(A Christian Response to the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage)
The Sky Hasn’t Fallen – Yet!
Ever since July of 2000, when Vermont became the first state to legalize Civil Unions, people have been saying, “The sky hasn’t fallen!”
In August of 2014, Judge Craig Daughtrey, of the United States 6th Circuit said, “Gay marriage is already legal in more than a quarter of the states and it doesn’t look like the sky has fallen in.” In October of 2014, E.J. Montini, of the Arizona Republic, responded to the court decision granting homosexuals the right to marry in the state of Arizona by saying, “The sky did not fall. The economy did not collapse. The government did not dissolve. There was no chaos in the streets. No fire. No brimstone. No fissures in the earth.” In June of 2015, Ed Stetzer observed that since the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage was handed down, “The sky did not fall, (and) no churches were padlocked.”
The Bible teaches that God measures the sins of a society and draws a line. God says that when the corruption of a culture crosses the line He will bring judgment. We do not know where the line is. We do not know when the scales of Divine justice have tipped. All we know is that God draws a line!
Before God sent the flood, He sent a warning. In Genesis 6:3, God said, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh, yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” Then, in Genesis 6:5, we read, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” The pre-deluvians crossed the line and the sky fell.
In Genesis 15, God spoke to Abraham about the future of Israel. Specifically, God told Abraham that the children of Israel would live in the land of Egypt four hundred years after his death. Why the wait? God explains in verse 16 that, “The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” In essence, God tells Abraham that He has drawn a line and the sins of the Amorites, though grievous enough to invite God’s judgment, had not yet crossed the line of His mercy. After these generations passed, God would drop the sky on the Amorites.
God spoke to Daniel about the future of Jerusalem and Israel. In the ninth chapter of Daniel, God provides a four hundred and ninety year calendar for Israel and explains to Daniel that His purpose is to, “Finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins” (Dan. 9:24). In other words, God is saying, “I have a line that I’ve drawn. I have a balance that I have set. After the line of sin has been crossed and the balance of sin has been tipped – the sky is going to fall on Jerusalem and Israel!”
On June 26, 2015, The Supreme Court of the United States passed a sweeping, shocking, sin-filled decision legalizing same-sex marriage in every state. Five Supreme Court justices ignored five thousand years of human history. Five justices ignored the fact that sodomy laws were only very recently respected in all fifty states. Five Supreme Court Justices opened the door for a new cultural norm. By the fiat of the five, America’s course is set upon a new social experiment unlike anything ever known in the history of the world.
The sky hasn’t fallen – yet! But judgment is looming over America. The Supreme Court decision simply ratified public opinion and opened the curtain for all to see the corruption of the American culture.
HOW SHOULD A CHRISTIAN RESPOND TO A CORRUPT CULTURE?
Abraham was a “friend of God” (James 2:23) who lived near a city given over to corruption. In Genesis 18, the Lord appeared to Abraham on the plains of Mamre and said, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do” (Gen. 18:17)? God knew that Abraham was very invested in the city of Sodom. In Genesis 14, Abraham armed three hundred and eighteen servants of his own house and rescued Sodom from the kings of the east. Abraham’s nephew Lot and his extended family were all residents of Sodom. So God said to Abraham, “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it” (Gen. 18:20-21). As God Speaks to Abraham about the coming destruction of Sodom, we find a model for all who would live for the Lord when judgment is coming.
First, you should respond with disdain as you recognize the conduct that predicates God’s judgment.
In II Peter 2:6, God specifically says that Sodom is to be an example for all future societies. II Peter 2:6 says, “God turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes & condemned them with an overthrow, “making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.”
After the Lord speaks to Abraham in Genesis 18, He sends two angels to visit Sodom (Gen. 19). The first verses of Genesis 19 say that Lot, unaware of the fact that the two men visiting Sodom were angels, implored them to come and stay in his home (Gen. 19:1-3). The angels and Lot, their host, would not enjoy a peaceful night of fellowship. Genesis 19:4-5 says, “The men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.”
Remembering that the city of Sodom provides an example of a culture ripe for God’s judgment (II Pet. 2:6), consider carefully the conduct of those who pounded on the door of Lot’s home. Their conduct clearly predicated God’s pending judgment.
The homosexual community was accepted in Sodom. Genesis 19:4 says that there were, “Old and young,” representing, “People from every quarter.” The homosexual community of Sodom was accepted by every demographic. Recently, Jonathon Lovitz wrote a piece for the Huffpost. The headline of Lovitz’s article was “From ‘No Homo’ to ‘Yeah, Bro’: How Gen-Y Became So Cool With ‘the Whole Gay Thing.” According to the Pew Research Group, Americans opposed same-sex marriage by a 57% to 35% margin in 2001. In 2015, the tables were exactly turned, 57% support same-sex marriage and 39% oppose it.
