"Have you not asked those who travel the roads, and do you not accept their testimony?" (Job 28:29)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Bishop's Stand on Marriage and the DOMA Decision...

A Response to the Recent Rulings of the United States Supreme Court regarding Marriage

While the decision of the court is not a complete surprise we were hoping for more than a ruling aligned with the popular opinion of our culture. Many of the basic tenets of our legal system are rooted in biblical principles. The laws of our nation were once established on transcendent truth and not simply what citizens were willing to tolerate. Contemporary decisions seem to be based on only the most recent cases, philosophies and political will. The historical foundation and connection to biblical principles is seldom raised or followed. The prevailing attitude is that the wisdom of man in contemporary culture is far superior to the wisdom of God.

There are few in our culture bold enough to speak out against the slow erosion of the Biblical understanding of marriage and the family that each of these decisions bring. The recent decisions of the Supreme Court should cause us to raise some important questions. We believe in equality and justice for all people, but can justice be separated from righteousness? Can one speak out for the biblical understanding of justice without also speaking out for the biblical understanding of righteousness? Can acceptance and tolerance of behaviors in opposition to the Word and will of God be considered equal to those behaviors that are in agreement with scriptural teaching?

We must never simply acquiesce to such rulings but engage in constructive dialog, consistent prayer, biblical study, loving obedience to Christ and faithful caring for our neighbor. Our response is grounded in the Great Commission, making disciples obedient to Christ, teaching the faith and trusting in the constant presence of Jesus. We must remain all the more committed to influence our culture and the world by faithfully proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, boldly living what we confess.

While our pastors and congregations will not participate in the blessing of same sex unions and continue to uphold in our preaching and teaching the Biblical standards for marriage and sexuality, we have an even more positive word to offer. I commend to you the ecumenical statement on marriage and the family. (http://thenalc.org/educational-resources/) This is a perfect time for our pastors to preach and teach about the biblical understanding of marriage and the family making full use of both the Old and New Testament references. I am confident that our pastors and congregations in the NALC will continue to boldly proclaim God's truth in love, offering the forgiveness, mercy and healing that only Christ can provide. We will continue to pray for all men, women and children affected by these decisions as well as those responsible for making them.

Bishop John F. Bradosky

June 28, 2013

1 comment:

TeeJay said...

IN RECENT news, it has been announced that the American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) has filed suit in Pennsylvania (PA) over its marriage legislation. The present legality within Pa is that the state permits the marriage only of heterosexual couples. This suit comes following the recent US Supreme Court ruling that suppressed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in California (CA) as unconstitutional.
This latter Supreme Court action opened CA to the granting of legal marital unions of persons within the gay/bisexual/lesbian/transsexual (GBLT) community. Hence we see now see domino-topplings of GBLT minions that force recognition of these non-biblical unions upon both the general public and religious institutions across this nation. Thus, as a person presently called to serve a religious entity in PA, it is my responsibility to keep tight focus on the progress of these ACLU legal actions. The judicial outcomes may have serious repercussions for my ministry and that of many others.
To explain my opinions, let’s compare several recent denominational ties with the subject. First, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) now contains congregations, clergy and laypersons that accept active GBLT clergy and bishops within their rolls. Second, developing since that initial action in 2008, a recent wedding occasion in CA served notice that the ELCA will also perform marriage for said non-heterosexual persons. Other congregations within the denomination, clinging to the ELCA by adhering to an erroneous biblical “Bound Conscience” interpretation… do not presently entertain or participate in such foolishness.
Follow therefore my observations. It seems that as the ACLU suit is pursued, if won in a state such as PA, with the same action upheld by the higher US Supreme Court, all ELCA congregations/clergy across this nation would immediately be subject to the ruling… even those who earlier stated contrary wishes based upon conscience.
Thus it seems likely that any non-obliging ELCA congregation or clergy, who refuses said GBLT marital request for this action, shall be subject to lawsuit on the basis of “discrimination”. Simply stated, argument may be attained that if the denomination endorses such activity, the objecting party or parties belonging to the denomination refusing may be found liable.
Additionally we may ask that if this scenario unforlds, where will this legislative slide take my own North American Lutheran Church (NALC), and other more conservative denominations as well? Possibly those like my own church structure, who have declared that they shall not perform marriage for GBLT couples based upon common scriptural interpretative grounds, would seemingly have a greater legal advantage in corporately disallowing the travesty.
If we find, however, that even our collective declarations prove to no avail in the high court of the land, it may be that some Christian denominations shall cease to perform marriage in the civil realm at all. In this way these shall offer no religious basis for ersatz, state-approved unions. In that way, if some of the US populace takes the sliding sludge of civil unions that they term as marriage to the extremes of polygamy, bestiality, or simply wanting to marry their mother… we of the biblically faithful shall be not be participants!
Christians! Let us allow the Spirit working through scripture, rightly interpreted, to get our theology and actions together. We in Christian church leadership need to supply steadying helm in the marriage debate.