“We the people” once consisted of an overwhelming majority that respected God and His word. Though they did not all strictly follow the word in religious beliefs and practices, they did have deep moral convictions. Note these quotes from two of the Founding Fathers (http://bit.ly/washington-adams-quotes).
While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.
– George Washington
The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.
– John Adams
These convictions were reflected in the Constitution and other laws that rest heavily on the Judeo-Christian ethic and were put in place at the formation of this nation.
A Compliant Mindset
Under such conditions, it was relatively easy for a Christian to be comfortable living in our society and abiding under the various laws. For instance, adultery was generally illegal and is technically so in many states to this day (The Boston Globe, http://bit.ly/adulteryillegal). However, it is widely accepted and practiced by society. Thus, it is rarely, if ever, prosecuted as a criminal matter.
The same thing is true with homosexuality. The laws of the land made such illegal and was prosecuted as a crime, even including the death penalty (http://bit.ly/sodomylaws). The previously cited website notes when we were still the Colonies, “The 1683 Pennsylvania law called sodomy an ‘unnatural sin’ and the East New Jersey law listed it among the ‘Offenses against God.’”
These past examples simply show the citizens of this nation had strong convictions on what is morally right and wrong. Under these conditions, it was easy to view the law of the land – man’s law – as establishing or at least reflecting right and wrong. However, things have changed.
The Changing Landscape
As noted above, other than in civil proceedings for divorce, adultery is a non-issue in light of the law.
Additionally, there are some vocal and powerful elements in society pushing the homosexual agenda. It is not a matter of ignoring laws on the books, as with adultery, but a rewriting of the laws. We are at the point that states are positively affirming the legality of two men or two women getting “married.” As of this writing 19 states have legalized homosexual marriage (http://bit.ly/legalsamesexmarriage).
These are mentioned just to notice that the landscape is changing. The law of the land cannot be confused or conflated with right and wrong. We cannot think what the government approves or disapproves is lawful or binding according to Law of Liberty (Jas. 1:25).
God VS. Government
Which law will we recognize? Will we accept man’s perverted concept of right and wrong or adhere to the Lord’s will? Consider these relevant issues.
- Abortion: choice or murder (Ex. 21:22-25)?
- Euthanasia: compassion or homicide (Phil. 2:26, 27; Job)?
- Marriage: homosexual or heterosexual (1 Cor. 7:2; 6:9, 10)?
- Death Penalty: cruel & unusual or just & necessary (Rom. 13:1-4; Gen. 9:5, 6)?
- Discipline of Children: harmful or helpful (Prov. 13:24)?
- Preaching the Gospel: hate [speech] or love (2 Tim. 4:2)?
The list could be extended to include alcohol, nudity, gambling, and much more. The point is, who defines right and wrong? Who defines marriage? One man in Missouri wanted to marry his horse (http://bit.ly/marryahorse). Are they really married? No. No more than two men or two women are actually married. It might be legal, but it is not lawful by God’s standard.
Effect On Churches
Some churches already accept into their fellowship couples that were unscripturally divorced and remarried. At one time this was unheard of among brethren. However, as society shifted and laws changed to allow for such, brethren were influenced.
In the near future, will there be a “conservative” church of Christ that accepts a “married” homosexual couple or polygamists? How long will it be before a preacher advocates homosexual relationships as legitimate because there is “love” or “God made them that way”?
We might think these things are far off, but the next generation does not view moral issues the same way many of us do. Gallup recently reported that 42% believe one is born as a homosexual (http://bit.ly/viewsonborngay). In March 2013 Gallup reported that approval of same-sex marriage reached 53% (http://bit.ly/samesexmarriageviews). That is up from 27% in 1996.
Therefore, we can see why the laws are changing – it is because society is changing. These cultural shifts will affect the next generation that is coming up in the church; the next generation of elders and preachers.
Where Will You Stand?
Those with Bible convictions are increasingly on the wrong side of the law. We are being persecuted, if ever so slightly compared to ancient times. However, we have to make up our mind now before things get worse.
Who knows if preachers will be jailed and churches outlawed for preaching against homosexuality? What will you do if that happens?
We are to respect the powers that are ordained of God (Rom. 13:1-7). However, our submission and devotion to God comes before compliance with government. If the law of man conflicts with the Law of God, we obey God, not man (Acts 5:29).