argument and help people understand that . . . when it comes to our worldview, and interpreting what life is all about, that’s really the difference.
And so I think the way you approach things is not from the top down but from the foundation up.1
I pray the US Supreme Court truly upholds the Constitution this month and rules that gay “marriage” should not be forced on us to the restriction of our free exercise of religion. Gay “marriage” is wrong based on our religious beliefs founded in God’s Word.
Of course, it’s not the Supreme Court that has ultimate jurisdiction on what is true marriage. The real Supreme Court is led by the Supreme Authority to whom each of us is accountable and who is the final authority on what constitutes a marriage. He has already ruled:
Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? (Matthew 19:4–6)
Yes, there will be people who will not be obedient to God’s Word concerning marriage and the natural order of things as God created (Romans 1:26). But I pray the US Supreme Court will rule to uphold our free exercise of religion and not discriminate against Christians who base their worldview on the words of the ultimate Supreme Judge.