The homosexual community was aggressive in Sodom. Genesis 19:5 records the perverse proposition of Lot’s neighbors, “Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know them.” On the 20th of May in 2013, The Washington Times, reported that, “More military men than women are sexually assaulted in the ranks each year.” The Defense Department posted the results of an anonymous survey indicating that of 26,000 sexual assaults in the year ending in May of 2013, 14,000 were male on male assaults.
The homosexual community was accusatory in Sodom. When Lot calls the behavior of his fellow-citizens wickedness (Gen. 19:7), they respond, “This fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, then with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot” (Gen. 19:9). The righteous response of Lot was met with accusations from those driving the debate in a culture filled with corruption.
When the Supreme Court of the United States legalized same-sex marriage, Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the minority, said, “The decision will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy … Those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat these views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by government employers & schools.”
Because, “Evil communications corrupt good manners” (I Cor. 15:33), American believers must be careful not to be desensitized by the depravity of their culture. God’s friends are to respond with disdain as their fellow citizens act in a ways that predicates judgment. The conduct of the citizens of Sodom was clear to the angelic visitors and clearly noted by God. God said, “The men of Sodom were wicked sinners before the LORD exceedingly” (Gen. 13:13). God’s calls the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah “very grievous” (Gen. 18:20-21). Jude notes that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah gave “themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh” and reiterates that their conduct was “set forth as an example” (Jude 7).
Second, you should respond with discernment as you recognize the causes that precipitate judgment.
Genesis 19 gives a snapshot of the conditions of Sodom just prior to the judgment of God falling. The sinful conditions of Sodom did not come upon the people suddenly. There were root causes at work. The causes of Sodom’s moral failure are revealed in Ezekiel 16. Ezekiel was commissioned of God to prophecy judgment upon Jerusalem. Jerusalem’s sins were worse than Sodom’s (Ezekiel 16:48). In essence, God says, judgment against Jerusalem is necessary or Sodom would be deserving of an apology. In Ezekiel 16:49-50, God reveals 5 “root causes,” that brought the fruit of corruption to Sodom when He says, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me; therefore I took them away as I saw good.”
Sodom was a city filled with pride (Ezek. 16:49). Writing in dissent for the minority, Justice Antonin Scalia said, “To allow the policy questions of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly-unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than taxation without representation! Hubris is sometimes defined as oer-weening pride; and pride, as we know, goeth before a fall. The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistical!” Chief Justice Roberts echoed the sentiments of Justice Scalia when he wrote, “Five lawyers deemed themselves the chosen to burst the bonds of history.”
Sodom was a city filled with plenty (Ezek. 16:49 – “Fullness of Bread”). The number one health problem in Western Culture is obesity. Thirty-five percent of Americans are obese (78.6 million) America has become a nation of affluence, opulence, luxuriance and corpulence. America, like Sodom is “full of bread.”
Sodom was a city filled with pleasure (Ezek. 16:49 – “Abundance of Idleness”). Did you know that Americans now spend three times more on entertainment than on education? While over eight percent of the average American’s income is spent annually on entertainment, only two percent is given for charitable causes. Americans spend almost three hours watching television every day. The American demand for more football games and fewer church services bears witness to the fact that we have become a nation of people who love pleasure more than we love God (II Tim. 3:4).
Sodom was a city filled with pitiless people (Ezek. 16:49 – “Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy”). We should not think that the people of Sodom failed to provide for the poor and needy. They did not “strengthen their hand.” Americans have spent three times more money on welfare than on all of the wars in which they have been engaged since the War for Independence. Yet, in 1967, fourteen and one half percent of the population was classified as living in poverty and in 2014, fourteen and one half percent of the population is still classified as living in poverty.
Sodom was a city filled with morally perverted people (Ezek. 16:50 – “They were haughty and committed abomination before me.) Every day in America, there are sixty-eight million pornographic searches executed on the Internet.
Finally,you should respond with dedication as you recognize the commitment of those who, like Abraham, are called upon to ponder judgment.
Abraham could have said, “It serves them right! I’ve been watching the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah and I’m surprised that God waited so long.” That’s not how Abraham responded. As God speaks to Abraham about judgment, Abraham pleads with God for mercy (Gen. 18:23-33).
