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What Luther Says

Lutheran Pastors (And A Layman) Respond To SCOTUS 'Same-Sex Marriage' Ruling

So-called "Same-Sex Marriage" is now legal here throughout the United States.

I just saw this on Facebook in response to the Supreme Court's controversial decision yesterday and thought it was pretty powerful.

A Lutheran Pastor Responds To SCOTUS 'Same-Sex Marriage' Ruling 
I have been struggling with how to put my thoughts into words and react to yesterday's decision by SCOTUS. But it's not because I am alarmed by what happened. In fact, I'm fairly unsurprised. It's because I wanted to do so with wisdom and grace, two traits I struggle to manifest on a regular basis in my life. 
For those among my friends, relatives, and acquaintances who celebrate the decision yesterday and who might find my religious beliefs opposition to gay marriage to be bigoted and on the "wrong side of history", the beautiful part of being a citizen of this country is that you are free to do so. It does not harm me, and here's why: 
Biblical Christianity is by-and-large a historical religion. It is not made any more or less true because I believe it or someone doesn't believe it. The fact of the matter is this -- it is either true or it isn't. Either Jesus Christ lived, preached, healed, calmed storms, cast out demons or he didn't. Either Jesus was arrested, beaten, mocked, crucified, and buried or he wasn't. Either Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven or he didn't. Either Jesus is the Son of God or he isn't.  
I personally have examined the historical documents. I have read not only the Gospels, which my own research about how accurately and faithfully they were recorded and transmitted has led me to believe are accurate representations of what Jesus said and did, but I have read most of the non-Christian accounts of Jesus' life. 
It comes down to this for me: when I encounter Jesus Christ as presented to me in the Bible, I come face to face with truth. I cannot reasonbly deny that Christ was a real person, that he ministered for three or so years as an itinerant rabbi, and that he was crucified, and that he was laid in a tomb. 
And here is where the history grips me and convinces me. 11 men, Jesus' disciples, went to their deaths or were exiled because they believed that the tomb was empty. They knew where the tomb was and had seen Jesus die. If his body was still in its grave, I do not believe they would have gone to their own deaths. More than that, the Jewish religious authorities knew where the tomb was. They could have produced the body at any moment. But they didn't. And I am unconvinced that the same group of 11 disciples, scared and scattered from Jesus' crucifixion as they were, could have overwhelmed the Roman guard keeping watch at the tomb and stolen Jesus body. 
You may disagree with me. You may reject my assessment. Again, you are free to do so. If you haven't yet done so, I would encourage you to research the information and come to your own conclusions. I believe the promises and gifts of offered in the Bible are offered to you, and to all, just as they are offered to me. And it is this, the historical reality that Jesus died and rose again, coupled with the spiritual reality that God did this for me (and for you!), to forgive my sins and reconcile me to him, forms the foundation and core of who I am. 
And so I mourn because of the steps my nation has taken to contradict the very words of my God, but I am not defeated nor am I alarmed. Do I believe it will continue to be harder and harder to be a Bible-believing Christian in American society? Absolutely. But for me, as a Christian, the tomb is still empty, the blood of Jesus still cleanses me from all my sins, and eternity is still promised to me by my Savior. I believe this not because of wishful thinking, but because it is true. 
*- Pastor Jason Gudim

There are so many disturbing angles to what happened yesterday that we could isolate and discuss here in this post, but I thought it best to focus on what should matter most to us as Bible-believing, faithful Christians.

In case you're wondering, LCMS Synod President, Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, issued a formal and public response of his own that was equally direct and to-the-point too.

