|The United States Supreme Court -- Top row: Associate Justices Sotamayor, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan; Bottom row: Associate Justices Thomas, Scalia, Chief Justice Roberts, and Associate Justices Kennedy and Ginsburg|
|Dr. Ronnie Floyd|
Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd recently spoke to the Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio. Anticipating the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, he set a strong standard for resistance to the ruling, and urged the denomination to stand against it. The Columbus Dispatch reports,
“This could be a watershed moment in our history, possibly changing the trajectory of our nation unlike anything we’ve seen since 1973 in the Roe v. Wade decision,” Floyd said. “This decision could add fuel, more fuel, to the already sweeping wildfire of the sexual revolution and move it beyond anyone’s control locally, statewide, nationally and globally...
Dietrich Bonhoeffer“Our first commitment is to God and his word — nothing else and no one else. And I want to remind everyone today, humbly, the Supreme Court of the United States is not the final authority, nor is the culture itself, but the Bible is God’s final authority about marriage, and on this book we stand,” Floyd said to applause.
He reminded the audience of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor and anti-Nazi dissident who is quoted as saying, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak, and not to act is to act.”
“This is a Bonhoeffer moment for every pastor in the United States,” Floyd said. “While some evangelicals ... may be bowing down to the deception of the inclusiveness of same-sex marriage or marriage in their churches, we will not bow down, nor will we be silent.”
The evil we face is not the same as Bonhoeffer faced, but it is evil nonetheless. It remains to be seen to what extent churches and people of faith will be pressured to cooperate with this immoral ruling.
As a matter of faith, believers in Christ should follow the example of Peter and John when they were
confronted by the religious authorities of their day about healing a man in the name of Jesus:
“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.'” (Acts 4:19-20). In following such an example, believers must be prepared for the consequences of their actions. In this biblical instance, the apostles were taken into custody and threatened, then released.
In the political realm, the United States Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, specifically guarantees freedom of religion. The federal government, liberals, atheists, and the gay rights movement have already acted in ways that show they don't mind restricting religious freedom. Consider the Obamacare contraceptive rules, and the bakers who are losing their business for not baking a cake for a gay wedding. This, despite constitutional protection of freedom of religion. Preachers against homosexuality may see efforts to silence them, despite constitutional freedom of speech.
It's going to be an interesting decade.