by Del Tackett
Okay, we’ve made some observations about the Supreme Court ruling and we have issued a call to confession, repentance and prayer…now what?
Well, I would like to offer some practical actions for us to consider. And, since I have a great tendency to see all of the issues and problems around us in terms of where they fall in the social systems that God has created, I will offer my suggestions organized in that manner.
God and Man:
The biggest thing that is going on here is a cultural drive to do away with God and moral absolutes. It is easy to get caught up in this. It is easy to get caught up in how the media and Hollywood makes sin so acceptable...and so desirable. We need to remind ourselves that the biggest enemy we have is our own sinful nature. This is how it is described in Galatians 5:17
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
This is the battle we all face within. And when the culture around us begins to provoke and stimulate our sinful nature and even encourage and applaud it, then the battle becomes much more difficult…but not impossible…for the Spirit of God within you is greater than all of those that stand against you.
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 1 John 4:4-6
It is very possible that this ruling is going to open up a very serious time for us. Justice Thomas, in his dissent, said that this ruling portends
…potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty.
Justice Alito warned that the ruling
…will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy….I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.
The warnings from the dissenting justices cannot be ignored: we are in for a significant attack upon religious freedom. In fact, Justice Roberts stated it most starkly: that the ruling “creates serious questions about religious liberty”. Not “some” religious liberties, but “religious liberty”…period. We are going to come under immense pressure to conform, bow down, give up and give in.
But, if we are going to face persecution…if you are going to have to stand and lose your job or your business or your freedom or whatever else you hold dear in this life, it must always be placed in the perspective of your eternal relationship and reward of knowing Christ Jesus.
And nothing…nothing…can match that.
When you are tempted with the “peace” of simply going along;
When you are tempted by the easy way of the broad path;
When it seems that it is just easier to ignore it all…
or remain conveniently silent…
or withdraw into some form of self-centered, isolated Christianity;
When all of the escape options call you to deny what you know is true, then place those momentary pleasures or avoidance of difficulties on the scale against the eternal weight of knowing Him and His deep and steadfast love for you…and the things of this world will pale in comparison.
And, then, in the strength of His might, stand for righteousness…even if seems as if you must stand alone…stand.
For in reality you will not be alone. Not only will He be with you, but hopefully and prayerfully we are going to see the Body of Christ standing as well.
But our stand must always be with grace. The truth must always be spoken in love. We must show the world that disagreement is not hate and standing for moral truth is not bigotry. Though reviled, we will not revile in return. We will stand for truth, but we will do so in righteousness.
And through it all, He always remains faithful…always.
You need to have an open and honest discussion about this with your family. If you are a parent, you must recognize that your children are going to be confronted earlier and earlier in life. If they are in a state school, they will be, if not already, presented with a contrary message to a biblical worldview of sexuality. If they hold to a biblical perspective, as Alito said, they are going to be vilified. It is better if you have prepared them for this than letting them walk into the fire on their own with no tutoring. Help them understand that the world we live in is becoming more and more hostile to what we believe and that they are most likely going to find themselves in situations where they will be not only challenged, but also “approached”. The more our culture embraces homosexuality, the more we will see people drawn into it. The issue of bi-sexuality is going to be the major pressure your children will face. They don’t have to be homosexual, but they will find themselves increasingly in a world that will entice them to experiment with all forms of sexual expression. Heterosexuality is going to be portrayed as abnormal and bisexuality as normal. Miley Cyrus is promoting “gender fluidity”…meaning you should be able to move freely between all points on the sexual continuum. You and your family’s biblical view of human sexuality is going to be severely tested in all forms of media, music, video, TV, books, marketing, print and academic programs and projects. This is not meant to be overwhelming or depressing, but to be a realist and recognize your responsibility to prepare your family. Brothers and sisters have faced this in the past, and did so valiantly before God and man and we can do the same.
You may find yourself in a church that is going to be targeted. You may be pressed to perform homosexual marriages or allow them to be held within your church. If your church opens its doors to other functions, then you will be vulnerable to either a lawsuit or governmental enforcement if you don’t allow homosexuals to use your facility. Don’t think that it won’t happen. If you are in a position of leadership, then you need to have the discussion and talk through what you as a church are going to do in the future regarding this issue and what you are willing to suffer in consequences of your stand. Churches will be targeted. If you are in a church that is going to cave on the issue, then you will have to make the decision of whether you will stay or go, tough as that sounds, but you must consider your own spiritual health and that of your family’s. Churches must be intentional about this. It is not going to go away.
You may be in a business that is going to be targeted as well, even if you aren’t a baker or florist. For example, how you refer to married couples in your policies or practice will present an opportunity to test your allegiance to the state’s position on homosexuality. If you have sent a gift of congratulations to a heterosexual employee’s wedding or supported it in any way, you may be targeted to do the same for a homosexual employee who is now getting married. This will place you in the position of having to show your support for homosexual marriage or pay the consequences. You need to objectively think through all of this while it is easier to do so and make any commitments now regarding how you will stand and how you will handle the consequences of your stand. You need to also reduce your vulnerability if you can. Don’t be unwise here. Don’t think it is more spiritual to provoke an attack. It is not a badge of courage to stand up in the battlefield and put a big red target on your chest and yell “Yoo-hoo! Over here!”. Pray for wisdom in how you go forward and get with other businessmen and women who share your worldview and develop wise strategy together. Use the community area of our website to do that. And, pray for those who are already under the gun because of this ruling. There are fellow believers who are county clerks all across the country who are faced with jail or the loss of their jobs because they are choosing to stand for their Christian convictions. Make no mistake, my friends, we are all in this together.
This is going to be the most important response that we as Christians are going to make. If the Lord allows us to produce the next DVD series: the Engagement, we are going to deal with His call for us to engage our neighbors. We have lost most of our ability to impact the culture around us in the public square. Sound bites might work in a culture that carries a biblical worldview. But in a culture that is now publicly agnostic or atheistic, you will not be afforded either the time or the favorability to present effectively on this or any other biblical issue. The Lord is increasingly cutting off all of our neo-Christian forms and practices and He is squeezing us into what He asked us to do from the start: engage our neighbors. And it is here that we will help others to know that our stand on this issue is not based upon hate or bigotry. We are fighting against the public and political embracing and condoning of sin, not against a person. The Lord has shown great love to us as sinners and we will do the same to those who live next door, regardless of what they are taken captive in. Our fight is not against flesh and blood.
I’m going to leave the topic of political action for the next and final post on this ruling. Even though we are being shut out of the public square, we have responsibilities within this sphere that we must consider and act upon. The issues before us are the result of a culture that has publicly rejected God and it is going to use the power of the state to force you to embrace and celebrate its position on homosexuality. But it is the immense size and power of the state that has become so ubiquitous that it now virtually controls every aspect of our lives. Fighting that will be tough, but I believe it is worth trying.
Soli Deo Gloria…in all things and all circumstances.