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Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage

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In the wake of the recent Supreme Court Decision regarding so-called “Same-Sex Marriage” I was privileged to sign the following declaration on marriage. The other signatories are listed at the bottom. Continue reading . . .

In the wake of the recent Supreme Court Decision regarding so-called “Same-Sex Marriage” I was privileged to sign the following declaration on marriage. The other signatories are listed at the bottom.

Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage
More than 100 leaders respond to Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage.

JUNE 26, 2015

A diverse coalition of evangelical leaders assembled by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has released the following:

As evangelical Christians, we dissent from the court’s ruling that redefines marriage. The state did not create the family, and should not try to recreate the family in its own image. We will not capitulate on marriage because biblical authority requires that we cannot. The outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling to redefine marriage represents what seems like the result of a half-century of witnessing marriage’s decline through divorce, cohabitation, and a worldview of almost limitless sexual freedom. The Supreme Court’s actions pose incalculable risks to an already volatile social fabric by alienating those whose beliefs about marriage are motivated by deep biblical convictions and concern for the common good.

The Bible clearly teaches the enduring truth that marriage consists of one man and one woman. From Genesis to Revelation, the authority of Scripture witnesses to the nature of biblical marriage as uniquely bound to the complementarity of man and woman. This truth is not negotiable. The Lord Jesus himself said that marriage is from the beginning (Matt. 19:4-6), so no human institution has the authority to redefine marriage any more than a human institution has the authority to redefine the gospel, which marriage mysteriously reflects (Eph. 5:32). The Supreme Court’s ruling to redefine marriage demonstrates mistaken judgment by disregarding what history and countless civilizations have passed on to us, but it also represents an aftermath that evangelicals themselves, sadly, are not guiltless in contributing to. Too often, professing evangelicals have failed to model the ideals we so dearly cherish and believe are central to gospel proclamation.

Evangelical churches must be faithful to the biblical witness on marriage regardless of the cultural shift. Evangelical churches in America now find themselves in a new moral landscape that calls us to minister in a context growing more hostile to a biblical sexual ethic. This is not new in the history of the church. From its earliest beginnings, whether on the margins of society or in a place of influence, the church is defined by the gospel. We insist that the gospel brings good news to all people, regardless of whether the culture considers the news good or not.

The gospel must inform our approach to public witness. As evangelicals animated by the good news that God offers reconciliation through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, we commit to:

• Respect and pray for our governing authorities even as we work through the democratic process to rebuild a culture of marriage (Rom. 13:1-7);
• teach the truth about biblical marriage in a way that brings healing to a sexually broken culture;
• affirm the biblical mandate that all persons, including LGBT persons, are created in the image of God and deserve dignity and respect;
• love our neighbors regardless of whatever disagreements arise as a result of conflicting beliefs about marriage;
• live respectfully and civilly alongside those who may disagree with us for the sake of the common good;
• cultivate a common culture of religious liberty that allows the freedom to live and believe differently to prosper.

The redefinition of marriage should not entail the erosion of religious liberty. In the coming years, evangelical institutions could be pressed to sacrifice their sacred beliefs about marriage and sexuality in order to accommodate whatever demands the culture and law require. We do not have the option to meet those demands without violating our consciences and surrendering the gospel. We will not allow the government to coerce or infringe upon the rights of institutions to live by the sacred belief that only men and women can enter into marriage.

The gospel of Jesus Christ determines the shape and tone of our ministry. Christian theology considers its teachings about marriage both timeless and unchanging, and therefore we must stand firm in this belief. Outrage and panic are not the responses of those confident in the promises of a reigning Christ Jesus. While we believe the Supreme Court has erred in its ruling, we pledge to stand steadfastly, faithfully witnessing to the biblical teaching that 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.

A.B Vines Senior Pastor, New Seasons Church

Afshin Ziafat Lead Pastor, Providence Church - Frisco, TX.

Alistair Begg Senior Pastor, Parkside Church

Andrew T. Walker Director of Policy Studies, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Bart Barber Pastor, First Baptist Church of Farmersville

Bruce Frank Senior Pastor, Biltmore Baptist Church

Bruce Riley Ashford Provost, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Bryan Carter Pastor, Concord Church

Bryan Chapell Senior Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church

Bryan Loritts Pastor of Preaching and Mission, Trinity Grace Church, Kainos Movement

Bryant Wright Senior Pastor, Johnson Ferry Baptist Church

Carmen Fowler LaBerge President, Presbyterian Lay Committee

Christine Hoover Author

Christopher Yuan Speaker, Author, Bible Teacher

Clint Pressley Pastor & Former VP of SBC, Hickory Grove Baptist Church

Collin Hansen Editorial Director, The Gospel Coalition

D.A. Carson Research Professor of NT, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

