If I could somehow reach through your monitor to plead with you to read this article in full, I would.
Last weekend saw the first ever state-sanctioned same-sex marriages take place in the UK. Christians’ reactions were many and varied. Of all that I have read, the article by John Stevens, Director of the FIEC, is the most insightful and prophetic. I commend it to you in its entirety.
He begins by reminding us that for Christians to be a minority group who cut against the tide of wider society is normal:
As Christians we ought not to be at all surprised by what has happened. If anything it is the state-sponsored Christendom which was the historical anomaly. Christians should expect to find themselves as aliens and strangers in the world. This was the situation of the early Church, and books such a 1 Peter and Revelation were written to equip Jesus’ disciples to live in a hostile pagan society in which they were a tiny minority. In many ways Christendom had the effect of enforcing certain elements of Christian morality, at least outwardly, but at the cost of neutering the radical truth of the gospel. Social church-going and was the norm, and lip-service was paid to Christian values, but countless millions went to hell because they thought that they were good Christians when they were not. The triumph of secularism marks a return to normality for the church, and this may well be beneficial for it.
Rather than bemoaning what we have lost, instead we need to work to address the issues facing the church in our generation:
We need to work hard at helping people to understand what Christian conscience requires of them. Just as Paul had to work thorough issues of meat sacrificed to idols in pagan temples in 1 Corinthians 8-9, we will have to work through such questions as whether a Christian can attend the gay marriage of their work colleague or family member, or whether a Christian shopkeeper should refuse to sell a wedding dress to a same-sex couple. We need to tease out the differences between ordinary commercial life which is morally neutral (buying meat in the market place), participation in sin (joining the idol feasts in the pagan temple) and relating to individuals (whether pagans or Christians) with personal scruples who might be offended by the exercise of gospel freedom (being told at a private dinner in a home that meat was offered to an idol) The answers may not be easy, and Christians may not reach the same conclusions, but we will have to do the work.
God’s Word is sufficient for the church in our generation. And God’s Gospel is sufficient for our society. May God raise us up for His good purposes.