Transcript on Amendment One

6 May

The following is a transcript of what I said on May 6, 2012 in the morning worship service at West Hickory Baptist Church.

Before we go on to our Scripture verse there’s a very important vote in our state on Tuesday and I want to take a moment to speak with you about it this morning. I do not speak on behalf of any other person, just as your pastor. This is an amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman into our state constitution. There are many voices that you have been hearing and that you are probably tired of hearing and I’m not sure you want to hear one more voice but I will bring it anyway because I think it is an important issue.

Some on the one side have been campaigning saying that if this is approved it will shatter the lives of thousands of people. I think this is overblown and unrealistic. There are others on the other side who are saying if this is approved everything will be great and we’ll be back on track and I also think that is unrealistic.

For those who would say that we shouldn’t bring politics into church I think you’re wrong. Christians should be involved in the political process. I do not believe in telling people how to vote. I do believe that’s your personal decision. But I do reject the notion that we should not be involved in the decisions our government is making. To do less is to be a poor citizen and citizenship is something we are commanded to as believers, to live in and respect our government. And as a Christian all of my life is affected by my Christian commitment so that every decision should be impacted by it. And so I reject the notion that we should keep these things separate. There just isn’t a private and public sphere in our Christian life. It’s all Christ and everything is covered.

On the other hand I’d also reject the notion that politics is our salvation. I don’t believe it is. I don’t believe the decisions that will be made in the next couple of days are our salvation. Our salvation is found in Jesus Christ. Our hope is in Him. And the work that He is doing through His church on this earth is far more significant than the work any government is doing.

I think we have to acknowledge that this is, on one level, really a decision about where we will go and what we will approve as a society. And it is a decision being made by majority rule, by a vote of the people. So we dare not trust in that too strongly. Because there could come a day in the future when the majority turns in a different direction. So if this vote goes through many people will rejoice but down the road if the majority turns it could go the other direction. So if you would approve this and would like this to happen just understand that that is distinctly out there and we dare not trust too much in majority votes.

Instead we need to have our trust in God and in His Word. What does the Word of God say? I think the Word of God is clear. The Word of God says homosexuality is sinful. I just don’t think you can read it in any other way without torturing the text and come to any other conclusion. However, homosexuality is one sin among many other sins on one level. So there is forgiveness to all sexual sinners, whether they be homosexual or heterosexual, if they repent and trust in Jesus. And that is what we have to offer. As a church our goal is not to come offering condemnation to homosexuals, but to offer the gospel . . . to them and to adulterers and to all kinds of sexual sinners, in the hope that they would turn away from sin and trust in Christ.

So this is what we have to offer. It is very clear where Scripture stands on this. The greater message we have to offer is the message of salvation in Christ and that is where we need to put the majority of our attention.

Still this issue is not going away. And it is one in which we will have to determine, will we stand with the authority of Scripture or will we fold to the desires of our culture? That’s really the decision each one of you will face in the days ahead. Because its not going to end with an amendment. There are going to continue to be challenges. What I said a few minutes ago about homosexuality being sinful in the Bible, is one day probably going to be challenged in our country. And its probably going to be, if things continue as they are, ruled hate speech. And its very possible that I could face fines or penalties for speaking in such a way, even though I don’t speak with a shred of hatred but simply with a reflection of what the Scriptures say on this topic. So we need to understand that in the days ahead with this issue and perhaps with others, there will be a cost to being faithful to the Scriptures.

Now, why are we faithful to the Scriptures? Well, they’re from God and He inspired them. As our own Baptist Faith and Message says, the Bible is the inspired Word of God and therefore our authority for life and practice. So we would be failing in our principles as Christians and our principles as Baptist if we turn away from trusting in the Scriptures as authoritative and inspired and of God.

So, that’s a really rambling statement, I know. My thoughts are really rambling on this because I think it goes in so many different directions. And I am again, not going to run a seven week campaign on this leading up to the vote, because I don’t trust ultimately in politics. But on the other hand I thought it would be bad to not say anything because this is an important vote. And so we need to think about that. I’d just ask you to pray and ask the Lord what He would have you to do.

I think what this gives us a great ability to do more than anything else, even beyond this decision, no matter how this decision goes, what this really gives every one of us a really good chance to think about is this: what is the functional authority in our lives? Is it our own will, our own desires, or is it the Word of God? That’s really what we need to be thinking about at this time, what is the functional authority in our lives? Some people would say, “Why are you trusting in a book?”  Well, again, its inspired, its of God. You know, what really gets me is many times people say, “You’re so arrogant to believe in the Bible.” I think that’s so twisted. The Bible is inspired of God. Isn’t it the humble thing to humble yourself before God and allow Him to direct what you do rather than believing that you are your own little god and that you out of seven billion people have the right answers to everything and that you have the ability to decide all that?

So that’s what I wanted to say on this issue. I think its important. I don’t think its life or death in the sense of the bigger issues we need to deal with. My concern if it passes is that it will be a triumph of style over substance. We will think of it as some great victory meanwhile within the church Christians all over the place will be giving in to sexual sin on every turn, letting their marriages blow up, still not be the city on a hill that we’re supposed to be. So I think it’s a good chance to look at what we think of as our authority and to look at our own lives to consider whether we’re walking in ways that are pleasing to God in the realm of sexuality.

Its one thing to see the speck in someone’s eye, its another thing to see the plank in our own and we need to do that as a church. You know, the church’s power is not seen in its legislative ability but in its strength as a people under God, under the Lordship of Christ living in such a way that we are different from the rest of the world. If we’re no different from the rest of the world our impact on the world will be very little other than just kind of political moves and I don’t think that’s the pattern Jesus has given us for effectiveness in the church. So I hope you’ll embrace this as an opportunity to consider our authority. I hope you’ll embrace it as an opportunity to check our own lives to see where our own families, where our own marriages, where our own sexuality is, in terms of sin and holiness and honoring God. So I hope you’ll take that opportunity and vote as you see fit, in light of your commitments as a believer in Jesus Christ. 

2 Responses to “Transcript on Amendment One”

  1. Proud Atheist! May 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    That is complete ludicrous! He give’s no mention of the bad things that will happen if Amendment One passes. Such as children of single parent households will lose their statewide medical coverage. Women who are victims of domestic abuse will not be able to get help unless the person who abused her was her husband. Our state already has gay marriage illegal. This amendment would not change anything about gays being allowed to marry. It has everything to do with the other things that will happen if Amendment One passes. But of course, being in the “Bible Belt” you won’t hear anything else associated with the matter except for gays. I’m so glad I became and Atheist and stopped going to WHBC. Everybody who goes there are a bunch of hypocrites.

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