God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress (Psalm 46:1–7).
A one-person majority of the U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong – again. Some 40 years ago, a similarly activist court legalized the killing of children in the womb. That decision has to date left a wake of some 55 million Americans dead. Today, the Court has imposed same-sex marriage upon the whole nation in a similar fashion. Five justices cannot determine natural or divine law. Now shall come the time of testing for Christians faithful to the Scriptures and the divine institution of marriage (Matthew 19:3–6), and indeed, a time of testing much more intense than what followed Roe v. Wade.
Like Roe v. Wade, this decision will be followed by a rash of lawsuits. Through coercive litigation, governments and popular culture continue to make the central post-modern value of sexual freedom override “the free exercise of religion” enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
The ramifications of this decision are seismic. Proponents will seek to drive Christians and Christian institutions out of education at all levels; they will press laws to force faithful Christian institutions and individuals to violate consciences in work practices and myriad other ways. We will have much more to say about this.
During some of the darkest days of Germany, a faithful Lutheran presciently described how governments lose their claim to legitimate authority according to Romans 13.
The Caesar cult in its manifold forms, the deification of the state, is one great form of the defection from the [true] idea of the state. There are also other possibilities of such defection. The government can forget and neglect its tasks. When it no longer distinguishes between right and wrong, when its courts are no longer governed by the strict desire for justice, but by special interests, when government no longer has the courage to exercise its law, fails to exercise its duties, undermines its own legal order, when it weakens through its family law parental authority and the estate of marriage, then it ceases to be governing authority.
Raising such a question can lead to heavy conflicts of conscience. But it is fundamentally conceivable, and it has time and again become reality in history, that a governing authority has ceased to be governing authority. In such a case there may indeed exist a submission to a superior power. But the duty of obedience against this power no longer exists. [Hermann Sasse, “What Is the State?”(1932)]
As faithful Christians, we shall continue to be obedient to just laws. We affirm the human rights of all individuals and the inherent and equal value of all people. We respect the divinely given dignity of all people, no matter their sexual preference. We recognize that, under the exacting and demanding laws of God, we are indeed sinners in thought, word and deed, just as are all (Romans 3:9ff.). We confess that the “blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all our sins” (1 John 1:7). We confess that God’s divine law of marriage and the entire Ten Commandments apply to all, and that so also the life-giving sacrifice of Christ on the cross is for all. It is a “righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3:22).
However, even as we struggle as a church to come to a unified response to this blatant rejection of the entire history of humankind and its practice of marriage, “We shall obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). Christians will now begin to learn what it means to be in a state of solemn conscientious objection against the state. We will resist its imposition of falsehood upon us, even as we continue to reach out to those who continue to be harmed by the ethic of radical sexual freedom, detached from God’s blessing of marriage. And we will stand shoulder to shoulder with Christians, churches and people of good will who are resolute on this issue.
God help us. Amen.
Pastor Matthew C. Harrison
- Marriage Policy — Sample marriage policy for LCMS congregations and sample provisions limiting the use of church property to marriages that are consistent with LCMS beliefs
- Sanctity of Marriage Ruling Response — Letter from the Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr., president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, and discussion points prepared by the Rev. Dr. Peter J. Scaer
- “Why Marriage Matters” — A Bible Study by the Rev. Timothy Pauls
- Biblical Understanding — Resources that provide a biblical understanding of God’s gift of marriage between a man and a woman
- Case for Marriage — Help for making the case for marriage when talking with those who disagree
- Know a College Student? — Share a letter of encouragement regarding marriage from the Rev. Marcus Zill, director of LCMS U
- Concordia Publishing House — Resources on marriage
- Doxology Conference — Sex, Marriage and the Christian Vision | Aug. 12-13 in St. Louis
- Supreme Court opinion
This is a great article. Last night as I was praying I knew that this was going to pass. My heart mourns for my grandchildren and great grandchildren. The battle lines have been drawn and I will stand with God.
Well said ! May God grant all the faithful to remain true to the clear teachings of Scripture. So many have already prostrated themselves before the altar of secular humanism all the while retaining a “veneer” of the Christian faith.
Our beloved pastor and president has spoken well. God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ bless him and have mercy on America.
God bless you for your courage. There is not enough of that these days. The assault against Christianity on all fronts goes on unabated.
May God be with…. the ridicule and persecution is about to get ramped up to another level. The separation of His faithful is underway.
Pray… pray unceasingly….
I had no doubt that God would not let any other words be spoken by you. For God is in control of what you do and say too. As God is in control overall things within this universe in which God has placed us within. For now it is Time to be patient for God to show us and lead us in what Gods intentions, The outcome Will put upon us in the future to come. We must keep the faith with in or Lord and Savior he will give guidance how to continue on into the future to deal with the evil that may come from this situation that we have been placed within
Thank you, Pastor. We will stand with you and teach our children to preserve the Gospel.
God gives us the strength to remain faithful to Your will. See us through to our heavenly home.
One large step for mankind…backwards, towards Sodom and Gomorrah. I fear for the world.
My father was a Lutheran minister LCMS and has since passed, but I know he is rolling over in his grave. My brother and I both believe that soon we will see another Sodom and Gomorrah. It is unbelieveable how many people do not know about Sodom and Gomorrah.
Thank you Pastor. God Bless you.
God grant us wisdom, courage, and compassion as we attempt, by God’s grace, to muddle through these dark and murky times. May He be our light and shine through us to show the victims of the Prince of Darkness to the glorious shelter of the Prince of Peace.
And, indeed, thank you, Rev. President, for your faithfulness, courageousness, and eloquence which always uplifts and sustains your brothers and sisters in the Faith. God’s peace to us all. Kyrie eleison!
I respectfully sunbmit that that you re-read the scriptures on homosexual acts that had nothing to do with gay orientation. People were upset when women were given rights and slavery ended. We have a living bible… not a dead one. If you look at the tradtion of one man and one women marriage you would bve horrified. Matthew Harrison is responsible for edicating his flock on the truth and not bigotry. He is miles away from the truth.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
well spoken sir! I hope you are wrong. But more likely, welcome to the 3rd century, again. Christ’s love brought through similar societies, and will again
God bless you. VERY well said.
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.[d] But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
No matter what 5 lawyers in black robes think about what marriage should be, I will not disobey God. In my conscience, marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman.
Amen to you, brother Harrison.
God will bring us through. The Church remains God’s lighthouse in the dark periods in history and always will!
We now must stand with God and not with man regarding marriage. Maybe the time is now here that pastors should stop signing marriage certificates. Couples may need to once again be legally married at the court house (government) and then come to the church (pastor) for God’s blessing on their marriage.
This is the solution. I just heard a caller on the Ben Ferguson show. He said churches should perform Holy Matrimony. When the gay couple shows up at the church wanting to get “married” they can truthfully be told “We don’t perform marriages anymore.”
Independence Day now looks to be a day of mourning for what was and is no longer. God grant us the strength to endure what is to come.
Thank you President Harrison for your comments that encourage us to remain faithful in the days ahead
Great response President Harrison. Looks like it’s time to have an attorney on retainer. Sad days for this country are surely upon us.
This is a sad comment and sad attitude not just in today’s world but anytime ever. Have you ever tried love and forgiveness? I am so discouraged by these Christian comments and ashamed of this faith.
This was helpful to read, and encouraging. Thank you.
Come Lord Jesus.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me~~ Martin Niemöller
They’re coming for the Christians. Who will speak out for us?
“If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
This could all get very interesting.
What a complete and utter misappropriation of Martin Niemöller.
Of all the responses I’ve read, yours is most poignant. The Christian community, LCMS included, continues to stick its head in the proverbial sand and pretend anti-Christian federal government actions and legislative actions aren’t happening…and then “we” feign surprise when the Supreme Court places its stamp of approval on these. Where are the Peters, the Pauls, and the Dietrich Bonhoeffers of our generation???
Loves this reply. It speaks to all of us. I’ve long professed to whom ever would listen that the very freedoms that we hold onto so tightly will one day be our downfall. I’ve also said that apathy is the great destroyer of civilizations.
This is for governments on the state, local and federal level to accept gay marriage. Why deny them their rights? Marriage In this country is a legal matter not a religious matter. If it was, judges, mayors and ship captains wouldn’t be able to LEGALLY marry people.
Finally someone who states the facts. All people are now treated equally. Same sex marriage does not mean the couple is gay. It is not good for man to be alone according to Synod’s bible study is suggested not to be discussed. If not married it is best to live life alone. And finally marriage is not “one” until a child is born. Where does that leave childless couples?
Facts? The facts are that marriage is, was, and always has been a union between a man and a woman. This ruling and what certain people think does not change that fact. One may wish to live a life in some kind of legal union with a person of the same sex, or maybe with 2 or 3 other people, or whatever else you want, but that is not a “marriage.” If this were purely about obtaining government tax and other benefits for any kind of union of 2 people, then it should have been addressed that way instead of attempting to redefine the meaning of a word that has a very specific meaning.
Marriage, as defined in this thread, is God given.
Ok, judges, mayors and ship captains can LEGALLY marry people. Are you saying PASTORS should stay out of it? Are you advocating against my RIGHT to be married in the church by a Pastor? I didn’t want to be married by a legal person, My husband and I chose to be married in church, blessed by God, and will soon be married 44 years. We only have a LEGAL document because it IS required by the state.
Thank you, Pastor Harrison, for your bold declaration of truth. I will be praying for you and all our pastors and churches.
President/Pastor Harrison…I do hope that the supreme court receives your letter and reads it carefully. Is it being published for their review by any chance?
I will continue to be faithful to God’s Word and continue to pray for our world. God, give us Christians the strength to continue in your Holy Word. Amen!
We live in the world but are not of the world. Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.
Amen! Thank you, Pastor Harrison.
Thank you Pastor! I pledge toI stand with God’s word and our Christian faith.
Thank you Pastor! I pledge to stand by God’s word and our Christian faith regardless of personal cost or sacrifice.
I used to pray: God bless America. And while there is nothing wrong w/ that, I now
pray: God Save America. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. It’s a spiritual battle. Always has been, always will be.
God bless you, Pastor, for remaining true to His Word on this issue. It is with great sadness that I have made the decision to leave my ELCA parish because of the ELCA denominational position on ordination of homosexuals & support of same-sex marriage. My decision has not been easy, but I finally realized I can’t, in good conscience, remain in a church that chooses to defy that which God clearly states in His Word. Please pray for ELCA faithful who are wrestling with this issue, there are many.
I, too, pray for all of our Christian brothers and sisters in Christ who wrestle with their church going against God’s laws. I fear for our country, whose moral code has deteriorated greatly, under the guise of being “updated,” and no longer “old-fashioned.” God’s word never changes. It’s difficult to say, ” Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
With the national debate on gay marriage and possible future Supreme Court decision on the topic, I was thinking about the Biblical basis for supporting equality and gay marriage. I’m drawn to the story of Jesus healing the blind man in John 9.
Reading the chapter in its entirety, it summarizes Jesus revolutionary message and the conflict that it raised with the accepted theology and the social structure based upon that theology. Jesus in healing the blind man demonstrates through action that one’s position in the Kingdom of God is not preordained because of the sins inherited from one’s great-great grandparents as dictated in the Law (Numbers 13).
So if Christ’s message is that to be born anew is to be washed of the sins of one’s parents and grandparents and to be accepted into the Kingdom as one is, regardless of infirmity or social status, then we should also be seeking to accept all those who have no decision in how they were born and the circumstances of their birth. So in my view, the Biblical basis is clear.
I was raised in an LCMS congregation, a grandson of two LCMS pastors, and yet I see a church that rejects the evidence that sexual orientation is not a choice but a trait that one is born with. Christ did not reject the leper, the tax collector or the prostitute. Neither should we reject those who call Christ their Savior but happen to be love and commit to those of their own sex.
‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[a]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matt 19:5,6
Jeff: In your reference to John 9, it seems that you are equating the man’s blindness to gay tendencies – both as conditions that people are born with, and maybe even suffer from through no fault of their own. I don’t know if that is a valid comparison or not, but following that logic should Jesus have left the blind man stay blind, then? Or, should the blind man have refused Jesus’s healing stating “sorry, but this is how I was born, and this is how I want to continue living”? But neither of those two possibilities came to be. Jesus offered healing and the blind man accepted by following Jesus’s instructions to wash in the Pool. I agree that we all have conditions that require understanding and love from our fellow believers, but I think it would be a mistake to accept, promote, and celebrate any of our sinful conditions as the way it ought to be. What a loss if we were to ignore the real-world healing that took place in John 9!
Thank you. I’m in the Presbyterian Church in America ( PCA). I agree with pastor Harrison’s letter wholeheartedly. We must stand together on these issues.
As a fellow Christian I feel that it is about time judgement isn’t allowed to hinder another’s happiness as it had for so long. Should us in the LGBT force churches to marry us? No. We’ve been given a right, and with that right I pray we don’t use it to hinder the happiness and beliefs of others. So many of us have felt the pain of having to either hide or compromise our own mentality to conform to those around us. And I hope as there is marriage equality that all the couples remember that and that we are courteous to accept that some churches are not open to the idea.
These are indeed sad times for our country and not what our Founding Fathers envisioned for this great land. We have truly lost our moral compass in government, but through all of this I am confident God had a plan and his will be done.
Gods blessings on you and other church leaders as we are forced to navigate this issue. Your knowledge and guidance are very much appreciated. May we stand together and defend OUR right to speak God’s truth.
Amen and amen! I am so thankful for President Harrison’s words and leadership.
Thank God we are a church of law and Gospel!!
Our nation is losing its morals, just as all great nations in the past.
Thank you for a clear and concise answer to SCOTUS ruling regarding same-sex marriage.
Your response will help all of us who believe in the sanctity of marriage as defined by our Creator and defined in His word to share our stance against same-sex, and at the same time continue to love those with opposite views.
Amen. Thank you, Pastor! The ruling will usher in an uncertain and troubling time for the church. I’ll pray for wisdom from our church leaders to guide the people.
Stand strong president Harrison! You are a gift of solidity to this synod in dark times. We will continue to pray for you as for this nation as this continues to unfold. In dark times the need for a strong leader who is faithful to and unwavering in his confession of the gospel becomes all the more pronounced.
It truly is a sad day when faithful churches and pastors are considering hiring lawyers to protect themselves from what may come with this ruling. Thanks to the 5 person majority of the court the US has entered into another Roe v. Wade argument that may never be resolved.
Thanks to Pres/Pastor Harrison for providing clear thinking and Biblical leadership as well as all faithful pastors of the Synod who do the same.
By the end of the year we in Australia also expect to have our laws changed – not by a referendum of the people or a decision by the High Court, but by the Federal Parliament.
Meanwhile the Muslims laugh at us and seek more converts both in first world countries (like ours) and third world countries. “Do you want the decadence of the West for your families and communities”, they say, “or will you accept the protection and security of Sharia law?”
In many ways the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod remains a beacon of light for the whole world. As we commemorate the anniversary of the Augsburg Confession, may God continue to grant you the people and the financial resources to promote His will and His saving grace though Jesus
Thank you Pastor Harrison for your message and leadership. I pray that all Christians would realize the peril of the present governance and go to the poles to make change for Christ. We need Christians in leadership no matter what their party affiliation if we are to make change. With Gods help all can be different. I will continue to uphold this nation in prayer.
Amen! Thank the Lord for the faith, wisdom, and strength He has given you.
This ruling adds even more stress for me. I have 3 grandsons and all 3 are gay. I am just about the only Christian in my family, and it is lonely. My family knows where and why I take a stand against their lifestyles, and so far we speak, but I am not respected, and I know there will come a time when I have to make a choice, because they will force me to make that choice. I pray that God will give us all the right words and the courage to stand for what we believe. It will take tremendous courage. It will take tremendous love and the knowledge that we have now entered an era where Christians who live their faith will become outcasts . These are dark times. I will be in prayer for our nation, our churches, pastors, our CHILDREN, schools and my list goes on because every person will be touched by this ruling in some way. I will also continue to pray for “Thy Kingdom come….”.
I will be praying for you! What a terrible place to be in. But God will sustain you!
My grandfather was a Lutheran minister and professor at St John’s College in Winfield KS. Just this past month, my mother was told me about how when he started teaching at the college that he found that the science curriculum which was being taught to our future Lutheran teachers was not up to date with the state of science. So he was tasked with the effort of updating the curriculum for all the LCMS teachers’ colleges. It has been almost 30 years since my grandfather passed away and science has advanced. In this 30 years’ time, God has given us the ability to understand the mystery of genetics. And through this insight, we have come to find that sexual orientation is not a choice but a trait formed at birth that is part inheritable and part dictated by environment. Jesus taught that God’s Kingdom is available to all regardless of social rank or infirmity. So when I pray the Lord’s Prayer, it is with this thought in mind. So I pray also that God’s Kingdom comes and that you may reconcile with your grandsons.
I was taught at Sunday School (Missouri Synod) that Jesus said you can’t go wrong if you love your neighbor, and do unto others.
If your neighbor forbid you to marry, you wouldn’t be happy. So, let gays marry, they are your neighbors whom you love right? Besides how does their love and commitment hurt your love and commitment? It doesn’t. So why do you even care?
Go ahead and delete this now, since I am sure you don’t condone love in the Lutheran Church- or openness of expression.
I look forward to further direction by the LCMS on this subject! Thank you, President Harrison, for taking the first step forward. I will continue to pray for you and for all of the LCMS, as well as for our country and our elected rulers, as we continue! Your friend in Christ, Jill
This continues to sadden me. I was baptised, raised, and confirmed in the LCMS. I was active in Walther League and outreach. But 30 years ago I realized you didn’t want me. Don’t worry, I’d never ask to be married in your church, where I’m not welcome.
Instead I’ve found a church home that loves me just the way God made me, and just the way you baptised and confirmed me. But I do miss you.
How can this decision that now grants rights to all in fairness be seen in anything but a positive light? The outrage that is being displayed and the vitriol that we are listening to is very similar to that that was put forth when when slavery was abolished, segregated schools were revoked and women were granted the same rights a men.
There is no possible argument that can be made to say that this was a bad decision. Full stop. We are to treat all people as equals and this decision has granted inclusion to all people. Christianity itself has fought for the same level of acceptance under many political systems world wide where it has been met with the same level of fear mongering and outrage that is being shown regarding equality for all. Hypocrisy is not dead it would seem.
Why is the level of outage rising now that this has become legal in the USA? Is the church not universal? Canada has had this legal decision for over 10 years and the church has not raised its voice in this fashion, but now that the US government has declared that it is illegal to discriminate there is a huge uprising. I did not know that God was American. There are many countries in the world where marriage has been inclusive for years with no issue but the American voice seems to need to be heard for some reason here. IS the US different from the rest of the world? Do different rules apply for the church there that I am unaware of?
Love all, respect all, live in peace and harmony.
GOD PLEASE HELP US
GOD HELP US
Thank you Pastor Harrison. You tied the genocide of abortion and this sham together nicely. Stand strong brothers and sisters……
Popular culture has it wrong. SCOTUS got it wrong. But Christians also continue to respond to these things wrong. I am in complete agreement with your statement, President Harrison. I would only add, for my brothers and sisters in Christ, the best, most effective response to an anti-Christ culture is love. Love our neighbor. Love our enemy. Love them with the love of Christ. True love casts out fear. In other words, we not only have nothing to fear from culture, we have everything to offer culture, but it must be done in love, Christ’s love. Too many Christians prioritize sin and declare homosexuality to be “the worst” or even “unforgivable”. This is a wrong-headed approach to cultural issues. I’m a sinner and so are you. We both need Christ’s sacrifice and His love. We, as Christians, have the privilege of showing Jesus love to a hurting, confused, lost world. Let’s be sure to show the world His Perfect Face, not our own flawed and fearful face.
Very good Christian response.
Good response. Out of curiosity I looked at the official websites of other evangelical denominations. For example the Evangelical Free Church. What do you see there? Positive outreach, missions, reaching out in Christ’s name. This current Synod president is obsessed with this issue. Put your efforts in telling the world about Jesus. No one can stop you from doing that.
Thank you for this guidance and response.
We have come from Jefferson’s Bible to the full blossom of an American Babylon. God have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy!
I am especially encouraged by Psalm 46 at President Harrison’s introduction.
This is very encouraging, President Harrison. Especially your inclusion of the Sasse quote and the warning therein. The cult of the State is alive and well in this country, on the right and the left. It is long past time for the Church to deal with that cult within her own ranks.
Thank you for being faithful.
Having just posted Pastor Harrison’s public statement about SCOTUS’ ruling, I would also like to respond as a congregational pastor. Civilly, this ruling has fundamentally changed the U.S. and our culture, it is the realistic result of saying that the parts of the baby in the womb don’t matter, so now in marriage and family it only follows that the parts of a girl or boy don’t matter. The bible speaks differently.
For the sake of God’s creation, what presupposed Roe v. Wade, was the acceptance that mankind didn’t matter, this fundamental shift in “what does it mean to be a “human” being was ushered in by Darwin’s evolutionary theory. However, never forget, the philosophical foundation of Darwin’s evolutionary theory was the same Hegelian philosophy of Karl Marx.
This is why the church cares more about condemning sin and forgiving it and all the while loving the immoral members of our communities, which begins with our pastors, our members, and then the citizens of where we live.
Proclaiming sin to be sin is more important than over-reacting to immorality as the church. This ruling does not change the First Article of the Apostle’s Creed. It only substantiates the need for the Second and Third Article.
I feel pain for the LGBT and LGBT-friendly members of the LCMS church I was born into but long ago chose to leave. To those members of the LCMS whose faith in the message of love is strong, I say this, may it one day change the message of non-love and non-acceptance that your church leaders continue to focus on. Yesterday’s decision imposes nothing on churches or religious tenants. It does however demonstrate that love and dignity reign supreme as values our nation holds true. To suggest, as you do, that this decision will force religious institutions to marry same sex couples is misleading and a lie. To suggest that the LCMS view on this matter is shared by all Christians or Christian leaders, as you do, is also misleading and a lie. To lie, is a sin. What this decision does do is free the millions of Americans who do not belong to religious institutions or abide by tenants of other faiths and denominations from being subjected to your or anyone else’s interpretation of scripture or religion. This decision discusses civil marriage only – not those conducted by or blessed by any religion.
Brian V. Guse
A former member.
Thank you, Pastor Harrison, for your response to the same-sex marriage ruling. I pray that so many Americans who call themselves Christians will wake up and see what is happening before our very eyes. The devaluation of morals, family values, and human life itself–and the efforts to silence God’s Holy Word–are all too reminiscent of Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Let us not stand by and be oblivious to what is happening in our country today. Let us not lose what our God-fearing ancestors fought so hard and sacrificed their very lives for–a nation under God.
I pray that the Lord will give all of us in His church on earth the courage and strength to withstand whatever lies ahead.
Amen! So very well said!! For the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever!
Thank you Pastor for your response to the SCOTUS decision. As quasi officers of the court this ruling will put our Pastors in a difficult position, when someone charges a Pastor with discrimination for refusing to marry a gay couple. The lawsuits will come and the church may win but at what cost. The cost of lawsuits was one of the reasons the Boy Scouts relented. Do the Constitution and Bylaws of our churches reflect our stance on marriage? If not what defense would we have?
First off, Rev. Harrison thanks and prayers to you for your leadership, words and prayers to the LCMS!
Yes, all Churches (not just LCMs, but God and Bible based Churches) should make sure that their bylaws, constitutions and mission statements reflect what marriage is!
The court has not “imposed same sex marriage upon the whole nation.” It has stated that two people in love need not be of different sexes. You need not marry someone of the same sex, but others now have the privilege of doing so.
Thank you, Pres. Harrison, for making such a forceful statement on behalf of all believers.
The saddest part to me is the fact that so many so-called Christian Pastors think this is wonderful. They preach, incorrectly, that the homosexual lifestyle is not a sin. I wonder how God will judge these church leaders for leading so many astray by preaching what itching ears want to hear. Scary times, sad times. Can’t imagine what is next.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Comforting to read the spoken word of Jesus that HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD.
Thank you for your timely response on this seismic decision. While God’s teachings and followers are constantly persecuted and tested, Friday’s decision was extremely disheartening. BUT – your note provided encouragement and guidance on this issue. I am sharing your note with my congregation, as well as the entire “Free to Be Faithful” (http://www.lcms.org/freetobefaithful) videos and associated collateral. As a Millennial, I am in a age segment that is very accepting of same-sex marriage. BUT – I am ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with ALL who believe in the teachings of our Lord and His Word. I am ready to serve. President Harrison – please show us the way and guide us what to do as “boots on the ground” in our communities. God Bless You and Christians around the world.
Thank GOD not all of his houses of prayer have let the world in and agree with same sex marriage it’s just not right.
As far as I am concerned all of this garbage started about the time that” pastors” started turning FATHER GOD’S houses of prayer into big government run social clubs with stores, restaurants, and coffee booths that charge more for Folgers coffee than Starbucks charges for there’s its a shame most of them are within 50 feet of the main sanctuary I wonder what JESUS would do if he walked into one of those government social clubs.
I think that he would be flipping some counters or table’s and who knows there might even be a few cash registers flying through the air with the greatest of eas
Dear President Harrison,
Below is what I sent to my adult children. Thank you for standing for truth in these trying times.
It is with sadness that I heard the news of yesterday concerning the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage. This is not an equal rights issue but a redefinition of marriage. It is also the beginning of a new wave of discrimination against Christians. Please read the response by the president of our LCMS, Matthew Harrison, https://reporter.lcms.org/2015/synod-president-responds-to-scotus-same-sex-marriage-ruling. Christian photographers, florists and bakers who refuse to provide their services for gay weddings have already been faced with lawsuits that have or will drive many of them out of business. But that is not the end. I believe the government will, in the not too distant future, use its power of money to punish Christian schools and colleges who will not honor same-sex marriage. For e.g. students attending Christian colleges like our Concordias may no longer be eligible for Pell grants. Can the church itself remain faithful to God’s Word and not feel the sting? Already in Houston the mayor tried to force pastors to submit sermons in which they dealt with the subject of homosexuality. She finally backed off when she was counseled that this was a violation of the First Amendment. There will no doubt be attempts by the government to reinterpret this amendment to exclude what they will say is “hate speech.” Mind you, we do not hate anyone. We do not put ourselves above any one because we believe that we are all sinners in need of God’s grace. We love our enemies and pray for them. And when they persecute us we will forgive them. But we cannot teach that something that the Bible says is sin is not. Persecution will come but we must choose now to remain faithful. Like Luther we must say, “My conscience is bound by the Word of God. Here I stand. I can do no other.”
As an LCMS Congregational VP, I thank you, Pastor Harrison for your faithful and eloquent response. We are in for trying times, but with faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we will persevere.
James 1:12 – Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Our trials will come, but let us never forget that we serve God and not men.
With you 100%! God will prevail! Amen
Two words that appear on the picture of the Supreme Court, etched in stone above pillars is “equal justice”. I know because they’re in the photo attached to this article.
Nobody would defend the racist policy of banned international marriage today, and in the same way, no future member of LCMS will look back at this day with pride. From “civil unions” to “seperate but equal” history shows that the attempts to label fellow Americans as “other” has had powerful backing from conservative church elements. I wonder if anybody in the LCMS is reading aloud the scriptures supporting Calhouns’ “slavery is a positive good” retoric. I wonder if in the same divide of time, future church members will read this vitriol in the 22nd century to each other. I doubt it.
I ask you people, who are so fiercely opposed to homosexual marriage – you must be at least consistent in your outrage. Where is the outcry against atheist or Hindu weddings? Both of these have no sanction by God. Both of these represent the same existential threat to the institution of marriage –
none at all.
I draw parallels to black disenfranchisement because I think it’s time for the Bride of Christ to talk about where her priorities lie. When there is one unarmed black man killed per day in this country, where black unemployment is 30%, where systemic racism is objectively evident 40 years after King, is this endless fight against gay marriage the best use of the church’s energy?
I believe we should make this paragraph a cut and paste rallying cry – every time we see an opportunity to use it in a discussion that asks for discussion on this marriage issue.
It takes little time to cut and paste it to Notebook or Word, and also little time to paste in a comment thread. It is short but encapsulates our synod’s message. Park it on you desktop ….
“As faithful Christians, we shall continue to be obedient to just laws. We affirm the human rights of all individuals and the inherent and equal value of all people. We respect the divinely given dignity of all people, no matter their sexual preference. We recognize that, under the exacting and demanding laws of God, we are indeed sinners in thought, word and deed, just as are all (Romans 3:9ff.). We confess that the “blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all our sins” (1 John 1:7). We confess that God’s divine law of marriage and the entire Ten Commandments apply to all, and that so also the life-giving sacrifice of Christ on the cross is for all. It is a “righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3:22).”
Don’t forget to have a special imprecatory prayer against the SCOTUS decision.
And if you forget, don’t worry; it’s covered in the Lord’s Prayer.
Unless you’re gay, this decision is unlikely to change your life…
Please Lord Jesus, keep us on track and in the Word so we can withstand Americans
giving in to their emotions and satans lies.
As a child during the 1950s I was totally dedicated to becoming a minister in the Lutheran Church (MO. Synod). Prior to kindergarten I realized I was a very different kind of boy. I went to a private boarding high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to guide me toward the ministry. But that mysterious unique quality about me became a concern of the Church, government, parents and friends. I had no idea what this special quality was until eventually I discovered that I was homosexual. The response from the Lutheran Church convinced me that there might actually be something wrong with Lutheranism or Christianity or maybe all religions. I continued to study the Bible but eventually I had to admit the truth that I am homosexual and an atheist. I cried and suffered the loneliness I endured within the Lutheran community. But after leaving it all behind I found true peace and happiness as a compassionate atheist who spent 34 years saving lives through my work as an RN. Let’s be clear about a fact about me that might apply to many homosexuals. This is not my preference, nor is it my orientation. I never preferred to be gay. I preferred to be heterosexual. But I’m not. And no one “oriented” me into this. I had these feelings in early childhood. To my best understanding I was born homosexual just as many of you were born heterosexual. And the president mentions the tradition of marriage. But review the state of marriage in the Old Testament and remind yourself that a man could have many wives. They were not even counted in the census nor did they have many rights equal to men. Societies evolve and hopefully improve through time. We learn to improve ourselves beyond the Crusades and the Inquisition. Lutheranism evolved beyond the Roman Catholic Church. This is what is happening today. Society learns to improve. To stay with something simply because of your religious belief or what you claim is tradition is a weak argument. Long ago I wrote in my personal journal, “Religion and tradition are poor excuses for bad behavior.” Now I am retired and aging. I look back at my life as a homosexual and realize that in countless ways my life has been more pure than many heterosexuals and I have lived a life of compassionate service and saved many lives of people that would deprive me of equal rights so that my life partner would not be permitted to be at my deathbed in a hospital and make the important decisions granted to heterosexual spouses.
God help us indeed! We know he is on our side. Now is the time for Christian churches in America to engage in concerted action to impress upon our politicians the need to stand up and be counted. Literally millions of Americans await for our ELECTED leaders to provide laws that will insulate us from actions and decisions by others who have little regard for customs and traditions that make us great. The task before them is clear.
Since our gentle Savior is risen from the dead, let us also witness in all gentleness and humility. I think many Christians will be tempted to react in anger, but this would be a mistake. Let’s continue to pray for each other and for all those who desperately need the tender compassion of Jesus Christ.
The Law will never melt hearts of stone; only the Gospel of Jesus will turn darkened hearts to their Savior and to “walk in newness of life”.
Sigh…so sad to see so much hate and the celebration of it in the church I grew up in.
Fortunately there are Christians who believe in God’s love for all creation. I just hope my family in LCMS can see the truth as they are visited with peace and love before they are destroyed like the violent and hateful Sodom and Gamorrah.
Thankyou. Your words bring comfort to those of us facing this same issue in Australia. I wish we had your bold leadership in our church here. My favourite Psalm too. May Jesus who os the way, truth and life give uou the courage to do what is right. James
Well said James, from a fellow Australian (Adelaide).
Thank you for your response. Since the fall in Genesis 4, Satan has been causing the doubt in the first three chapters of Genesis. His tactics never change: Did God really say? Evolution, abortion and now marriage. The foundation of God’s Word is being destroyed with the loss of Christians and churches to unbelief.
Paul tells us that if someone preaches a different Chist than he preached to not listen. The church prepares His people for this battle by His Word – Ephesians 6:10-20.
Proud to be partners with LCMS. I salute your decisions from Ethiopia (EECMY).
Thank you president Harrison.
I have written letter to President Obama and email Illinois State Senator Durbin and Kirk .
I in courage all to write to your state people and president your messages and how you feel about this.
this is what I have written (see below)
TO PRESIDENT Obama
Subject: Law pass on 6-26-15 anyone can marry Supreme Court
I am US Citizen and a Christian of Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. I am disappointed in decision of Supreme Court on Friday 6-26-2015.
Marriage is between one man and one woman. Period……
I guess you all politicians should vote to get rid of the U. S. Constitution and rename our country. Also why don’t your vote to let anybody to marry 1,000,000,000,000,000 people too? Why can anybody have Affairs too? I am so upset I am not sure I will ever vote for any one in Illinois or the county again. I will never forgive Supreme Court or any Politicians. I hope when you pass up to the gates of Heaven that He will not let you in. May My God forgive you!
Mrs. Barbara C. (Hart) Nosko
P.S. So whatever I Learn from Lutheran school & church – my teachers and my Father and My Mom is WRONG?! Also I should tell my Husband and my Children that what we have is wrong and our faith in God is wrong too?!
Thank you Pastor Harrison for your wisdom and guidance. Surely dark and dangerous days are coming for the Body of Christ. But we wait in joyful hope for the return of our Savior, and know that it is Jesus, not the SCOTUS , that will have the last Word. May God have mercy on America.
Looks like I am in the Minority, but I agree with the ruling. I would rather have had another word used than ‘marriage’ but it is he same legal matter.
I am a mother of a gay daughter who is married to a wonderful, yes ‘normal’ gay female. This seems to bear on one’s beliefs in legal equality more than what the LCMS tells me to believe.
Love to all!
I wholeheartedly agree with President Harrison’s Bible-based statement. A question for me does come up in view of Matthew 19:7-8. Here, Jesus speak’s of Israel’s Civil Law, given through Moses, which allowed for a certificate of divorce for just about any reason. Jesus Himself said that this law was given “because of the hardness of your hearts” and did not reflect God’s original design for marriage first given in Genesis 2. Still, this civil law held and Israel’s officials carried it out even into Jesus’ day.
Could it be that God has allowed this new civil definition of same-sex marriage because of “the hardness of their hearts” even though it does not reflect His design for marriage that He gave at the beginning? Is it possible then, based on Matthew 19:7-8, for Christians who are, let’s say, bakers, florists, and photographers, to comply with this law in good conscience without personally agreeing with same-sex marriage? I would be interested to hear some opinions on this …
Thank you for those words. Very well said.
Dear Lord, please have mercy on us all.
God’s spiritual law of reaping what you sow is as unchanging as his law of gravity. His word is authoritative WHETHER PEOPLE BELIEVE IT OR NOT.
Strengthen what remains….
Same sex marriage is not the will of God (Romans 1-27) Tolerance has been twisted. Romans 2-1
talks about judgment. If you judge from yourself, you are doing the same thing. If scripture agrees, it is God’s judgment. Men with Men or Woman with woman, produces no life. God is life! Love, yes, agree No. Let your yeas be yea, and your nos be no. Yes to God, no to the
God Bless You
With deep and sincere respect, President Harrison, I believe you are mistaken in the claim that SCOTUS got it wrong. I pray desperately that you are mistaken in the rest of your post, but fear you are correct on those points.
SCOTUS was required – by law – to rule as they did. There was no other option open for the secular authority to take and not be in violation of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which reads:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
This ruling has no bearing on what the Church may or may not preach, nor how it may exercise its beliefs. The ruling specifically declares unConstitutional the States’ definition of (secular) marriage, and requires the States to recognize marriages legally performed in any State of the Union. As the Sixth Circuit Court, and Justices in the dissenting opinions note, however, this would have been far better resolved legislatively than judicially. Unfortunately, the nature of plaintiffs’ grievances against the State were of a nature that could not wait for legislation to resolve, and so they – appropriately under the First Amendment – petitioned the Government for a redress of grievances.
If we truly “affirm the human rights of all individuals and the inherent and equal value of all people. We respect the divinely given dignity of all people, no matter their sexual preference.”, how can we say this ruling was unjust? In the eyes of the law of many states, our homosexual brothers and sisters were being treated as being of lesser value, and without the same dignity afforded their heterosexual peers.
The First Amendment is truly a double-edged sword – it guarantees our freedom to worship the living triune God, but at the same time requires that no law be passed that elevates one religion over another, or all religions over the unsaved (although they use a different term for the last). We cannot then realistically expect that we will be able to codify our beliefs into the annals of national law – doing so would open the floodgates and allow every religion to codify its beliefs into the annals of national law. The protection of the Church from the State includes a reversed view – the protection of the State from the Church.
I have made the post I wrote on Facebook about this ruling public here:
If you have the time, I would very much like to hear your thoughts and guidance on this post.
Thank you for your time and your service to us and to our Lord.
We praise God for these timely words from Dr. Harrison on behalf of the LCMS. On our church Facebook page we have posted: “In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage, we hold forth what God has established and created – marriage is only meant for a man and a woman. We will not bow down to the corrupt reasoning of this ruling. ‘We will obey God, rather than man.’ Click on this link to access the President of the LCMS Dr. Matthew Harrison’s article: https://reporter.lcms.org/…/synod-president-responds-to-scotus-… and then click on this link to read the article by Dr. Peter Scaer, our first vicar, who is now professor at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne: http://www.ctsfw.edu/document.doc?id=1834“
Missouri Synod is fortunate to have Matthew Harrison at the helm. God bless him and God bless all of us.
Thank you for your wise and comforting words and guidance to us, and particularly to the very pertinent references to the Holy Scriptures.
We will pray for you and stand with you in these trying and troubling times.
May God grant you strength and courage as you continue to do his work.
Silence in the Face of Evil is itself Evil:
God will not hold us Guiltless.
Not to Speak is to Speak.
Not to Act is to Act.
Thank you Pastor Harrison for up lifting always with the Word of God. From my childhood Lutheran education, I lean on the hymn THE CHURCH’S ONE FOUNDATION is Jesus Christ her Lord…and the great Church victorious shall be the Church at rest.
Thank you for this on-target response. I continue to read again and again his words “Christians will now begin to learn what it means to be in a state of solemn conscientious objection against the state.” As we begin to learn this, we will continue to need wise leadership.
God’s mission still remains. God’s mission has a church to carry out God’s mission by the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s mission has a future. Can we focus on that for our own lives and the life of the church? God loves. God is love.
On Sunday I prayed before the altar at St Paul’s, Barmera and Trinity, New Residence [South Australia]: “We pray for faithful Christians in the United States. Give them the courage, determination, and love they’ll need as they face an increasingly hostile culture. Give them your Holy Spirit in rich measure so that they don’t buckle under pressure, but joyfully serve you, regardless of the cost. Save all who are faithless. Bring them back to your truth and bless their witness.”
The Lord bless you, dear President Matt and members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod!
Tolerance. Understanding. Peace. And most of all, Love.
I choose these.
They USA has sadly become the new Rome. When Israel turned his back on God, God brought up the Assyrians and Babylonians to wipe out the Northern Kingdom and drive the southern kingdom into exile. Likewise, Rome was brought to its knees. Similarly, God is rising up China to bring us to our knees. As Joel said, we must “Return to the Lord our God” and encourage others to do the same. For further reading, see Revelations 17-19.
So Gay Marriage is now a done deal, lets see how long the Churches keep reminding us the its not Gods way. What they should do is get on the stick starting today
and figure out how to stop the loss of Tax Exempt Status, if that would go through most Churches would die. The Gay Marriage s just a small battle, the real War is to come.
