In the wake of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, many of this country’s 173 million Christians including 62+ million evangelicals (Pew Forum) will look to their shepherds to help them interpret what the Court’s decision means for America’s way of life.
Thankfully, many brave men and women have stood up to reaffirm the priority God puts on marriage and family and to declare without animus and with convincing clarity the truth and soundness of God’s definition for marriage—one man, one woman in covenant with God and one another.
Over 100 prominent religious leaders signed a statement issued by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. With a network of over 50,000 churches, the Southern Baptist Convention is the largest mainline protestant denominations. The statement was joined in by several notable figures in the urban Christian community including:
- Tony Evans, Senior Pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship
- Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
- Trip Lee, Rapper, Pastor, Author
- B. Charles Jr., Pastor-Teacher, Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church
- Eric M. Mason, Lead Pastor, Epiphany Fellowship Church
- D.A. Horton, Director of ReachLife Ministries, National Coordinator for Urban Student Missions
- Fred Luter, Pastor, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church
- Bryan Loritts, Pastor of Preaching and Mission, Trinity Grace Church, Kainos Movement
The statement is titled, “Here We Stand, An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage” and begins:
As evangelical Christians, we dissent from the court’s ruling that redefines marriage. The state did not create the family, and should not try to recreate the family in its own image. We will not capitulate on marriage because biblical authority requires that we cannot.
In support of the conviction that marriage is between a man and a woman, the declaration states, “From Genesis to Revelation, the authority of Scripture witnesses to the nature of biblical marriage as uniquely bound to the complementarity of man and woman.”
After affirming that the gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for all people, the declaration lists six things Christians must do during this time:
- Respect and pray for our governing authorities even as we work through the democratic process to rebuild a culture of marriage (Rom. 13:1-7);
- Commit to the truth about biblical marriage in a way that brings healing to a sexually broken culture;
- Affirm the biblical mandate that all persons, including LGBT persons, are created in the image of God and deserve dignity and respect;
- Love our neighbors regardless of whatever disagreements arise as a result of conflicting beliefs about marriage;
- Live respectfully and civilly alongside those who may disagree with us for the sake of the common good;
- Cultivate a common culture of religious liberty that allows the freedom to live and believe differently to prosper.
The declaration ends with these words of purpose and intention:
While we believe the Supreme Court has erred in its ruling, we pledge to stand steadfastly, faithfully witnessing to the biblical teaching that marriage is the chief cornerstone of society, designed to unite men, women, and children. We promise to proclaim and live this truth at all costs, with convictions that are communicated with kindness and love.
To read the letter in its entirety, visit the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission website.
If you or your church is looking for a resource on how to protect your ministry from the emerging legal issues that may stem from this decision, an excellent free resource has been produced by the Alliance Defending Freedom organization. Check it out here.