John Piper (theologian) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The people of Minnesota are voting on an amendment to their state constitution defining marriage as “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.” Sound familiar California? We had a similar vote about four years ago. It passed, but an activist judge struck it down. Our battle is somewhere in the appeals stage. I hope your vote goes the way it has for every state where the people have had a chance to vote. In other words, I hope traditional marriage wins out.
A sermon by John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis came to my attention this week. While he didn’t come outright in favor of the proposed marriage amendment, Dr. Piper preached a sermon directly on the Biblical basis for marriage and laid out a number of Biblical principles to help his flock think through this issue. I will include the main points of his sermon here because he sums up quite succinctly some of the best thinking on this battle of our culture war.
1. Marriage is created and defined by God in the Scriptures as the sexual and covenantal union of a man and a woman in life-long allegiance to each other alone, as husband and wife, with a view to displaying Christ’s covenant relationship to his blood-bought church.
2. There is no such thing as so-called same-sex marriage, and it would be wise not to call it that.
3. Same sex desires and same sex orientation are part of our broken and disordered sexuality owing to God’s subjection of the created order to futility because of man’s sin.
4. Therefore, same-sex intercourse, not same-sex desire is the focus of Paul’s condemnation when he threatens exclusion from the kingdom of God.
5. Therefore, it would contradict love and contradict the gospel of Jesus to approve homosexual practice, whether by silence, or by endorsing so-called same-sex marriage, or by affirming the Christian ordination of practicing homosexuals.
6. The good news of Jesus is that God saves heterosexual sinners and homosexual sinners who trust Jesus, by counting them righteous because of Christ, and by helping them through his Spirit to live lives pleasing to him in their disordered brokenness.
7. Deciding what actions will be made legal or illegal through civil law is a moral activity aiming at the public good and informed by the worldview of each participant.
8. Don’t press the organization of the church or her pastors into political activism. Pray that the church and her ministers would feed the flock of God with the word of God centered on the gospel of Christ crucified and risen. Expect from your shepherds not that they would rally you behind political candidates or legislative initiatives, but they would point you over and over again to God and to his word, and to the cross.
Main Points of Sermon, “‘Let Marriage be Held in Honor’ Thinking Biblically about So-called Same-sex Marriage”, John Piper, June 16, 2012.
Even though Dr. Piper says not press the church or her pastors into political activism, if more pastors would simply lay out the Biblical framework as he did, Christians would be much better informed in their values and voting. This is much closer to the Black Robed Regiment that David Barton talks about than what I hear on Sunday. If you have a chance to read or listen to the sermon, I recommend looking over point number 7 carefully. Dr. Piper puts the issue of codifying traditional marriage into very clear terms.
What do you think of John Piper’s stance? Are there other points he should cover?