Springfield, Ill. | Illinois Baptist pastors and leaders shared what they will say Sunday to their congregations following Friday’s ruling by the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage.
Fear and anger are responses that reflect lack of faith. Only in the gospel of Jesus Christ can all people find identity, hope, and peace. We as the church have our priorities set: Love the LORD your God…and love your neighbor…Nothing has changed about that. In fact, our opportunity is greater than ever. Now let’s continue our purpose of making, baptizing, and teaching disciples.
Scott Nichols, Crossroads Community Church, Carol Stream
Exactly what Dr. Ronnie Floyd said at the SBC Annual Meeting—love them, show them Jesus, but in no way will I or our church be involved in a same-sex union. We must not compromise God’s Word, even if it means lawsuits and jail time.
Bob Stilwell, First Baptist Church, Paxton
This is a matter that I have addressed before, especially in light of the fact that Illinois had previously declared same-sex marriage to be legal. I have spoken clearly from God’s Word about how and why it is wrong. I have spoken privately with numerous persons in my church family about this issue. I have discussed the potential ramifications for our church ministry and pastoral leadership.
Through it all, I have repeatedly reminded people that to declare this act as sin does not mean we don’t love those who practice it. God’s call to holiness leaves no sin untouched or insignificant. We are heartbroken by this decision from the Supreme Court. We pray for God’s mercy upon our nation and, as always, we seek to be messengers of God’s reconciling message of grace.
Odis Weaver, Friendship Baptist Church, Plainfield
Psalm 33:10-12 says that God’s purposes will always prevail no matter what. The very ruling of the Supreme Court will be used by God to further his purposes. We do not need to throw our hands up and think that God did not know this was going to happen.
Our very faith says that the worst possible legal decision [was] handed down by both Jewish and Roman courts to accomplish the salvation of God’s people. If God accomplished that much through the legal proceedings that sent our Lord to the cross, then we have no reason to fear any decision from any court under heaven. God reigns over every legal decision ever handed down so let us rejoice in our sovereign God who has his way in the whirlwind.
Phil Nelson, Lakeland Baptist Church, Carbondale
We will continue to teach God’s design for marriage and we will agree with God and call any activity that falls short of his design what the Bible calls it: sin. Since the Bible says in Romans 3:23-24 (NKJV), “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” we will love those who disagree with God’s design the way Jesus told us to love them, we will share with them how to receive His grace and redemption in Christ, and we will teach them to embrace God’s design by turning from what they want to what God wants.
Bob Dickerson, First Baptist Church, Marion
At Delta, we are going to use our pastoral prayer time to address all that has taken place today. We are going to shepherd our people by guiding them on what to do/not do and how to think/not think. We will point to Scripture as to the goodness of marriage and God’s design in how it relates to the gospel (Eph. 5). Then we will point our people toward the gospel, pointing out that it is all-sufficient even in times such as these, and that the gospel compels us to love our neighbor. We will look to the scriptures for encouragement on how all this holds together and then pray.
Jonathan Davis, Delta Church, Springfield
I understand it, I believe that we should love other folks, people that believe in same-sex marriage. I believe that we should love them and try to share the gospel with them just like we would anyone else. But when a person rejects the word of God, there’s nothing else we can do.
It’s not about us, it’s just about the Word of God. And I think it’s very plain and simple that [the ruling is] against what he says. I’m not concerned about how politicians feel about it, or the president, or the Supreme Court, or even [church members]. It’s just against the Word of God, and we are people who believe in the Word of God.
I know a lot of Christians may have different points of view on it, but that’s our take on it.
Marvin Parker, Broadview Missionary Baptist Church
This is just one more attempt to undermine God’s authority. But God will not be mocked. Keep praying to Jesus; and continue reaching out to the individual and show God’s love anyway we can to save them from an eternity in hell.
Jerry Higdon, New Hope Baptist Church, Coal Valley
While we may be outraged and angry about the Supreme Court’s ruling…our response must follow the biblical mandate to do what is honorable in the sight of God and thus the world. Anger only begets bitterness and eventually hate.
The church needs to steadfastly stand firm for biblical marriage and simultaneously demonstrate godly love, mercy and grace towards those bound up in sexual immorality and racial hatred by being light in the darkness.
Kevin Carrothers, Rochester First Baptist Church, who’s finishing a series of messages from Romans 12 on “Elevating Others”
The world around us is changing, but our God is unchanging and his Word stands forever. As a pastor, I would want my congregation to know that what God identifies as sin we must also identify as sin. Marriage in the Bible is the union of one man and one woman and is described in the Book of Ephesians, by the Apostle Paul, as a picture of Christ and his bride.
Therefore, I would declare before my congregation that if it meant being sued, fined, prosecuted or ultimately jailed, I WOULD NOT perform a same-sex marriage or allow the church to be used for such a union. And once I made that public statement, I would stand on my conviction, just as the early apostles did when it says in Acts 4:18-20, “So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.'”
Pat Pajak, Illinois Baptist State Association
It’s a sad day in America when five of the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court voted to legalize same-sex marriage as a constitutional right. While the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken, they are not the final nor supreme word on this subject.
Long before there was a U.S. Supreme Court, there was and is and ever will be The Universal Supreme Court of Heaven which has the final and most supreme word on this subject. Here it is:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth,b and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’ (Gen. 1:26-28, NIV)
“The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'” (Gen. 2:18, NIV)
“So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Gen. 2:21-25)
May God add His blessing to the reading and obedience to His word.
Michael Allen, Uptown Baptist Church, Chicago