By: Dr. Jim Garlow, Sr. Pastor Skyline Church
I admit it. As a pastor, like you, I would be happy if we did not feel the need to defend biblical, natural marriage.
And I “get it.” Some pastors feel we need to “let the world be the world” and “have their own definition of marriage” while “we the church, will have our own definition of marriage.” Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Sounds, well, so cool. Even a bit “hip.” Live and let live, yes?
Well, it actually does not work that way. For the last several years, I have tried to track with what happens every time that marriage is altered by the government. It does not change marriage for just some folk. It changes it for us all.
And the consequences are horrific. There is no way to say this easily. Redefining marriage will take away the religious liberty we have in this nation, along with personal freedoms, along with parental rights. Not the first day, or year, or possibly for four or five years. But it will take it away – eventually. It will crush underfoot what we have cherished as the First Amendment, the capacity to share the Gospel freely.
This issue has been studied in nations that have endorsed so called same sex “marriage.” And “it ain’t pretty.” At least not with regard to religious liberty. If you had the time to read it, I would take the time to write it: exactly what is happening in nation after nation, in state after state, where the strong arm of the law – in supporting sexual liberty and same sex “marriage” – is crushing underfoot the proclamation of the gospel. But you do not have time to read it (and I fully understand), so I will not overload you here with the many historical examples.
Some say, so what? So what if the church goes through this? We’ll just be like other countries, lose our liberties, be forced “underground.” “So what?” they say. And then comes the classic line: “the church always flourishes under persecution.”
Well, that is partially true. But not always. I don’t know much about much. But I have given my life to the study of church history. My Ph.D. is in historical theology and church history. I have written one book on the history of Christianity. And if you were to walk through Skyline’s new worship auditorium, you would see we have strong historical references throughout the building’s architecture (including the names of the top 350 leaders of Christian history, from every century, from all six continents).
The fact is the church suffers greatly when religious toleration (liberty) is lost. At times, in some places, the church is wiped out. Destroyed. Gone.
America is at a crisis moment. Some will say that those who share my view are being melodramatic, alarmist, overstating reality. But the facts back up the reality that our nation is in an economical and moral freefall. And the institution of marriage is at the heart of that collapse.
Some argue again “so what?’ It is not the job of the church to “prop up” America or another other nation or any culture. To do so would be to promote “civil religion” or “culture religion” instead of authentic, biblical Christianity. Well that is true, if…if…if our goal was “civil religion.” But it is not.
I am not appealing for the “saving of a nation” or the “salvaging of a culture.” That would be an under-stimulating goal. I am arguing for something so much bigger than that.
I am saying that God is God. His Word is right. His Word applies to personal life, family life, church life, community life and national life. That is NOT saying that “America is Christian or a Christian nation.” It is not. (It was however founded on Christian principles – an easily defended statement in spite of the shrieks of the historical revisionists.)
But it is saying that “blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!” (Ps. 33:12) God is the one who created people, families, churches, communities, cities and nations. Thus he wrote the “Owner’s Manual” for all of the above. He alone knows how a person, family, church, community, city and nation are to function.
And he designed the marriage of one man/one woman to be the integral part of that equation.
Therefore, I am asking you to join with thousands of pastors and preach on marriage on Sunday, June 9th (or any date in May-June-July), as we take a stand on what is important to the heart of God.
How do you do that? By signing up right now. Join thousands of pastors who are spiritually discerning, who “get it,” who – like the sons of Issachar – “discern the times” (1 Chron. 12:32) and, consequently, know what the church ought to do.
Sometime in June (presumably late June) the US Supreme Court will announce its verdict regarding the definition of marriage. It is hard to know whether our highest court will side with God, or defy biblical truth. But be assured, if the decision is to defy the biblical definition of marriage, there will (at some point) be some profound and unpleasant consequences for you, as a pastor.
Now is the time to declare biblical truth regarding marriage. Sign up to preach on marriage on Sunday, June 9. Find out more at www.PulpitFreedom.org.
Blessings on you this day,
Jim Garlow, Senior Pastor
Skyline Church, La Mesa, CA
Founder, The Pastors Rapid Response Team