The Supreme Court of the United States is set to hand down a set of decisions this summer that could advance a cultural and political shift in the way marriage is defined in this country. Is your church ready for this?
By that, I don’t mean whether your church has a position on the definition of marriage, or whether your people are ready to express their opinions or vent their outrage on social media or talk radio. All that’s easy. The question is whether our churches are ready to create marriage cultures that matter, regardless of the cultural moment.
In a few weeks, my denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, will gather in Houston for our annual meeting. If you’re coming, you’re invited to a special conversation about reclaiming a marriage culture in troubled times, sponsored by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
I’ll be joined by my friends, pastors David Platt and J.D. Greear, women’s ministry leader Susie Hawkins, and Paige Patterson, the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. We’ll talk about how you can get your congregation ready to think through the next fifty years of discipleship on marriage.
I have argued for years that our churches aren’t an embassy of biblical ethics in a land of sexual revolution. The embassy is aflame, and the sexual revolutionary flag is waving atop our consulate. We’ve surrendered on marriage in too many ways: on its permanence, on fidelity, and even too many times on its nature rooted in sexual complementarity. Just because we’re not marrying two grooms or two brides, yet, doesn’t mean we’re standing firm on marriage.
We’ll talk about how to disciple people toward Ephesians 5, not toward a cultural ideal (even if that cultural ideal is “traditional”). We’ll talk about how to protect your church from religious liberty incursions that come along with marriage redefinition. We’ll discuss how to explain the changing cultural conversation to children and to teenagers. We’ll discuss how to preach these issues. And we’ll talk about practical matters your people will ask. Is it okay to attend a same-sex marriage since Jesus ate with tax-collectors? Should a Christian florist deliver flowers to such a wedding? What should we do about the divorces in our churches right now?
Join us in Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center, on Tuesday, June 11 at 7:00 am, in the General Assembly Theater on Level 3. We’ll have breakfast, fellowship, and some good conversation. And maybe we’ll ignite something of a marriage revolution of our own.