Another designated Sunday, please
We need to dedicate a day to the sanctity of marriage
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On Jan. 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court issued its opinion in Roe v. Wade. For the next 50 years, churches responded quietly on a faith-based level. Churches across America, without advertising and with quiet humility, dedicated the Sunday closest to the anniversary each year to a sermon on life. Churches, once more, need to designate a second Sunday to a pressing matter—the Biblical sexual ethic.
Most evangelical churches embrace expositional preaching. Pastors work through books of the Bible, teaching and preaching consecutive Sundays on the book in question. Through the year, for significant moments, most of those pastors will pivot. At Easter, the resurrection message is the focus. At Christmas, Christ’s birth is the message. A pastor once told me that, in his church, he’s more likely to be chased out of the church if he ignores Mother’s Day than any traditional high holy day, so Mother’s Day gets a sermon about mothers. But, as is typical, an evangelical pastor stays the course without the pressing screams of the outside world influencing weekly sermons.
On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court released its opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges. Just as Roe preempted the laws of a majority of states on abortion, Obergefell preempted the majority of state laws on same-sex marriage. Famously, in his oral arguments, President Obama’s solicitor general acknowledged that one day the tax-exempt status of organizations that did not recognize same-sex marriage could be revoked if gay marriage were the law of the land.
Since Obergefell, the gay rights movement has morphed into a hostile movement that has moved beyond gay and lesbian issues to an alphabet soup of queer theory, commonly referred to as LGBTQ+, more fully known as LGBTQQIP2SAA or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Pansexual, Two-Spirited, and Asexual. Where the gay rights movement argued homosexuality was a biological reality, queer theorists argue everything everywhere is socially constructed and children themselves should be converted.
The irony of the success of Obergefell is that gay men and lesbians are now marginalized in their own movement. As noted gay writer Andrew Sullivan recently wrote, “Dylan Mulvaney is exemplary of the new queer order: a femme gay man who had to take female hormones to stay relevant.” The madness has taken over corporate America, the Democratic Party, and local public schools. Even some church institutions have gone wobbly. Bethany Christian Services, for example, once the largest Christian adoption agency, has abandoned its requirement for children to be adopted by heterosexual couples.
Churches need to designate the Sunday closest to the Obergefell decision to Genesis 1. Moses, once prince of Egypt, explicitly rejected the cosmogony of Egyptian mythology and the then existing religions of the world to embrace a monotheistic God who created all things. The sun and moon were not gods to be worshiped, but objects in the sky, as were the stars. That statement upended the established order.
Genesis 1 also uses the Hebrew word bara for God’s creation, a word only used for God’s creativity. Men may build, but only God can bara, or divinely create. Thus, in Genesis 1, we have the Christian worldview clearly set out. God divinely created all things. He divinely created humanity male and female, which means we cannot fashion ourselves into our own genders. He divinely created the marital covenant, which means we cannot twist marriage into something new. God divinely created the universe, humanity, the gender identity of all living things, and the marital unit into which the future of humanity is supposed to be reared.
Later in Scripture we learn that God stitches us together in our mother’s wombs. That passage from Psalm 139 is often used the weekend evangelical churches mount their January responses to Roe, but it is just as deeply relevant to the Biblical response to Obergefell. Secular culture is increasingly taking on religious airs, with public schools now engaging more in a secular equivalent of Sunday school than teaching the basics of knowledge. Instead of the ABCs, teachers openly teach the queer alphabet of lifestyle choices and react violently when challenged in places like Florida.
Through decades after Roe, churches were able to sustain a culture of life through quietly professing and teaching about life and dedicating one of 52 Sundays a year to focusing specifically on the sanctity of life. Churches should do the same now with Biblical sexual ethics. One hour on Sunday is no match for all the other hours of the week, but with the Holy Spirit and boldness, we should not underestimate the clear preaching of God’s word against the cultural insanity of the secular left. Let’s get Sanctity of Marriage Sunday on the calendar.
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