Who Decides What Is Moral?

In light of today’s ruling by the SCOTUS regarding same sex marriage and my being a Pastor, I have been ask some very sincere and difficult questions. Below is one example. This believer asked a very good question. How do we respond to those who do not accept the Bible as God’s Word? Why should we force them to abide by what the Bible says?

Question: . . . the USA is not a Christian nation. How can we force everyone, including people of different religions and those who don’t believe, to abide by what the Bible says? I try to imagine if the situation were different and we as Christians were being forced to abide by Muslim laws. I’d really like to get your input on this because it’s been on my heart for awhile!

Great question. Let me say that I can’t possibly give you a complete and thorough response on Facebook.  We certainly are living in a post Christian culture. The result is that choices about moral standards are now being decided by popular opinion without concern for God’s standard. Those who believe the Bible is God’s Word, view Scripture as God’s revelation of Himself and His Holy nature. In Scripture we have God’s law and His warnings about consequences for living contrary to His law. For thousands of years many people have looked to God’s Word as a guide for acceptable moral behavior. Lying, stealing, murder, adultery, gossip, and homosexuality are just a few of the prohibitions. I personally believe Scripture teaches us that these prohibitions reveal God’s holiness and are designed to protect us in this life. For centuries, civil laws have been established that find their basis in God’s moral law because more people accepted the existence of God and the authority of Scripture.

I understand that today, in America and many other nations, a majority of people do not believe the Bible is God’s Word. Those who don’t believe in God or the Bible have formed beliefs about right and wrong based on what they have been taught or how they have been influenced by others. They have established, or are in the process of establishing, their own moral compasses. As views change in the culture, there are corresponding efforts to change or establish laws based on these new moral compasses, desires and opinions. I am amazed at how quickly this has happened in America regarding same sex marriage and gender issues.

While I wish to express compassion to gays and lesbians and not treat them unfairly, I must at the same time hold firmly to God’s Word. Unfortunately, many do not believe in God’s existence and reject Scripture as having authority.

Moving away from a religious defense based on the authority of Scripture, I believe there exists many dangers in establishing morals by popular opinion. What happens when someone says marriage should be between three people? Is polygamy next? I won’t even go into all the issues regarding divorce and child custody.

Even before today’s ruling, people had the freedom to engage in same sex relationships. The same sex marriage issue seems to be more about having the same benefits and protections under the law as heterosexual couples. While I don’t agree with same sex relationships/marriage, I do understand the desire for the same benefits as heterosexual married couples. I believe gays and homosexuals should be treated with love and respect without compromising our religious convictions.

What troubles me most is the change in our moral compass as a nation.  We no longer believe sex between two people of the same sex is wrong and immoral. I believe this has occurred in part because of complacency and apathy on the part of Christians. We have not been salt and light when we should have been. Many of us haven’t been an influence for good nor have we held up the banner for biblical morals.

I think when left to our own devices, we will change laws to benefit our own immoral desires. God’s standard is much better than ours. I personally believe God’s Word, and as a result, I see marriage as a sacred institution established by God being between one man and one woman. This picture is awesome because it symbolizes the relationship of Jesus and His church. I’ll leave that for another time. My heart is heavy today but I will still do everything possible to reach out in love to all people (liars, gossipers, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves and murderers) to share the story of God’s redeeming love. God is still in control and He is not surprised by today’s events. His plan for the ages will come to pass. We Christians must learn from today’s monumental decision. There is a cost for being lukewarm.

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