Three Days in Nashville

Last week the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention met in conference from October 27-29 in Nashville, Tennessee. The theme for those three days was “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.” The conference hoped to give direction to its members on how to address the changing cultural and legal landscape of same-sex marriage.

As you might imagine this created a feeding frenzy for LGBT journalists who attended the conference. Their reporting produced an admixture of understanding and misunderstanding from a group of activist reporters hoping to witness the largest protestant denomination in America collapse under cultural influence and capitulate to the gay agenda. That clearly did not happen, but the meeting did generate a question in the mind of some. Is the church losing the battle on gay marriage?

It is regrettable that this matter has been framed as a “battle.” Christians do not see this as an us-versus-them matter. Christians embrace biblical morality and God’s original design for marriage because we believe it is the best plan for the flourishing of mankind. The legal conflicts have only served to distract us from what is best for humanity and is primarily a spiritual problem.

In his opening address at the ERLC, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., stated the issue plainly, “The disappearance of cultural Christianity, like a morning mist, is a reminder to us that it was cultural and not Christianity.” Those who believe Christianity defines our cultural have it backwards; the culture is trying to redefine Christianity, and forsake what was designed for our good.

We have loosed ourselves from our moral moorings and find ourselves adrift on the cultural current into unchartered waters, because we have not remained anchored in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All our social ills arise from our spiritual rebellion to the will of God. At its essence, our problems are heart problems, hearts rebelling against God.

Our legal system and political process is not able, and never will be able, to save us from the problems we face because they are not legal or political problems at their root; they are spiritual problems. A legal redefinition of marriage, or a reformulation of social morality is not the answer; repentance is. This is why Billy Graham once remarked, “The central issues of our time aren’t economic or political or social, important as these are. The central issues of our time are moral and spiritual in nature.”

“If…My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land,” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14. Sin is impractical. God warns us to repent and turn from our sin because we are the ones who suffer the consequences of our disobedience. He warns us to repent because He loves us.

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