7/2/15 – Our Pastoral Response to the Supreme Court Ruling

As you know, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision making gay marriage legal in all 50 states. We have taken time to prayerfully seek God’s guidance and provide a thoughtful response.

Summit teaches what Jesus said about marriage. It is God’s design for one man and one woman to marry for a lifetime (Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:2-9). The question is how we (as a church and each of us individually) can address this emotional issue in a helpful way. Here are a few common responses, followed by the one we recommend:

COMMON RESPONSES
Two Thumbs Up – Celebrate the ruling as a wonderful decision. Say that what matters most is how people feel, and that love wins. (love trumps truth)
Angry & Harsh – Rant online and in person about gay marriage and LGBT lifestyles. Speak about how wrong it is without any regard for people you hurt. (truth trumps love)
Bunker Mentality – Decide that churches and Christians should circle the wagons. Instead of engaging culture, figure out a modern-day version of the monastery that stays “separate and pure” from the influences of the world. (avoidance)

OUR RECOMMENDED APPROACH
Love & Respect – Display Christ-like love for people and a deep respect for the truth of God’s Word. We don’t believe these are mutually exclusive concepts. Psalm 117:2 says, “God’s merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endures forever.” Jesus taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:29-31). As followers of Christ, we are also called to live by God’s Word rather than our opinion (or what a Supreme Court justice says). Even when it is inconvenient, “we must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

Summit has always been a place that welcomes people to discover Jesus and grow in faith. One of our key values is to create a community where it’s okay to belong before you believe. We welcome and love every person who walks through our doors on Sunday morning. That will not change.

We believe that Jesus Christ is the hope of the world. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” but Jesus forgives and restores us. (Romans 3:23-24) We humbly know that we need Jesus as much as everyone else. It’s a gift we want for everyone in our community and world.

Regrettably some Christians treat certain sins as worse than others. That is hypocritical. Too often people make a bigger deal out of homosexuality than other sins. Passages like I Corinthians 6:9-20 remind us that we are all in the same boat. The answer is not to accept every lifestyle choice as okay. The answer is to lovingly and respectfully invite people to experience a life-changing relationship with Christ.

That is why Summit is not going to start a political fight about gay marriage. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36) He taught that hope was found not in a political solution but a spiritual one. We will stay true to God’s Word but will keep our primary mission to reach others for Jesus, one life at a time.

If you are worried about all these societal changes, hold tightly to Jesus’ promise: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.” (John 14:1) We’re optimistic about the future. Why? Because our hope does not rest on what our government does but on what Jesus has done. “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 31:24)

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Nate and Pastor Vince

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