Responding to the theological and religious-liberty implications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 decision regarding same-sex marriage, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod issued a statement from the Rev. Bart Day, executive director of the LCMS Office of National Mission, saying “we are saddened for our nation, even as we call our fellow Christians to faithfulness and prayer.”
“As Christians, we believe and confess that God Himself instituted marriage as the lifelong union of one man and one woman,” Day said in the statement found at thelc.ms/19Cdp5j. “As Christians, we proclaim this truth, no matter what the courts or legislatures may say.”
“Now there is a much larger looming issue,” said the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, LCMS president. “This ruling portends a growing bureaucratic opposition to our First Amendment right to ‘free exercise of religion,’ our ability to speak the Gospel and our capacity to perform acts of mercy in caring for our neighbor, including those who struggle with same-sex attraction. Yet God is in His heavens, and we are baptized for this moment.”
The statement was issued shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision was announced. It was emailed to about 17,000 pastors and church workers, who were encouraged to share the statement with congregation members, family and friends “reminding them that the LCMS will continue to teach marriage according to God’s plan and gift.”
“We are called not to popularity but to truth,” Day said in the statement. “Therefore, we call on our fellow Christians to be faithful first to God’s Word, knowing that another court is ultimately supreme. Marriage is a fundamental building block of society, binding parents to their offspring.
“Every child benefits from the nurture of a mother and the leadership of a father.”
In the last week of its term, the Supreme Court announced its history-making decision in the case regarding the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman for the purposes of federal benefits.
By a 5-to-4 vote, the court said part of the DOMA was unconstitutional. The court did not rule on the other provision of the law, which shields states from being forced to recognize same-sex marriages from other states, because it was not contested.
Legally married same-sex couples will now be entitled to claim federal benefits that are available to opposite-sex married couples. The ruling will not affect 36 states that ban same-sex marriage.
The court dismissed a related case, a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 that bans same-sex marriage, saying it did not have jurisdiction to issue a ruling.
In the LCMS statement, Day said the LCMS will continue to proclaim marriage “as a picture of Christ’s love for His bride, the church,” and that the LCMS “will continue to be a place of forgiveness, mercy and healing for all people.”
Day has spearheaded several marriage resources in recent weeks on behalf of the LCMS, releasing a “marriage toolkit” (found at lcms.org/freetobefaithful) that includes a Bible study, frequently asked questions on marriage, bulletin inserts and worship resources.
On June 19, Day also took part in the LCMS’ first-ever live “tweet chat,” which focused on same-sex marriage, the Synod’s understanding of marriage and what Scripture has to say on the matter. Day and Dr. Beverly Yahnke, executive director for Christian Counsel at DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization, served as moderators. (Click here to read a related story.)
(Updated June 27, 2013)
Thank you for always upholding the standard: THE WORD! We prayed they wouldn’t do this,but knew the way the moral standards have eroded they likely would. God help us to live our lives so we will “shine our light so men will see it and our good works and give God the glory.”
I too, am deeply saddened by this ruling. I, however, am glad to read of LCMS stand on gay marriage. I will continue to pray for our country and for the President Obama that he can see the error of his ways and will stop tearing our country apart.
I firmly believe God is in control and he has the ultimate plan for our lives and our country.
I will, however, admit it is hard to sit by and watch everything I hold dear “fall apart”
Blessings on your day.
What if they did uphold the Word? What if they held up the part that said, “Love thy neighbor, as I have loved you”? They haven’t changed anything in the love that you have for God, or the love that you have for another. No one can change that, but you.
A note of explanation to Veronica and others who share her feelings. I am a Christian, and I believe that I and other Christians strive to love our neighbors as Christ has loved us. How has Christ loved me? He has loved me as His creation that He planned to save after sin entered the world. He has loved me as my Savior who redeemed me by dying on the cross to pay for my many sins. And He has loved me as His Spirit who loves me enough to guide me out of sinful situations and tell me “no” sometimes because He wants the very best for me. Even Jesus said to the adulteress in John 8:11 “Go now and leave your life of sin.” He wanted more for her, and He wants more for me. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write in 1 Cor. 6:12, “Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial.” I hope this helps answer your legitimate question and helps you understand where some of us are coming from. You are correct that the ruling does not change God’s love for me, my love for Him, or Christians’ love for others. This love is the reason we want to live as God wants us to and to encourage others to do the same. Blessings!
One of the issues the Church has been combating for quite some time is post-modernism. This concept promotes the idea that there are no absolutes by which we are bound, which in turn causes people to no longer see things for what they truly are. People who subscribe to this line of thought mysteriously have the right to live as they chose, and thereby identify anything as they see fit. For instance, let’s say you have a cat. One day you wake up and decide you’d free this poor creature from the social confines of its catliness. Since you feel there are no absolutes, you now chose to identify it as a dog. Despite the fact that this dog still meows, scratches furniture, and chases mice, you submit to your own misguided authority. This trend of thinking further bears itself out in modern society in terms of identifying gender, when life begins, and now the concept of marriage, all of which ultimately reject the authority of the God (YHWH).
Having an orthodox focus on theology and doctrine is something the institutionalized church has neglected in recent years. Marriage is a good example of this. Marriage is a concept that cannot be so narrowly defined simply as a union, especially in today’s world. It can represent the marrying (joining) of two pieces of wood together, or the marrying of two spices in a dish. Rev. Day, and many members of the LC-MS see it as, “the lifelong union of one man and one woman.” The question is, can two people of the same sex stand together and be married to one another? In an abstract way of thinking, yes. However, two people of the same sex cannot become one. The, “one flesh,” reality between one man and one woman is what God instituted in the beginning, and is the matter of fact on which our focus should be centered. Any exchange of human sexuality outside of the one flesh union is adultery. Unfortunately, too many of our great godly men in white have narrowed their focus and are cultivating a new breed of Pharisees. Perhaps we should dump the idea of marriage, and go back to what we know.
I was raised attending a Lutheran school and church, and recently learned they elected a homosexual bishop. I informed the pastor I was sad to have to disassociate with that church, and upon doing some research learned they are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which turns out to have a number of liberal policies, as do Catholics.
While the use of the term “ruling” in the news story headline is not “wrong,” as such, its use does tend to reinforce a false understanding of the role that the Supreme Court of the United States is to play in the federal government of our country. The average citizen (probably in the Missouri Synod, too) understands the “rulings” of the Supreme Court to be the final say on any given subject upon which it issues a majority opinion in our society. That is not so. It has been allowed to become the prevailing understanding, but it is incorrect. With the political will, the Congress and the President, working together, can pass and sign legislation into law that supersedes the majority opinion of the Supreme Court. Further, an amendment to the federal constitution, again with the political will to do so, can be passed over the Supreme Court’s opinion. When this important fact is remembered, the Supreme Court is held to its proper place as the third and weakest branch of the federal government.
Thank you for upholding God’s truths.
Romans 1 is very clear about this issue.
I’m saddened for a church that thinks its bigotry should be the law of the land or erroneously feels its religious freedom is somehow threatened by the civil rights of a minority it refuses to recognize without approbation.
I was raised in the Lutheran Church. Stories like this make me ashamed of that fact. This is disgusting intolerance from Dr. Harrison.
I read your post and had a couple of questions in response. Please accept them with the goodwill that I send them. Would you agree that Christ was intolerant of sinning? Would you agree that Christ was tolerant of sinners so that they could be brought into relationship wih Him? What are you suggesting Dr. Hamilton is intolerant of? It is a Christian’s calling to become more and more like Christ.
Thank you for considering my comments.