With the recent legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide, the pastors and elders of Grace Bible Church would like to clarify our church’s position and give you practical advice and encouragement so that you can interact with this issue in both grace and truth.
First, do not be afraid of these cultural changes (Hebrews 13:5-6). We can rest assured that our sovereign, all-knowing and infinitely wise Father knew about these cultural and legal changes even before time began and is already actively working to bring about good from these recent events (Romans 8:28, 11:33-36). In fact, the further our culture moves from God, the greater our opportunity to shine to the world as beacons of God’s grace, truth, redemption, and hope. A candle shines brighter at night than at dusk. So we see recent events as an opportunity for our church and for God’s people around the country.
Second, our definition of marriage has not changed. We believe that marriage is a divine institution defined once-and-for-all in Scripture. It is not subject to political or cultural change. God created marriage to be a life-long commitment between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18, Matthew 19:4-9). Therefore, even though same-sex marriage is now legally sanctioned by the state, we do not recognize it as a form of marriage that conforms to God’s design.
Third, our church’s wedding policy has not changed. Grace Bible Church will only host weddings, and our pastors will only officiate weddings, that meet the requirements of a biblical marriage. This precludes not only same-sex marriages, but also marriages between believers and unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14-15), and marriages that involve a person who is divorced without biblical grounds (Matthew 19:4-9).
Fourth, we want to provide encouragement to those of you who will face very difficult decisions in the coming days. You may have a son or daughter who desires to marry a same-sex partner. Or you may be invited by a friend or co-worker to attend a same-sex wedding. Or you may be asked to take photographs, provide flowers, or serve food for a same-sex wedding. As followers of Christ called to model both love and holiness to the world, we feel intense concern over these scenarios right now. But remember, these types of moral dilemmas are not new for the Church. We have always wrestled with the question, “How can we demonstrate love to our friends and family without affirming their sinful choices?” We encourage you to pray, study Scripture, and remain in dialogue with other believers. The real-life scenarios we face will become increasingly complex. Some will appear black and white, while others will not. So let us be gracious as we listen to one another and challenge one another to boldly live out both grace and truth in our fallen world.
Finally, and most importantly, we want to keep the gospel first in all things. As Carl F. H. Henry wisely noticed, “The early church didn’t say, ‘Look what the world is coming to!’ They said, ‘Look what has come into the world!’” We want the world to know what we’re for -- the good news about Jesus Christ -- not just what we’re against. We want them to see Christ’s love in us. We must remember that the real crisis our nation faces is not that most people have embraced same-sex marriage, but that most people have not yet embraced Jesus! If they continue on that path they will spend eternity separated from God. So for every word we speak against same-sex marriage, let us speak a hundred for the Good News of Jesus Christ.
For further resources on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, please see these sermons and blog posts:
In grace and truth,
The elders and pastors of Grace Bible Church