Synod President Responds To SCOTUS Same-Sex Marriage Ruling 
A one-person majority of the U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong -- again. Some 40 years ago, a similarly activist court legalized the killing of children in the womb. That decision has to date left a wake of some 55 million Americans dead. Today, the Court has imposed same-sex marriage upon the whole nation in a similar fashion. Five justices cannot determine natural or divine law. Now shall come the time of testing for Christians faithful to the Scriptures and the divine institution of marriage (Matthew 19:3–6), and indeed, a time of testing much more intense than what followed Roe v. Wade. 
Like Roe v. Wade, this decision will be followed by a rash of lawsuits. Through coercive litigation, governments and popular culture continue to make the central post-modern value of sexual freedom override “the free exercise of religion” enshrined in the Bill of Rights. 
The ramifications of this decision are seismic. Proponents will seek to drive Christians and Christian institutions out of education at all levels; they will press laws to force faithful Christian institutions and individuals to violate consciences in work practices and myriad other ways. We will have much more to say about this. 
However, even as we struggle as a church to come to a unified response to this blatant rejection of the entire history of humankind and its practice of marriage, "We shall obey God rather than man" (Acts 5:29). Christians will now begin to learn what it means to be in a state of solemn conscientious objection against the state. We will resist its imposition of falsehood upon us, even as we continue to reach out to those who continue to be harmed by the ethic of radical sexual freedom, detached from God’s blessing of marriage. And we will stand shoulder to shoulder with Christians, churches and people of good will who are resolute on this issue.

You can read the rest of his statement by clicking the link above.

Personally, I like what Pastor Mark Surburg once wrote when he weighed in on this subject with an equally thought-provoking piece back in 2013.

Homosexual Marriage Changes Nothing And It Changes Everything 
When homosexual marriage becomes legal in all states, it will be a significant moment. It will signal that marriage in American culture is in its death throes. But such a decision will not be the cause of this. Instead, it will be a moment that forces us to recognize what has already taken place. It will impel us to grapple with developments that have been going on for a very long time. It is easy to describe homosexual marriage as a “redefinition of marriage.” However, in truth this misses the point. Instead, the fact that homosexual marriage can be discussed as a potential option bears witness to the fact that marriage has already been redefined. 
In the last few weeks I have posted links to many fine articles that accurately describe why homosexual marriage is detrimental to society. However, the fact of the matter is that when homosexual marriage becomes a full and complete legal reality very little will change. The redefinition of marriage and its ongoing death in American culture was already happening. Homosexual marriage really does nothing more than provide the unavoidable conclusion that marriage in our culture in now in hospice. It doesn’t fundamentally change things. Instead it forces us to acknowledge that things have fundamentally changed for marriage. 
Yet at the same time, homosexual marriage as a legal reality changes everything. It does so because it provides the legal basis for the homosexual movement to attack everything and everyone in society that does not fully accept it. It provides the legal basis for insinuating homosexuality into many different aspects of society such as education. It is an even more powerful tool than “hate speech legislation” since it takes the form of a “civil rights issue” that can be aimed at many different targets. 
The Church and the homosexual movement have very different approaches to one another. The Church condemns homosexuality as sin. Yet like many other sins that continue on in a fallen world, the Church realizes that she cannot stamp it out. She can only speak Law and Gospel as she seeks to lead sinners to repentance. She understands she will have to live in a world where sin like homosexuality continues until Christ returns. 
The homosexual movement on the other hand is not willing to tolerate the existence of a position that labels homosexuality as sinful and contrary to God’s ordering of creation. It will use every means necessary to destroy the opposition. The legal status of homosexual marriage will provide the hammer of civil rights enforcement they need to do just that. 
Marriage, of course, cannot really die or be destroyed. It was instituted by God and is part of his ordering of creation. It can be perverted and ignored in ways that bring unimaginable harm upon the adults and children who are touched by these things. Yet it will continue to exist and certainly will find a healthy presence among many couples in the Church.

Still, though not surprising, it is incredibly frustrating to (as Pastor Mark Surburg put it) see the Obama Administration in the White House "spiking the ball in the end zone and then taunting the opposition" while these 35 popular companies told America exactly what they think about the ruling themselves.

Reminds me of this quote I just read by Religion Today's Robert Knight (referenced in Rev. Surburg's 2013 post)...

"Which brings us to the bigger picture. The Left’s drive for 'gay rights' poses the greatest domestic threat to the freedoms of religion, speech and assembly. When traditional morality is equated with racist bigotry, civil rights enforcement becomes a gun aimed at the head of citizens, forcing them to choose between God and Caesar. That should never happen in America, where our founders said rights come from our Creator, not capricious man, who can mistake fashion for morality."

Precisely. Of course, the F-A-C-T-S, as they pertain to this whole debate, never seem to apply when Christians are involved in the discussion.

As expected, my few posts on Facebook today have generated the anticipated responses. This was the back-and-forth from someone I went to college with who I haven't had any correspondence with for something like 15 years.

