June 26, 2015 will be remembered as the day when “the Supreme Court . . . ruled same-sex couples nationwide have a constitutional right to marry, a landmark decision that sweeps away state bans on gay unions and caps a rapid American transformation on the meaning of marriage.” In an op-ed column for The Washington Post, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, offered the most cogent response that I heard by a Christian:
The church will need in the years ahead to articulate what we believe about marriage; we cannot assume that people agree with us, or even understand us. Let’s not simply talk about marriage in terms of values or culture or human flourishing. Let’s talk about marriage the way Jesus and the apostles taught us to — as bound up with the gospel itself, a picture of the union of Christ and his church (Eph. 5:32).
As we do so, we must not just articulate our views of marriage, we must embody a gospel marriage culture. We have done a poor job of that in the past. Too many of our marriages have been ravaged by divorce.
Too often we’ve neglected church discipline in the cases of those who have unrepentantly destroyed their marriages. We must repent of our failings and picture to the world what marriage is meant to be, and keep the light lit to the old paths.
This gives the church an opportunity to do what Jesus called us to do with our marriages in the first place: to serve as a light in a dark place. Permanent, stable marriages with families with both a mother and a father may well make us seem freakish in 21st-century culture.
We should not fear that. We believe stranger things than that. We believe a previously dead man is alive, and will show up in the Eastern skies on a horse. We believe that the gospel can forgive sinners like us and make us sons and daughters. Let’s embrace the sort of freakishness that saves.
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Some Christians will be tempted to anger, lashing out at the world around us with a narrative of decline. That temptation is wrong. God decided when we would be born, and when we would be born again. We have the Spirit and the gospel. To think that we deserve to live in different times is to tell God that we deserve a better mission field than the one he has given us. Let’s joyfully march to Zion.
The witness to marriage will be, like the pro-life movement, a long-term strategy that is multi-pronged. This is no time for fear or outrage or politicizing. We see that we are strangers and exiles in American culture. We are on the wrong side of history, just like we started. We should have been all along.
Let’s seek the kingdom. Let’s stand with the gospel. Let’s fear our God. But let’s not fear our mission field.
To begin the coverage, read this helpful “explainer” about what you should know on this ruling. I have rounded up the Supreme Court opinion, key excerpts from the majority and dissenting opinions, news articles, and opinion pieces.
Supreme Court Opinion
- Obergefell v. Hodges
- WSJ: Majority Ruling on Gay Marriage: Key Excerpts
- WSJ: Gay Marriage Dissents: Key Excerpts
- WSJ: Supreme Court Rules Gay Marriage Is a Nationwide Right
- WSJ: Public’s Shift on Same-Sex Marriage Was Swift, Broad
- Christianity Today: Mark Galli, Six Things to Do After the Supreme Court Decision on Gay Marriage
- First Things: After Obergefell: A First Things Symposium (featuring Ryan T. Anderson, Hadley Arkes, Mark Bauerlein, Shalom Carmy, Rod Dreher, Robert P. George, Timothy George, Wesley Hill, Caitlin LaRuffa, Peter J. Leithart, Russell Moore, Mark Movsesian, David Novak, Ephraim Radner, Mark Regnerus, R. R. Reno, Matthew Schmitz, Melinda Selmys, Jeff Shafer, Eric Teetsel, Carl Trueman)
- Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission: Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage
- Washington Post: Russell Moore, Why the church should neither cave nor panic about the decision on gay marriage
- The Gospel Coalition: Russell Moore, Same-Sex Marriage and the Future
- Albert Mohler, Everything Has Changed and Nothing Has Changed – The Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
- Desiring God: John Piper, So-Called Same-Sex Marriage: Lamenting the New Calamity
- WSJ: A More Perfect Union?
- WSJ: James Taranto, After Obergefell