Last Sunday a group of radical gay activists disrupted a church service in Lansing, Michigan. One group of protesters demonstrated outside the church while another group actually disrupted the worship service by shouting, throwing fliers, and even pulling the fire alarm to create panic inside the church.
In California gay-rights activists have picketed Mormon temples and churches and Saddleback Church (pastored by Rick Warren) in response to the passage of Proposition 8 that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
As the culture war over gay marriage heats up, we can expect protests like this to increase across the country. There are a number of ways churches can respond, but I am only going to focus on one thing I think every church in America should do.
Put marriage in your church constitution.
If you believe the Bible teaches that marriage is the God ordained union of one man and one woman, put it in your constitution. Add it to your Statement of Faith so that there can be no ambiguity over this crucial topic. Most churches don’t have such a statement because when the church was founded, no one imagined a day when something like gay marriage would be proposed. But, verily, that day is upon us.
The church that I pastored for over sixteen years added such a statement, not because we suddenly started believing something different about marriage, but simply to codify what our founders didn’t mention because it wasn’t issue when the church started was started in 1915.
Here’s the article we added to the church constitution:
J. Marriage and Family
We believe that marriage was ordained by God at creation as the sacred union of one man and one woman. All sexual relations must therefore be reserved for that union. Christian marriage is a representation of Christ’s relationship to His church. We also believe that children are a blessing from the Lord. Thus all human life is sacred and worthy of protection from the moment of conception. Genesis 1:26-28; 2:24; Psalm 127 & 128; 139:13-16; Matthew 19:1-10; I Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 5:22-33; Hebrew 13:4.
In times of controversy, churches ought to be specific about what they believe. Certainly those churches that favor acceptance of homosexuality have been forceful in stating their views. Fine, that’s the American way. But the vast majority of churches hold to a traditional understanding of marriage as between one man and one woman.
If that’s what your church believes, don’t just say it. Put it in writing. Before the protesters show up at your church, make sure everyone knows where you stand. Or more accurately, make sure everyone knows exactly what you believe the Bible teaches about marriage and the family.