Debbie Meyer: It saddens me that there is still such intolerance in this world. Love thy neighbor, indeed.

My Reply: Of course. The classic "You Christians Are So Intolerant!" attack. Debbie, you do realize that your statement here is quite intolerant of Christians, right? Hypocrisy 101. Looks like we're both sinners in need of God's saving grace. Imagine that! Look, you're entitled to your opinion just like I'm entitled to mine. I don't hate you or hate homosexuals for it either. I mean, my gosh, I've said repeatedly that we heterosexuals have been doing a fine job "destroying marriage" all by ourselves for decades now, which is why I don't tend to get too hysterical over this topic. Still, I'm a Christian. My beliefs on this subject fit who I am. If they didn't, then I certainly couldn't call myself a Christian, now could I? And yes, I will comment on it from my perspective so long as everyone else is commenting on it from theirs. Last I checked, the very same US Constitution that was used to legalize so-called "Gay Marriage" still gives me the freedom of speech to share my Christian views. 
By the way, it's interesting to me how I'm supposedly the "intolerant" one in this discussion, and yet, I didn't go out of my way to comment on some pro-Homosexual/pro-Gay Marriage advocate's Facebook page even though I have many to choose from if I wanted to. I'm such a "hateful" and "intolerant" Christian though, right? On the flip side, you being a pro-Homosexual/pro-Gay Marriage advocate yourself went out of your way to comment on mine in response to something I posted. So, I wonder about your use of that "intolerant" label. I also have to say that I do always find it hilarious when those who clearly reject God's Word will still try to use it against Christians like me (often by quoting it out of context too). Isn't that sort of intellectually dishonest of you? I mean, you obviously don't believe the parts that call homosexuality a sin (while it also identifies many other sins as well to demonstrate that we are all sinners) so why do you believe any of God's Word to the point where you would attempt to still use it as ammunition against Christians like me? Everyone's been fond of saying "Love Wins"/"Love Won" but I would like to start a new trending hashtag along the lines of "Common Sense Lost" because that's what's often missing in this on-going debate, in my humble opinion (which I'm still entitled to, aren't I?).

Debbie Meyer: Did I call you hateful? Did I say that YOU were intolerant? Don't put words in my mouth. And for the record, I'm not intolerant of Christians. I'm intolerant of ANY group that imposes their viewpoints on another group.

My Reply: Seriously? Come on Debbie. We're kinda/sorta friends whose lives crossed paths for a few years in college and I know you're much smarter than that (I know you were always much smarter than me for sure!). Are you really going to go with the "I Didn't Say That!" and/or the "I Didn't Actually Mean What I Wrote" defense? I don't have to put words in your mouth, because your words are here in black-and-white for everyone else to read for themselves. That being said, I think it's pretty crystal clear the implication, the intent, and the spirit of your comment. Otherwise, why even go out of your way to share it on another Christian's Facebook page (or on the page of someone who completely disagrees with you on this topic primarily due to religious beliefs?). I'd say you probably think we Christians are stupid if you think we're going to believe your defense from just moments ago, but then I'd get accused (again) of putting words in your mouth. 
Again, this isn't surprising to me one bit. It's the common defense that's so common whenever a Christian decides to stand up for their faith and the truth rather than just roll over and fall down at the Altar of Political Correctness out of fear of being rejected and ridiculed by their peers publicly. I guess the "I Didn't Say That"/"I Didn't Mean That" defense (which betrays what you actually wrote above in the first place) is to be expected, especially this week. As Tim Siedell accurately observed a few days ago in response to the other controversial SCOTUS ruling on ObamaCare: "'Twerk' was just added to the Oxford Dictionary and the Supreme Court says a law doesn't mean what it says. Another banner day for words." In other words, your attempt to suggest that I (or anyone else for that matter) could somehow misinterpret your simple statement above that started this whole back-and-forth, is just plain silly. At the same time, take comfort, because at least it's perfectly consistent with the type of thinking from your like-minded contemporaries that led to yesterday's ruling.

"This is most certainly true."

In a Lutheran layman's terms, again, all of this is hardly surprising, which is why (as Mike Dornan appropriately stated) "Christians shouldn't expect non-Christians to live like Christians and Non-Christians shouldn't expect Christians to condone their sin."

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm experiencing and/or studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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