Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Church and Amendment One

Living outside of America for the first big controversy within society and the church has been very interesting to watch. It is as if I am truly watching from the outside looking in. I must say regardless of where you stand on Amendment One, the church has bigger issues and problems within itself. I have witnessed so much name calling and fighting with fellow brothers that it is no wonder that those outside the church want nothing to do with us and accuse us of being the most intolerable people out there. 

If you read my blog often enough you know that I have opinions and I fully believe that we should stand where our convictions are based on Scripture, but I also believe that we should have grace with one another and act in love. I wanted to share with you thoughts from my pastor, J.D. Greear, from the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC now that amendment one has passed.

Here are thoughts from J.D. and you can find his full post here
Our job now that the amendment has passed is to work to make sure the deleterious effects alleged by amendment opponents do not actually happen. Bad and harmful laws are always a possibility, and were so (as some of the articles I pointed to noted) before the passage of this amendment. The elders of our church and I were convinced that the Court’s record on extending protections and benefits in other states is much better than its record of honoring marriage laws not protected by a Constitution, and so for that reason, this seemed a worthy, and necessary step. (Historically, I think that is hard to dispute–though, we continue to believe the merits of this particular amendment are something godly people can disagree over and need not to be a cause for division in the church.)
But now we are to fight to preserve justice, equality, and freedom for all. We are to lead in being good neighbors to all in our community, especially our gay community.  They are made in the image of God like we are, and ought to be loved as such. They deserve equal rights and protections. They do not deserve to be ostracized. Any time we find ourselves in a position of strength, we must use it to serve the weak, not prosper ourselves. This is what Christ did for us when He had strength. Thus, when someone is being mistreated or bullied, we must be the first ones to come to their defense. The absolute first. The gay members of our society are welcome here and we are committed to being good neighbors to them.
Those who say that governments should not use any biblical or “natural law” reasoning in establishing societal codes overlook that God has established multiple “spheres of authority” on the earth (E.g. Romans 13; Genesis 9; et al). The concept of human government was established by God and serves a purpose, even though those purposes are very different than those given to the church. The church is God’s primary institution and to whom He gave “special,” detailed revelation, i.e. the Bible, and the conduit through which He is conducting His mission on earth (though an argument could be made ‘the home’ is itself the primary ‘creation’ institution). Governments are never to take upon themselves the roles of the church, or visa versa. When either foray into the realm of the other, disaster is the result. Thus, the government never should force worship or particularly Christian (or any other) viewpoints on society. From the founding of our Country, however, our leaders have recognized that they need to take their cues for setting up society from the Created Order. This, they saw, was the foundation of freedom. The church can (and must) be a light to them in this.
Adopting God’s designs in laws and marriage does not equal an enthronement of the Bible as the rulebook for the state. No one, including us, perhaps especially us, wants that. But laws have to have a basis, and our Constitution is built upon a Judeo-Christian one. That has built the healthiest, freest people ever to walk the face of the earth. It’s not perfect, and we have a lot of work still to do to make it just and free for everyone, but we are grateful for it. Much of it we take for granted. Sometimes you don’t realize how much until you get outside of it and see what it’s like when that viewpoint is absent.
Also, please be clear: we don’t worship our state. The US government is not our hope. The United States is not our eternal kingdom, and not, contrary to both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, our “shining city on a hill.” Jesus is. Jesus’ glory is in the church. His eternal institution is the church. Seeing the presence of Jesus manifest in the church is thus the primary focus of our mission and efforts. Our goal is not to “change the world” or “restore America.” We are to call out a people to repent toward God and worship Jesus Christ. We are to build the church.
That is our real mission, and we need to get to it.

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