Make a commitment to be filled with compassion. “Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked” (Gen. 18:23). Abraham’s heart was moved for the people of Sodom. He was acquainted with the families in the city destined for judgment. It is likely that Abraham walked the streets for Sodom with both the wicked men of the city and their children. Those who live in light of looming judgment, do well to recognize the needs of the souls who have provoked God’s righteous anger. As we look at America’s growing homosexual community, we need to see them as souls who will live somewhere for eternity. I Corinthians 6:9-11 says, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Remember, it is not homosexuality that condemns a soul to hell; it is sin. In Jude 22-23, we are challenged with these words, “Of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”
Make a commitment to be faithful in intercession. Abraham set about to barter with God for the city of Sodom (Gen. 18:23-33). It is noteworthy to discover that God did not rain judgment upon Sodom until Abraham’s prayer was over (Gen. 18:23). While we know that God draws a line and sends judgment, we do not know where the line is drawn. David knew that the son born of his union with Bathsheba was destined to die (II Sam. 12:14) but he did not know when the child would die. So, David fasted and prayed that God would spare the baby boy (II Sam. 12:18-22). We too should be much in prayer for our nation. While we live with an increasing expectation of judgment; we ought to live with an increasing ministry of intercession (I Tim. 2:1).
Make a commitment to be firm in expectation. God spared Lot sending the angels to extract him from the city before the fire fell. Even so, we ought to live with the expectation of the sound of a trumpet and the extraction of the church (I Thess. 4:13-18). After all, Peter says, “If God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell … And spared not the old world, but saved Noah … And turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked … The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished” (II Pet. 2:4-9). While the fires of God’s judgment may soon fall upon America, we are to be firm in our expectation that, “God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thess. 5:9).
There’s a line that is drawn by rejecting our Lord –
when the call of His Spirit is lost,
And you hurry along, with the pleasure mad throng,
Have you counted, have you counted the cost?”
Have you counted the cost, if your soul should be lost,
Tho’ you gain the whole world for your own?
Even now it may be that the line you have crossed –
Have you counted – have you counted the cost?
Dr. Charles Phelps is the pastor of Colonial Hills Baptist Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.
- CBSNews, “Judge: Sky hasn’t fallen in states allowing same-sex marriage,” CBS News Blog, – August 6, 2014, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/judge-sky-hasnt-fallen-in-states-allowing-same-sex-marriage/ [↩]
- E.J. Montini, “Shocker! Same-sex couples marry: sky doesn’t fall!” Arizona Republic, October 29, 2014, http://www.azcentral.com/story/ejmontini/2014/10/19/same-sex-marriatge-arizona-judge-john-sedwick-gov-jan-brewer-attorney-general-tom-horne/1753440 [↩]
- Ed Stetzer, “Same-sex marriage legal: now what?” Christianity Today, June 26, 2015 http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/june/same-sex-marriage-is-legal-what-now.html [↩]
- Jonathon Lovitz, “From ‘No Homo’ to ‘Yeah Bro’ How Gen-Y Became so cool with the whole gay thing, The Huffington Post, June 7, 2015, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-d-lovitz/from-no-homo-to-yeah-bro-_b_3843892.html [↩]
- David Mashi and Seth Motel, “Five facts about same-sex marriage,” Pew Research, June 26, 2015, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/06/26/same-sex-marriage/ [↩]
- WND Radio, “Military suffers wave of ‘gay sex’ assaults – We’ve got a male on male problem here,” May 21, 2013, http://www.wnd.com/2013/05/military-suffers-wave-of-gay-sex-assaults/ [↩]
- Morgan Lee and Jeremy Wenzer, “Here’s what the Supreme Court says about same-sex marriage ruling and freedom, Christianity Today, June 26, 2015 http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/june/supreme-court-states-cant-ban-same-sex-marriage.html [↩]
- Zachary Goldfarb, “Scalia burns the Supreme Court as a group of ‘unrepresentative’ elitists in gay marriage ruling.” Washington Post, June 26, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/26/scalia-burns-the-supreme-court-as-a-group-of-unrepresentative-elitists [↩]
- Jacob Bogage, “10 key lines from the Supreme Court decision dissent and why they matter.” Washington Post, June 26, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/26/10-key-lines-from-the-supreme-court-decision-and-dissent-and-why-they-mattered/ [↩]
- NA/ND https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity [↩]
- Ibid. [↩]
- NA/ND “Charitable giving in America: Some facts and figures” http://nccs.urban.org/nccs/statistics/Charitable-Giving-in-America-Some-Facts-and-Figures.cfm [↩]
- Ibid. [↩]
- NA/ND “American Time Use Survey” [↩]
- Robert Rector, “The war on poverty have been a colossal flop” The Daily Signal, June 16, 2014 http://dailysignal.com/2014/09/16/war-poverty-colossal-flop/ [↩]
- Ibid. [↩]
- NA/ND, “Internet porn stats”, Top Ten Reviews, http://internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com/internet-pornography-statistics.html)) The United States is the top producer of pornography in the world. ((Ibid. [↩]