by Dr. Stephen Rummage, Senior Pastor, Bell Shoals Baptist Church
On Friday, June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States redefined marriage in the United States of America. The five to four ruling of these judges now makes same-sex marriage a legal right in all 50 states.
For many years, concerned Christians have prayed and worked fervently to uphold biblical marriage in our laws. No doubt, Friday’s Supreme Court decision represents a major loss for Scriptural values in America and takes our country another giant step in the wrong direction morally and spiritually. Bible-believing Christians are disappointed, frustrated, and deeply offended. Our initial emotions may lead us to feel defeat, to lash out in anger, or to be overcome with fear. In light of these trying circumstances, it may be helpful to remember what the Supreme Court’s decision does not do.
The Supreme Court’s decision does not overrule God’s Word concerning marriage.
The court’s ruling changes the legal definition of marriage in the United States. As followers of Jesus Christ, however, we adhere to a higher authority. We affirm that God created marriage as the union of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18-24; Matthew 19:4-6). No human opinion or governing institution has the authority or the ability to revoke God’s revealed Word in Scripture.
The Supreme Court’s decision does not diminish our church’s dedication to defend biblical standards of marriage.
We believe that redefining marriage to include same-sex couples weakens the institution of the family, displeases God, and ultimately harms everyone in our society. Because we love our neighbors and our nation, we will continue to proclaim the truth of God’s Word concerning marriage, and we will seek whatever avenues available to stand for biblical marriage. Jesus calls us to be salt and light in the world, standing for His unchanging truth (Matthew 5:13-16).
The Supreme Court’s decision does not overturn Bell Shoals Baptist Church’s policy concerning marriage.
Our church bylaws clearly express our commitment to the biblical truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. Our pastors and staff will not perform a homosexual wedding, and a homosexual wedding will never be held on the property of Bell Shoals Baptist Church. We will obey God rather than men, no matter what the consequences (Acts 5:29).
The Supreme Court’s decision does not give us reason to act unkindly or disrespectfully to anyone.
To those with whom we disagree concerning the definition of marriage or any other matter, we are committed to show love, kindness, and compassion. God’s love is perfectly described in John 3:16. God loves every person, and so do we. He compels us to pray for governmental leaders and to reach our neighbors with the saving gospel of Jesus (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
The Supreme Court’s decision does not reduce our hope.
We believe the Court’s decision raises a serious threat to the religious liberty of churches and citizens with biblical convictions about marriage. Nevertheless, our hope is not in the machinations of government, the decisions of any human court, or the vacillations of popular sentiment. Our hope is in the Lord and His unfailing love (Psalm 33:18). We need not give up hope, nor lose our joy or peace in the present circumstances. Instead, more than ever, we must look to the Lord, repenting and confessing our own sin to Him, seeking His face for renewal and revival, and asking for His healing and forgiveness for our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
The Supreme Court’s decision does not change our mission.
The early church counted among its members people who were redeemed by God from every type of imaginable sin. Then, as now, God worked to cleanse, sanctify, and justify lost people “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). At Bell Shoals, we live to follow Jesus, love people, and make disciples. By God’s grace and power, we will continue our mission, praying that God would use us to reach this generation with the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ.