The Supreme Court V Moral Absolutes

On Tuesday, April 28th 2015 the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the legalizing of gay marriage in all 50 states. A decision is expected later this summer. Over 100,000 churches participated in a national solemn assembly to pray for the nine Justices who will decide the case. As was predictable, the court seemed to be split down the middle with the four conservatives leaning toward the biblical definition of marriage as being a covenant between one man and one woman, and the four liberals leaning in favor of gay marriage. I use the term ‘leaning’ with a bit of sarcasm since two of the female liberals have already officiated gay weddings. Justice Kennedy seems to be the swing vote. It is imperative that the Church continues to hold all nine Justices in prayer as they debate the issue over the next couple of months.

Much of the debate about the constitutionality of gay marriage and other important moral issues centers around two opposing viewpoints. The first is that the Constitution is a document that contains moral absolutes: Truths to govern human behavior that are based on the commandments of God and that are not subject to change over time. The second perspective is that the Constitution is a “living document”, meaning that it can and should evolve to suit the current standards of morality, whatever they may be. While it sounds noble and enlightened to speak of the Constitution as being a living document, the truth is that this is simply Moral Relativism. Moral relativism is the rejection of any kind of absolute and is based on the idea that we should all do what is right in our own eyes apart from any inviolable standard.

Moral relativism is the doctrine of Secular Humanism. One simply cannot claim to be a Christian, believing in the inerrancy of Scripture, and at the same time speak and act from a world view that is based on moral relativism and that rejects moral absolutes. (I hasten to add that if one rejects the inerrancy of Scripture then one is not a Christian. In that case, according to the apostle Paul that person is a heretic.) Much of the current confusion in the Church over gay marriage is rooted in the clash between moral absolutes and relativism. And this is exactly what is on trial before the Supreme Court this spring. The issue of gay marriage, while critically important to our society, is really only the latest indicator of the actual crisis: We are a society that has rejected moral absolutes and are now experiencing the instability and divine judgment that accompanies such a rejection. Make no mistake, nothing less than the authority of Scripture is on trial in America.

I wish to make it perfectly clear that the Church must embrace the gay community and demonstrate the love of Jesus to them. I have gay friends, and I have a brother who is gay. I treat them with dignity and respect, and I stand with them against the hate that is shown them by groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church. But it must also be made clear that Jesus defined love in the context of obedience.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)

There is no such thing, biblically speaking, as loving gays (or any other group) outside of the expressed will and commandments of God. This is not because God is a cold, hard lawgiver Who shows intolerance to anyone who is not a Bible thumper. It is because He loves all of us deeply and He knows that we will only find true happiness and ultimately, eternal life, when our morals and hopes are rooted in His Word. True biblical love does not involve agreeing with, or advocating for, the “right” of people to violate the clear commandments of God. Rather, biblical love gives dignity and grace to all people while calling them to bring their broken selves to the cross. All are equal before the cross of Christ; the same standards for repentance, forgiveness, healing, and fulfillment are shown to all of us regardless of our race or gender.

When it comes to homosexual behaviors, the Scriptures leave no doubt as to the commandment of the Lord:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (I Cor. 6: 9-11)

I would note two things from this passage: First, homosexuality is not the only behavior condemned. There are many adulterers and drunkards and money grubbers within the Church who are just as guilty of violating God’s standards for behavior as are gays. Secondly, Paul lists homosexuality as something that can be changed. “And such were some of you.” It is a lie that Jesus is not able to heal the gay person who comes to Him with sincerity, seeking deliverance from the gay lifestyle in obedience to the Scriptures. Regarding the first point, repentance is required of the Church for all of her sins! However, the adulterers and drunkards are not demanding legal protection for their sins, and so that brings us back to the issue before us in the Supreme Court.

There is no such thing as gay marriage. The biblical definition for marriage is the covenant union between a man and a woman. This is a moral absolute, clearly articulated by Jesus:

“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matt. 9:4)

A person (or a Supreme Court Justice) either accepts and submits to the absolute moral truths of Scripture, or they do not. There is no middle ground. This is precisely what will be decided by the court. The Constitution was written by men who understood the importance of moral absolutes, calling them “self-evident.” In other words, anyone with a brain can understand them without any fancy explanations. It is not a lack of intelligence that has caused our national rejection of moral absolutes, but rather a lack of wisdom that is fueled by the rejection of God.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie…

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1: 18-32)

Pray for the United States, and for the Justices who will decide this landmark case that some are calling the most important court decision in our history. We no longer live in a society based on moral absolutes. This leads to the frightening conclusion that our Constitution is in deep jeopardy because it was written by people and for people who embraced the moral absolutes found in Scripture. The embracing of moral relativism by a secular society and a backslidden Church has paved the way for destruction. The peril is desperate; Jesus Christ and His leadership are our only hope.

I encourage you to study Psalm 37 as a guide for prayer at this hour.