Evangelical Theologian Russell Moore: ‘Church Should Not Panic’ Over Legal Status of Same-Sex Marriage

( [email protected] ) Jun 30, 2015 06:09 AM EDT
Evangelical theologian Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, argued that although same-sex marriage is now the law of the land, churches “should not panic” or cave in to that decision.
''The gates of hell haven’t gotten any stronger, and the Light that drives out the darkness is enough to counter every rival gospel, even those gospels that describe themselves as 'none.''' Photo: Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Evangelical theologian Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, argued that although same-sex marriage is now the law of the land, churches "should not panic" or cave in to that decision.  

Moore, who wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, pointed out that the Supreme Court "has disregarded thousands of years of definition of the most foundational unit of society." However, he urged Christians not to be dismayed by this development.

"First of all, the church should not panic," Moore wrote. "The Supreme Court can do many things, but the Supreme Court cannot get Jesus back in that tomb. Jesus of Nazareth is still alive. He is still calling the universe toward His kingdom."

Moore added that the gospel will continue to flourish without the presence of "family values."

"The church often thrives when it is in sharp contrast to the cultures around it," Moore wrote. "That was the case in Ephesus and Philippi and Corinth and Rome, which held to marriage views out of step with the Scriptures."

According to Moore, the church would have to assume that people may not understand or agree with the idea of traditional marriage, which is between one man and one woman. In addition, Christians would also have to embody "a gospel marriage culture" and practice what they preach when it comes to marriage.

"We have done a poor job of that in the past. Too many of our marriages have been ravaged by divorce," Moore wrote. "Too often we've neglected church discipline in the cases of those who have unrepentantly destroyed their marriages. We must repent of our failings and picture to the world what marriage is meant to be, and keep the light lit to the old paths."

Moore noted that marriages between Christians are supposed to "serve as a light in a dark place."

"Permanent, stable marriages with families with both a mother and a father may well make us seem freakish in 21st-century culture," Moore wrote. "We should not fear that. We believe stranger things than that. We believe a previously dead man is alive, and will show up in the Eastern skies on a horse."

Moore contended that the church should be ready to reach out to "refugees from the sexual revolution," drawing a biblical reference in regards to the "sexually wayward Woman at the Well of Samaria." However, he warned that two types of churches will be unable to help them.

"A church that has given up on the truth of the Scriptures, including on marriage and sexuality, and has nothing to say to a fallen world," Moore wrote. "And a church that screams with outrage at those who disagree will have nothing to say to those who are looking for a new birth."

The theologian hoped that Christians would avoid the temptation of lashing out with anger over losing the battle against same-sex marriage.

"God decided when we would be born, and when we would be born again. We have the Spirit and the gospel," Moore wrote. "To think that we deserve to live in different times is to tell God that we deserve a better mission field than the one he has given us."

Moore realized that instead of "fear or outrage or politicizing," there was a certain attitude that all Christians should adopt going forward.

"We must stand with conviction and with kindness, with truth and with grace," Moore wrote. "We must hold to our views and love those who hate us for them. We must not only speak Christian truths; we must speak with a Christian accent. We must say what Jesus has revealed, and we must say those things the way Jesus does - with mercy and with an invitation to new life."

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