This was in my email inbox late last week:
"Please remove me from your email list. I attended and enjoyed a FamilyLife conference, however, I will not support a group that only believes in marriage equality for certain people. I strongly disagree with this email that you sent out. What about love and acceptance and equality for everyone? I hope one day that people will stop being judged for who they love."
You may remember that two weeks ago I emailed you to encourage you to listen to a special edition of FamilyLife Today® where I spoke about the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding so-called “same-sex marriage.”
The response to that email exceeded the response to any email we have ever sent to friends and radio listeners. And as I began reading through the responses last week, honestly, I was caught off guard by a number of letters from our friends.
There appears to be passionate and growing support for so-called “same-sex marriage” among those who profess faith in Christ.
The first email went to people who have been touched by our ministry in some way. They have either attended one of our Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways or they are listeners to FamilyLife Today. These are friends who know not only what we teach but also how we do ministry. Over the years, they have supported our work or have been encouraged in their marriages and families.
And many who responded said they share our concern about the redefinition of marriage in our culture. One listener wrote:
"I pray every day for this country and our president. Things sure have changed in a short time in our country. Though I am saddened, I know God is in control and I ask God to be a lamp unto my feet each day. I pray for a grass root change. Thank you for being strong and courageous in times like this."
Another friend wrote back and said:
"Thank you so much for including me in your mission… Yes, God is greater !! Our prayers are with you, and for the body of Christ. “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16.33). God’s truth will prevail."
I received many other encouraging responses from people who share our views about marriage as it is defined in Genesis 2.
But clearly, there are many who disagree. Strongly. Like this person
"I celebrated the Supreme Court rulings yesterday with my amazing gay Christian friends. I felt tears well up in my eyes because this represents justice to me. The assumption that because I am a Christian, I must be upset about today, took me by surprise. These emails do not represent my heart and my convictions, so I have I unsubscribed."
She is far from alone in her views. Here’s what another person wrote:
"Whereas I fully enjoyed the conference my husband and I attended many years ago, I simply do NOT share your views.
I believe EVERYONE is created equal in the eyes of the Lord, regardless of color, religion, and sexual orientation.
EVERYONE deserves to love and be loved by whomever they choose. It is truly a blessing to have someone who cares for you unconditionally.
I am so happy about the court's decision and can only hope that it will lead to ALL states legalizing same-sex marriage and allowing those blessed people to also be recognized by the Federal Government and given EVERY right that "traditional" married couples benefit from.
Please remove my email address from your mailing list, as I'm sure after reading the above, you also would no longer like to have any connection to me."
Interesting days indeed.
I shared with a friend this morning that I feel like a big bull’s eye has been painted on Barbara and me and FamilyLife. Who would have thought that a ministry that teaches God’s design for marriage and family could be labeled,“bigotted.” That the idea that God created marriage as a lifelong covenant relationship between a man and a woman would now be decried as “hate speech.” Human speculation now trumps divine decree.
The Supreme Court may be the highest court in the land, but it is asserting itself above the ultimate authority of all creation. The Supreme Court is tampering with the divine DNA of the most basic units of civilization—marriage and family. Like every civilization that has gone before us, I’m afraid our country is on a path to learning that when we ignore God and His word, we invite His displeasure. I’m reminded of what I heard someone say once about the Ten Commandments—you don’t break the Ten Commandments, they break you.
We have apparently lost some friends because we continue to uphold the definition of marriage found in Genesis. No one likes to lose a friend. It’s even harder when the friend is angry with you. But there are times when your convictions may collide with the views of a friend. And in those moments, you have to decide where you stand.
As for me and my house, we’re standing with what we believe the Bible clearly teaches.
Here’s what you can count on from FamilyLife and its outreaches:
1. We will continue to stand unapologetically for the truth of Scripture and teach the biblical blueprints for marriage and family regardless of the cost.
2. Even though we are imperfect broken people, we will do our best with the strength that God supplies to “Speak that truth in love.” We are going to do our best to be winsome and compassionate to all.
3. We will seize this opportunity to proclaim the need for forgiveness for ALL people. Jesus Christ is the sinless Savior who died on a cross to forgive the sins of all who will turn to Him in repentance and faith. And that there is no other name under heaven or Earth whereby we must be saved … other than the Name of Jesus. This is the redemption message that the whole world needs to hear.
My friend Dr. Russell Moore summed it all up in a blog post he wrote last week. He concluded by saying:
"Same-sex marriage is headed for your community. This is no time for fear or outrage or politicizing. It’s a time for forgiven sinners, like us, to do what the people of Christ have always done. It’s time for us to point beyond our family values and our culture wars to the cross of Christ as we say: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”"
4. We will pray and take advantage of this opportunity to use every live conference, thousands of video events, our growing digital outreach, and FamilyLife Today to find, equip and unleash a movement of lay men and women like you, who refuse to do nothing about the downward spiral of our families.
I believe that our nation needs the church and its people to uphold what the bible teaches about marriage in their neighborhoods, communities and states. And in the past 2 and a half years, more than over 20,000 couples and thousands of individuals have hosted small groups and video events that have impacted over 400,000 people through ®The Art of Marriage and the Stepping Up™ Video Series. And we are just getting started.
I am more convinced than ever that this is the ministry of the hour in our country. Thanks for standing with us.
Please pray for us,
Reaching Out with Compassion - As we interact with homosexuals, we need to balance truth with compassion.
Why We Oppose Gay Marriage - Understanding God's purposes for marriage.