D.A. Horton

Daniel Darling Vice-President of Communications The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Daniel Patterson Chief of Staff The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Danny Akin President Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

David E. Prince Assistant Professor of Christian Preaching, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

David French National Review

David Jeremiah Senior Pastor, Shadow Mountain Community Church

David S. Dockery President, Trinity International University/Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

David Platt President, International Mission Board

David Uth Senior Pastor, First Baptist Orlando

Dean Inserra Lead Pastor, City Church, Tallahassee

Dennis Rainey President, Family Life Today

Eric Teetsel Executive Director, Manhattan Declaration

Erwin W. Lutzer Senior Pastor, The Moody Church

Fred Luter Pastor, Franklin Avenue Baptist Church

Gabriel Salguero President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition

H.B. Charles Jr. Pastor-Teacher, Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church

Heath Lambert Executive Director, Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

Hunter Baker Associate Professor of Political Science; Dean of Instruction, Union University

James MacDonald Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel

J.P. Moreland Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Biola University

J.D. Greear Pastor, The Summit Church

J.I. Packer Board of Governors, Professor of Theology, Regent College

Jason Allen President, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Jeff Iorg President, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary

Jim Daly President, Focus on the Family

Jimmy Scroggins Lead Pastor, Family Church, West Palm Beach

John Bradosky Presiding Bishop North American Lutheran Church

John Stonestreet Speaker and Fellow, The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview

Johnny Hunt Pastor, First Baptist Church of Woodstock

Jonathan Leeman Editorial Director, 9Marks

Juan R. Sanchez, Jr. Senior Pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, Texas

Justin Taylor Crossway Publishers

Karen Swallow Prior Fellow, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Convention Fellow, Professor of English, Liberty University

Ken Whitten Senior Pastor, Idlewild Baptist Church

Kevin DeYoung Senior Pastor, University Reformed Church

Kevin Ezell President, North American Mission Board

Kevin Smith Teaching Pastor, Highview Baptist Church

Mark Dever Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church

Marvin Olasky Editor-in-Chief, WORLD Magazine

Matt Carter Pastor of Preaching and Vision, The Austin Stone Community Church

Matt Chandler Senior Pastor, The Village Church

Matthew Lee Anderson Lead Writer, Mere Orthodoxy

Mike Cosper Pastor of Worship and Arts, Sojourn Community Church

Mike Glenn Senior Pastor, Brentwood Baptist Church

Naghmeh Abedini

Nancy Leigh DeMoss Revive our Hearts

Nathan Lino Lead Pastor, Northeast Houston Baptist Church

Owen Strachan President, The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Paul Nyquist President and CEO, Moody Bible Institute

Phillip Bethancourt Executive Vice President, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

R. Albert Mohler, Jr. President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Ramon Osorio Hispanic National Church Mobilizer, North American Mission Board

Randy Alcorn Director, Eternal Perspectives Ministries

Ray Ortlund Lead Pastor, Immanuel Nashville

Richard D. Land President, Southern Evangelical Seminary

Richard Mouw Professor of Faith and Public Life, Fuller Seminary

Robert Sloan President, Houston Baptist University

Roger Spradlin Senior Pastor, Valley Baptist Church, Bakersfield, CA

Ron Sider Senior Distinguished Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry, and Public Policy, Palmer Seminary at Eastern University

Ronnie Floyd President, Southern Baptist Convention, Senior Pastor, Cross Church

Rosaria Butterfield Author and Speaker

Russell Moore President, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Sam Storms Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bridgeway Church

Samuel W. "Dub" Oliver President, Union University

Samuel Rodriguez President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Thomas White President, Cedarville University

Timothy George Dean and Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School

Todd Wagner Senior Pastor, Watermark Church

Tommy Nelson Sr. Pastor, Denton Bible Church

Tony Evans Senior Pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship

Tony Merida Pastor for Preaching, Imago Dei Church

Tory Baucum Rector,Truro Anglican Church

Trillia Newbell Director of Community Outreach, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Trip Lee Rapper, Author, Pastor

Vance Pitman Senior Pastor, Hope Church, Las Vegas, NV

 

1 Comment

The Supreme Court did redefine marriage - for purposes of civil law, only. We now have two similar but different sorts of "marriage": a civil contract, and holy matrimony. Christians who understand the distinction must be careful to make that distinction clear for others every time we discuss marriage, so that people will know what we're talking about. Definitions of words matter. If we begin arguing about "marriage" without clearly defining our terms, our debates will be fruitless and we are more likely to be seen as bigoted haters, angering many irreligious people unnecessarily.

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