I walked this morning with two of my ERLC colleagues from our office around the corner to the Supreme Court building. The scene there was circus-like. Rainbow flags were waving, as protesters on either side lifted aloft contesting signs. A man screamed through a megaphone about how “God hates queers” right next to men in stiletto heels and nun’s habits. The whole scene drove me to pray, and almost to tears.
I am a conscientious dissenter from the Sexual Revolution. I don’t think the Court should redefine marriage, because I don’t think the Court invented marriage in the first place. The action of finding some illusory Fourteenth Amendment right to same-sex marriage in the Constitution will have deep and wide consequences, for the stability of families and for freedom of religion. I hope the Court does the right thing. Even so, the scene at the Court reminded me that, as important as the legal questions are, there are even more important issues still.
As I was standing on the sidewalk, the man next to me was painted in garish makeup, wearing a dress. He, too, was talking to a reporter. He and another man in a dress were carrying signs for “Marriage Equality Now.” I overheard him call the reporter “ma’am,” and then quickly apologized. “I don’t mean to make you feel old,” he said. “I was just raised to call everybody ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am.’ I’m from northern Alabama.”
Over this man’s voice was another man, on a megaphone, screaming about how God would delight in sending the “sodomites” to hell. “And don’t expect me to cry for you!” the man with the megaphone bellowed.
I can’t get that scene out of my mind. On the one hand, here is someone from the Bible Belt, maybe even one who grew up in an evangelical church, who is in touch enough with his roots to know how to speak to his elders, but estranged enough from the gospel to be far away from the old paths. On the other side is a man with a megaphone, who knows what the Bible teaches about morality, but who does not know what the Bible teaches about the gospel.
If we are going to be a gospel people, however the Supreme Court decides, we cannot hate the people who disagree with us. We cannot give up on the power of the gospel to change minds and to regenerate hearts. We also cannot fear the Sexual Revolutionaries so much that we capitulate on the truth of the only gospel that can save them, and us. The gospel is a call to repentance, and we must stand on that, but it is also a call to mercy for all those who repent.
We then must have enough confidence in our gospel to stand with conviction, even when the world thinks we’re crazy. And we must have enough confidence in our gospel to stand with kindness toward those who disagree with us. God loves the world. Jesus saves sinners. No one will enter the kingdom of God who does not repent of sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:9-10). But God takes no delight in the exile of the lost. He has sent us not to condemn the world but to point the world to a curse-bearing, sin-canceling Christ. Our good news is only good if it’s true, and that means telling the truth about the Judgment Seat. And our good news is only good if it speaks with an invitation to life for all who repent and believe.
Let’s stand with the ancient truth of God’s word—about marriage and sexuality and everything else. And let’s stand with the truth of God’s word—that Jesus delights in saving sinners, any sinners who will come. Let’s speak that gospel to the men in the dresses and to the men with the megaphones, and everyone in between.