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July 2013 - Upholding Marriage

This week the Supreme Court issued a very anticipated decision on the Defense of Marriage Act.  I imagine that you have heard a great deal of reaction, or will in the days to come.  The following email was sent to LCMS pastors following the Supreme Court ruling and I wanted to share it with you.  Additionally, our synodical web page (www.LCMS.org ) has some very useful resources that can help you start a conversation about what Lutherans believe, but more importantly what our Lord says about marriage.   We pray God’s grace, mercy and strength for our families, Church and nation.         

            Pastor 

Upholding Marriage: God’s Plan and Gift

A statement by the Rev. Bart Day, executive director, Office of National Mission
June 26, 2013

Today the Supreme Court issued its ruling, striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), allowing for federal benefits for legally married gay couples and potentially allowing for gay marriage in all of California with regard to Proposition 8. Though the ruling is not a surprise, 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 life-long union of one man and one woman.  Same-sex unions are contrary to God’s will, and gay marriage is, in the eyes of God, no marriage at all.  As Christians, we proclaim this truth, no matter what the courts or legislatures may say. We are called not to popularity but to truth.  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.  While having one mother is a blessing, having two mothers or two fathers is confusing for the child and detrimental to her well-being.  The divorce culture has done great harm to the institution of marriage as well, and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) has and will continue to respond to that heartache with Christ’s comfort while simultaneously working to restore a culture where marriage is upheld.

While this occasion reminds us that Scripture calls homosexuality sinful (see Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:24–27), the Bible also says plainly that those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness,” that is to say, those who repent and show genuine sorrow over their sin, are forgiven and loved by Christ.

And so as Christ’s Church, we forgive and love too, following His lead with compassion and humility.  We forgive and love because we are all sinners in need of His grace and mercy; because no matter the sin, we have all rebelled against our Creator and fallen prey to unbelief; because He has justified us by grace through faith, freely given and joyfully received (Rom. 3:23–24); because Christ has reconciled us to the Father; because He has declared us righteous and we are.

In love, we will continue to teach marriage according to God’s plan and gift. We will continue to proclaim marriage as a picture of Christ’s love for His bride, the church.  And we will continue to be a place of forgiveness, mercy and healing for all people, even as we will continue to proclaim God’s truth in love.  As we move forward, we offer up our prayers for the nation and particularly for marriage, family and children.

Rev. Bart Day, executive director
LCMS Office of National Mission

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