The DOMA Ruling: A Challenge to American Christians, part 1

In the last week, much ink has been spilled by conservative and Christian writers decrying the recent Supreme Court rulings regarding homosexual marriage. Much has been said about the judicial tyranny overruling the will of the people. Much has eloquently been stated in defense of the Biblical position on marriage. But rather than pen yet another defense of the Biblical definition of marriage or pick apart the Constitutionality of the Court's actions, I would like to share a few things that have been weighing on my heart in recent days.

Many are shocked by our country's growing acceptance and toleration of abominable wickedness. In just the last decade, the so-called "gay rights movement" has changed the nation's view of the issue and brought about a stunning change in public opinion. While we as Christians should mourn and grieve over our country’s moral decline, we should not be shocked by the rapid decent into depravity.

No surprise

It should be no surprise that the unregenerate world will always tend toward greater depravity, apart from the merciful restraint of God. But Romans 1:18-32 clearly teaches that once a people reject God, He incrementally takes away His restraining hand from them, giving them over to the most grievous of sins, including homosexuality.

For decades now, Americans and even many professing "Christians" have chosen to change God's truth into a lie, in order to worship a god our their own making. Many that I have talked to in recent days say things like, "My god does not condemn homosexuality"--as if we get the right to define God as we please! With such a sentiment permeating our culture, it is not surprising that God is allowing our country slide further into a cesspool of immorality. We should not be shocked when our depraved culture tends to more depravity.

Taking responsibility

But it is relatively easy to point fingers at our culture. It does not take a spiritual genius to see that our culture is becoming more and more arrayed against God. But what is difficult to see, and more difficult still to accept, is that the responsibility does not rest exclusively on the culture, but it rests primarily on the church.

God has ordained His church to function as a preservative against cultural decay by proclaiming His life-changing message of personal salvation (Matthew 5:13). But when the church surrenders its spiritual power and ceases to keep God's Word central, it is utterly unable to fulfill this God-given role. Our wicked society is merely symptomatic of a spiritually powerless church. To say it bluntly: we as Christians deserve the blame. We are culpable. We have failed in our mission.

Here's my point: Only when we as Christians once again live in the power of God will we have any influence in our culture.

More activism?

Our failure has not stemmed from too little political or social action. It has not been through any lack Christian voices in the public square nor from a dearth of Christian political involvement. To be honest, our failure is partly due to too much focus on political and social action and too little focus on the gospel. Nowhere does Scripture exhort Christians to oppose social ills through political action. Indeed, the Apostle Paul reminded the Corinthian church that "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:3). While the church most certainly should speak out against social injustices and immorality, doing so is not to be her focus. For all of our political activism in the last several decades, the results have been negligible. We must accept that our dismal record at influencing our culture is the result of attempting to fulfill our mission apart from God's power.

What am I saying? Though we will not say it out loud, we have attempted to bring about individual change by bringing about societal change. Sadly, all too often we have turned to political solutions to spiritual problems. It is far easier to put a pro-life bumper sticker on your car than it is to share the gospel with a young woman contemplating abortion. It is far easier to seek a court ruling than to confront an individual with their sin and the solution of God's Word.

The error that we as conservative evangelical Christians have fallen into is no different than that which liberal "Christianity" fell into in the early part of the 20th century. Liberal "Christianity" proclaimed the "Social gospel," teaching that the gospel consists of seeking societal improvement by eradicating social injustices. Conservative Christianity has bought into a similar idea: Christians must improve society by suppressing national immorality through political action. While it is not wrong for Christians to be involved in these actions, by being so consumed in these activities, we have blunted our power and our faith in the sufficiency of the gospel message.

If all we do as Christians is make this world a better place to go to hell from, we are utter failures to God and traitors to humanity. The political and social ills of this country are merely symptomatic of the church's failure to preach and display a radically life-altering gospel.

Let us not despair, for there is hope, the glorious hope of God's omnipotent power displayed through the gospel of Jesus Christ. 


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