When we attended church yesterday, one of the first items presented to the attendees was a statement from our elders concerning last week’s Supreme Court decision redefining marriage. This was an important and necessary statement. (I’ve captured an image of the statement below.)
After the statement was read by an elder, the audience stood up and applauded … loudly and long. As with our family, people who have chosen to attend this church want to be reassured that the church stands firmly on the Word of God – no matter what the uncertainties of the culture. The applause clearly reflected the congregation’s relief that there’d be no wavering from our commitment to Scripture.
Since we have three Sunday morning services, I don’t know the reaction in the earlier services. However, I did see four people walk out shortly after the statement was read, presumably because they didn’t agree with the church’s position. I know I wasn’t the only one grieved by their departure. I can’t speak as to their state of mind, but I can testify to the church’s “love for every man or woman” being “unconditional” and bountiful.
The key principle of “extend[ing] grace, while never compromising truth” characterizes the majority of Christian churches I’ve known. Christians don’t attend church to pridefully rub elbows with perfect people. On the contrary, Christian churches are where imperfect (sinful) people go … all needing Christ, all wishing to become more like Him.
This morning, I was heartened to read Here We Stand from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). Subtitled An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage, Here We Stand explains the substance of this declaration and contains the signatures of many evangelical leaders. With its first sentence, the document declares their stance, grounded in Scripture: As evangelical Christians, we dissent from the court’s ruling that redefines marriage.
ASIDE: The title, Here We Stand, references another Christian who dared to oppose the emperor and church leaders of his time. In 1521 when the great reformer, Martin Luther was called before the Diet of Worms to recant his writings which were considered heretical, Luther refused to recant and is said to have told them, “Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me, amen!“
As a Christian, I appreciate the ERLC’s courage and leadership. If Christian people, and Christian leaders, and Christian churches can’t manage fidelity to the clear message of Jesus Christ, we might as well close up shop now! Our raison d’être is nothing more (or less) than steadfast commitment to the One who died for us. Like Luther, we cannot do otherwise!
As the ERLC declaration states, this blog also believes “… 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.“
Echoing the words of Luther, may God help us all at this pivotal moment of church history!