Yesterday, the Supreme Court, by a ruling of 5-4, declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right, making it the law of the land. Although this decision will not change our view of marriage, it will have significant implications in how we affirm and live as the "Church" in the midst of ever changing cultural values.
I am grieved, but grateful that we do not need to fear. God is not surprised. In fact, He has privileged us to be here, in this moment, at this time, to be His Church to a world who does not know Him. The mission of the Church is not to change the culture, but rather, just as we have been reconciled to God, we have been given the "ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
(2 Corinthians 5:18-21)
We have experienced that gospel-provided reconciliation and have been given a gospel purpose and responsibility to respond to our world as our Savior did, who was "full of grace and truth." We are called to love...as we have been loved. We are called to kindness...as our heavenly Father has shown us incredible kindness. We are called to generosity in our grace...as the Father's grace has been lavished on us. We are called to stand upon and speak for God's truth...and to do so with conviction, "speaking the truth in love."
I believe we are called to mourn...to mourn over the sin of our country...to mourn and repent over our own sin that has created the climate for the name of Jesus Christ to be despised. Those without Christ will do what those who have never experienced His life will do. But what about we, His Church who have experienced His grace? Have we not taken our own sins lightly, while pointing out the sins of others to make ourselves feel better? Have we not taken our gospel mission lightly?
I am taken by what the Apostle Paul says to the Church, as he continues his thought (very appropriate to our day). 2 Corinthians 6:1-11 (NLT) "As God's partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God's kindness and then ignore it. 2 For God says, "At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you." Indeed, the "right time" is now. Today is the day of salvation." This is the time to speak into our culture with the incredible message of hope that we were given when we needed it. And how are we to live? "3 We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. 4 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God..."
But this will not be easy...and it may be costly: "...We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. 5 We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food."
Notice how the church is to distinguish itself: 6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. 7 We faithfully preach the truth. God's power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. 8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. 9 We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything. 11 Oh, dear Corinthian friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you."
This is the kind of Church that our culture has needed and (in many cases), has been unwilling to live out. I believe that's very much the reason we find our country in this condition. We have to get back to our original priority. It's not too late...for those in our communities (including the LGBT community) to experience the life of Jesus Christ. But that will happen only if we show "understanding, patience, kindness, sincere love...if our hearts are open to all...by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us!"
I am praying for you and all of our Next Generation Churches. Let's be His Church in Northern California and Nevada!
Dr. David Whitaker
Executive Director, Next Generation Churches
Lead Pastor, Morgan Hill Bible Church
Below, I've added some links that might be of help to you. Blessings on you, as we continue together, to forge a movement for the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Here is the update from Christianity Today: Supreme Court: States Can't Ban Same-Sex Marriage
Here is a statement from Al Mohler: Mohler Responses to Supreme Court's Same-Sex Marriage Decision
Here is a statement made by a diverse coalition of evangelical leaders assembled by the ERLC: Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage
Here is a Christianity Today Editorial written by Mark Galli: Six Things To Do after the Supreme Court Decision on Gay Marriage
Here is a statement by Ray Ortlund about Marriage and the Gospel: What is Marriage, According to the Bible?
Here is a summary of the decision by Joe Carter: Explainer: What You Should Know About the Supreme Court's Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
Here is a statement from John Piper: So-Called Same-Sex Marriage: Lamenting the New Calamity
Here is a statement by Erik Stanley, Alliance Defending Freedom, for churches to consider: What Your Church Needs to Know - And Do - About the Court's Marriage Ruling
The ministry of Silver Spur Christian Camp & Retreat Center is expanding and we need your help! As more and more people are taking advantage of the beautiful surroundings, fun and excitement Silver Spur has to offer, we are faced with a good problem. We need more room! To meet this need we have developed a plan to expand and improve both the facilities and the ministries at the camp. Here are a few of the things we will be doing:
The total cost for this project is $1.3 million. We are able to accomplish all of these things with this very slim budget because of the efficient work crew at Silver Spur and through volunteer labor from various groups.
This project will be done in 3 phases starting with the Dining Facility and Operations Shop. Over $130,000 has already come in. We need $200,000 more to break ground. We would like all of our NextGen Churches to have a part in seeing this ministry expand to reach more lives for Jesus Christ. Here is how you can help right now.
Contact John Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more details. We’d be happy to send you more information.
Next Generation Churches
15750 Vineyard Blvd, Suite 110
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
Dr. David Whitaker
Director of Administration
Director of Church Planting
Director of Church Networking
17301 Silver Spur Lane
Tuolumne, CA 209-928-4248
Director, Silver Spur
2924 Becerra Way
Sacramento, CA 95821
San Jose Campus
469 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95050