Well stated. Thank you President Harrison for speaking with biblical clarity.
Well said and thank you… but we could really use some more detailed guidance on how we ought to stand regarding this issue.
If I’m an employer, and the law obliges me to extend benefits to the SSM partner of my employee, shall I obey the law?
If I’m a Clerk of Court or Magistrate and obliged by law to conduct SSM unions or issue SSM licenses, shall I do according to the law or leave my position?
If I’m a wedding photographer or cake baker… you get the point.
Some details and specifics would be nice.
I can help.
Follow the law. Show love and respect to all. Jesus spoke of divorce, yet I’ve heard of no one who won’t provide a marriage license or wedding cake to someone who has been divorced even though they say that they follow the guidance of the Holy Bible.
Can a person be both gay and Christian? Absolutely! But will he/she be held guiltless for living in sin? Definitely not! Being gay (i.e. being attracted to and desiring someone of the same sex) ) is not in and of itself a sin. But living a homosexual lifestyle IS a sin. Is alcoholism a sin? No. But the abuse of alcohol (i.e. drunkenness) is.
I will never condemn someone who is gay, but neither will I hesitate to call out him/her if he/she is living in sin, just as I would to anyone living in sin–whether it is abusing alcohol, carrying on an affair, or shoplifting. Sin is sin, no matter what name it is called by or who may declare it legal.
Gay people and their supporters just can’t seem to understand the “love the sinner, hate the sin” concept.
Pastor Harrison, your letter brought great comfort and encouragement to my heart. God bless you!
What Would Jesus Do ? HE said, ” Let those without sin cast the first stone ” Scripture also says, ” Nothing can separate us from the love of God…”
There are many threats these days to traditional marriage and family life and, in my opinion, gay marriage falls way down on the list, maybe even at the bottom. Rather than more “ain’t it awful” rhetoric regarding gay marriage isn’t it time to ask some very hard questions of ourselves:
!. What programs and services to strengthen traditional marriage are being carried within our churches and by our churches in our local communities?
2. Is the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod actively advocating on behalf of government and corporate policies and services to strengthen families across our country?
3. How much time have each of us been devoting lately to our own spouses, children and grandchildren or have we been sidetracked from being positiver examples by too many other competing priorities?
4. Are LCMS pastors truly well enough trained to offer meaningful and effective marital and family counseling and are they also sufficiently aware of treatment resources in their local communities to make needed referrals to support individuals and couples in their congregations?
Until our church leaders are willing to address the above questions and other issues critical to supporting traditional marriage and family life (to take a hard look at themselves), perhaps they have not earned the right to pontificate on the topic of gay marriage. Perhaps it is time to be silent, and if traditional marriage is so important to them and to us, to truly act as if it was and get busy working harder on its behalf. Casting blame on others is not the answer! Meanwhile, our brothers and sisters who are gay and married, many of whom are devoted Christians, deserve our love and compassion and best wishes for a wonderful future together. How could we possibly wish them less than that?
The good Lord is coming! Praise be to God!!
AMEN! There can be no other response! This Supreme Court ruling is the first “shot over the bow” to those of us who Believe! The Bible is clear that Christians will be persecuted! This country is now in both post-Constitutional and post-Christian period. GOD Bless those of us who stand strong and remain strong in our Faith and the Word of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
This should be resisted in every conceivable way. If the LCMS waffles on this issue; it will be time to throw my lot in with the Catholic Church.
What makes you think that the Catholic Church is a safer place on this issue? The Roman Catholic bishop Johan Bonny in Belgium wrote last year an open letter asking the Catholic Church to bless gay marriages (no kidding, you can Google it). There there is the entire controversy their last year’s Synod on the family where cardinal Kasper sought favorable language for homosexual couples (the final document didn’t include said language but most observers believe that when the Synod reconvenes this year to announce its final conclusions, fireworks are assured). I left the Roman Catholic Church for the LCMS precisely because I think that said church is at this point corrupt on these matters. For all its claims to “unity” in doctrine, it has taken no actions to discipline bishops and cardinals who have openly spoken in favor of homosexuality, gay marriage and abortion.
If the LCMS were to waffle on this issue, I would join the WELS or any other conservative Christian church that remains loyal to the Lord’s unequivocal teaching on this matter.
I am currently a member of ELCA, although I was raised in the LCMS. We switched many years ago when our church had a change of ministers and I did not care for the new minister. The ELCA is a less formal church. The people are very friendly and we liked the pastor immediately.. When my husband died 6 months ago, they were very supportive. Now the decision of the SCOTUS concerning same-sex mariage has become an issue for me. I asked my pastor if he would perform a same-sex wedding & he said he had never been asked, but ELCA would allow him to. I am now thinking about going back to LCMS. I know I would miss ELCA and Pastor Jack. But that would pass in time and I may feel like I am back home at LCMS. This article has helped me a lot to feel like the church is more in line with my own beliefs. I am sure God will direct my hand on making the right choice.
We are seeing Satan doing his best to obtain as many souls as he can before the Last Day. To bad more people didn’t read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest and to add to those believe, and accept the sound words of the Bible, instead of trying to force their meaning on God’s Sacred Scriptures.
My Grandmother always said, “Heaven better come soon, because Hell won’t be big enough.” Although it was simple pious words of a world weary saint, they seem to be holding more and more true.
LCMS President Harrison reminded us that a “one-person majority” of the U.S. Supreme Court rendered this decision. Those justices were not elected by the people but were appointed by U.S. presidents who are. “Elections have consequences,” declared an American president. Indeed they do.
“Christians will now begin to learn what it means to be in a state of solemn conscientious objection against the state.” I am glad to see the Pastor coming to this state of consciousness. I hope we all get there. I myself reached that state in 1969 at the age of 17. Marriage never belonged in the State but we made it so. Our faith in Christ never belonged their either but some have tried to make it so.