God, Marriage and the Supreme Court

Greg Strand – March 27, 2013 3 Comments

This week the Supreme Court has before them two major decisions that address the legalization of same-sex marriage. As Christians, we need neither the vox populi, the voice of the populace, or the lex rex, the law as king, to inform us of what God’s revealed truth states about men and women, about husbands and wives, and about what marriage is.

But, we do live in this world (Jn. 17) and we do live under governing authorities (Rom. 13), so the decisions do matter.

Al Mohler, “Marriage in the Dock—The Supreme Court Considers Same-Sex Marriage,” explains the two issues before the Supreme Court: the federal Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8.

Mohler explains further:

Both cases are significant. Together they represent a monumental set of issues for the justices. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed by huge majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate back in 1996. It was then signed into law by President Bill Clinton. DOMA requires the federal government to define marriage exclusively as the union of a man and a woman, and it makes clear that no state is obligated to recognize a same-sex union conducted in any other state. President Obama, whose constitutional responsibility requires him to defend the laws of the United States, has ordered his Attorney General not to defend DOMA in court. It will be defended by attorneys representing the House of Representatives.

Proposition 8 was adopted by voters in California in 2008, effectively reversing a decision by that state’s Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage. A federal district court in San Francisco later found Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional and a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sustained that decision. It will now be up to the Supreme Court to decide.

As these significant issues are discussed, debated and decided, I have pondered and prayed often with 1 Timothy 2:1-4 in mind and heart:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

We pray specifically for . . .

• Those in high positions, the Supreme Court.
• Those who profess faith in Christ, that we will rest in the Lord and be godly and dignified in every way.
• Those who profess faith in Christ, that we will please the Lord in our beliefs, our speech and our behavior, that all would be based on God’s truth.
• Those who need to be saved that they will come to the knowledge of the truth.

Greg Strand

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Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

3 responses to God, Marriage and the Supreme Court

  1. Greg, Why do Americans see mairraige as a constitutional issue to be decided by the courts, or to be imposed on other nations. Does any society has domination over the morality of Marriage. Last I check mairraige is way older than the US constitution and societies all over the world has been marrying only men and women since thier inception. Countries in Africa are where I am from originally are been threathen with aid suspension if they do not conform to this norm of Gay marriage. These societies have been marrying for centuries and are now been told that they are inferior when it comes to the morality of marriage. Can you comment

    • Isaac, to your first question, according to Christians (not non-Christians), marriage is, first and foremost, an institution created by God, for His glory, our good, the flourishing of humanity and the good of society. This has been true since God created Adam and Eve. America has been a nation shaped and influenced by Christian (or Judeo-Christian) principles and values, which mean the laws of the land reflected that.

      The government does influence and based on laws does control certain things, many things, in fact. God, in His providence, has given human authorities over us (Rom. 13). And in this country, we the people have a say in the process and final result of electing rulers and making some decisions. For this reason, we ought to be involved/engaged. I would also say that since marriage between a man and a woman is good for society and the only manner in which true human flourishing can occur (I say this from God’s perspective, which I would not expect non-Christians to affirm), we ought to care about this and what our government says about it.

      Today this has changed. We live in a postChristian day, which means cultural mores and laws no longer reflect Christian principles. The basis upon which those laws were gleaned were natural law (championed by Thomas Aquinas and the Roman Catholic Church) and biblical law (God’s special revelation in the Bible). Foundational to the first is reason (logic) and to the second is revelation (Bible). Both are in question or up for grabs today. Though this is true, living in this country we still ought to engage as those living in the “city of man” while our true and lasting residence is in the “city of God.”

      To your other question about imposing certain standards of morality (actually immorality!) on other countries, that is an utter tragedy, and God will hold leaders and countries responsible for that. The notion of “inferior” is not only considered of other countries whose morality on this issue reflects God’s intent, it is also the claim made against those who affirm biblical morality/ethics here as well. The reason is based on the notion of progress. In this understanding of “progress,” the old way is not only old, but repressive, cold, hurtful and unloving. Progressives truly believe they are after the good of society. But in reality, they are deceived. One never progresses beyond God’s revealed truth. And not all progress is real progress. I am thankful for the Anglican Church in Africa who has stood firmly on the truth of God’s Word on this issue over against much of the worldwide Anglican church.

      At the end of the day, we need to be faithful to God and His Word and humble and courageous in our articulation and defense of it. And we must not overlook the truth that one of the most important ways to engage in this is prayer!

  2. Thank you very much Greg for your insight. I am put at ease now. Also your quoting of Rom. That God has Given us human authorities, but that we can do something by been involved in deciding who lead was pivotal.
    Thanks & Blessings
    Isaac

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