PASTORAL WORD REGARDING PRESIDENT OBAMA’S

SUPPORT OF THE CONCEPT OF “SAME SEX MARRIAGE”

 

Introductory statement:

 

Someone has said that one should never begin a statement with a negative

or a preconceived or foregone conclusion. That notwithstanding let me say at the outset

that during this pastoral word I will probably say some things that will be offensive to

some and hard to hear to others. However I trust that you will hear me out.

As the world is aware, this past week the 44th president of these United States

States, Mr. Barak Hussein Obama expressed his personal belief and support for the

“concept of same sex marriage.” He indicated that his wife Michelle was in agreement

with in his stance. Let me make it perfectly clear, I admire and respect both President

and Mrs. Obama. I admire them as a couple, and that while I agree with much of what he

says and stands for, on this matter I believe they are wrong. I do not take the Obamas’

struggle with the “concept of same sex marriage” lightly nor the political risk that he took

by taking that stand. I also must admit that my heart goes out to those who are genuinely

in love with those of the same gender. Some of those individuals and/or couples are close

personal friends and members of my own family. I do not deny or love them less because

we are not in agreement on all issues in life.

 

With all of that said, I must reject the “concept of same sex marriage.” I keep

using the term “concept of same sex marriage” because for me marriage is a relationship

between a man and a woman, as defined by scripture. Consenting adults of the same

gender may live together and have their lifestyle legally legitimated and socially accepted

through civil unions. However one can have legal rights and find social acceptance and

still be out of sync with and disobedient to scripture. As a preacher of the Gospel of our

Lord Jesus Christ, the primary lens and authority through which I view life with all of its

myriad issues is scripture. Sola scriptura was a primary foundational belief of the

Protestant Reformation and remains as a pillar of Protestantism and my own life today.

 

Before reaching any life decision or forming any social or political stance my first

question must always be, “Is there any word from the Lord” either expressly written or

divinely revealed or affirmed, embodied or postulated by the Lord Jesus Christ, the

incarnate Word made flesh?

 

While there are many grey ethical and personal areas regarding which scripture

has no definitive word, such is not the case with either same gender or different gender

sexuality. While it is true that the New Testament fulfills and lays aside some of the

prohibitions of the Jewish Bible, that we know as the Old Testament, when it comes to

both homosexual and heterosexual relationships, the whole of the Bible speaks with one

voice and one perspective. Neither homosexuality as a lifestyle nor sex outside of the

marriage bonds for heterosexuals are affirmed or supported anywhere in scripture.

Individual love that does not fall within the teachings of scripture, though it may

be real and powerful, cannot be the measuring rod for biblical truth. Just because

someone is in love does not mean that love is scripturally acceptable or appropriate, even

when it has legal sanction, social acceptance or personal fulfillment. There is such a

thing as illicit love as defined and understood by scripture.

 

I recognize that there are many sincere, saved, and committed Christians who

disagree with my position. In other words, this pastoral statement is not an attempt to

demonize either homosexuals or heterosexuals who have different views than those I hold

or the biblical truth that the Holy Spirit inspires me to teach and proclaim. Christians

disagree on this issue as we have disagreed on so many others such as abortion, capital

punishment, pacifism and nonviolence, stem cell research as well as the meaning of

baptism, the Eucharist (Holy Communion) and ministry. In these areas we have learned

to live and respect each other with our differences as we serve as best we can our

common Lord and live out the implications of our faith being guided by the Holy Spirit

as the Holy Spirit speaks to us.

 

Judges 21: 25 says, “In those days there was no king in Israel; all people did what was right in their own eyes.” We are not living in the Book of Judges where the

measurement of morality can be based upon what looks right in our own eyes or what

feels right and may be pleasurable to our own bodies. Those of us who are Christians

have a King over our lives whom we know to be Savior and Lord. As I have pondered,

reflected and prayed over this issue, I am not convinced that the Lord Jesus Christ affirms

or supports the concept of same sex marriage. Even though he may love us with an

unspeakable love, I am not convinced that the Lord Jesus Christ, the sinless Prince of

Glory who alone is righteous enough to redeem us from sin, acknowledges, supports or

accepts the concept of same sex marriage.

 

I am also convinced however, that Jesus would want us to handle our

disagreements without demonization, as we respect the humanity, dignity, and prayerful

soul-searching of those with whom we disagree. I am ABSOLUTLEY convinced that

Jesus loves us, one and all, no matter what our sexual preference may be. The Lord Jesus

is able to love us even when he disapproves of our choices and our lifestyles that offend

and grieve him because he understands that we are more than our gender or our sexual or

love preferences.

 

As human beings who are created in the image of God, we are more than our

respective genders. We are more than a single-issue entity. That is the reason that I

continue to admire and respect President and Mrs. Obama even though I disagree with

them on the “concept of same sex marriage.” This issue is not a deal breaker for me and

neither is sexual preference in and of itself a deal breaker for me regarding other people.

Neither do I believe that it is a deal-breaker for the Lord Jesus Christ. He saves to the

utmost both homosexuals and heterosexuals who are sexual inappropriate according to a

traditional understanding of the word of God.

 

We must never forget that beyond gender, attributes such as honesty, integrity and

character also define who we really are. Our values and our first love, which should

always go beyond any human being, define who we really are. Beyond gender

designations we are first and foremost children of God with a myriad of imperfections

and unresolved issues, whom the Lord Jesus receives just as we are and seeks to grow us

and transform into a closer image of who he is, however he looks and whoever we are.

 

 

Therefore, in the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ who is able to make all things and

all persons new, this church and ministry is open to any and everyone irrespective of

differences in ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, age, class, education or physical

condition. To members of this church who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans-gender, as

your pastor let me say to you that I affirm your humanity and place in the kingdom as

well as your struggles alongside the rest of us who struggle with other and different

issues. I want you to stay, do not leave, and work out your soul salvation with a pastor

and a people who love you.

 

All are welcomed to join the rest of us who are seeking to walk in the vision God

has for all of our lives that is greater than any vision we can have for ourselves or that

others can have for us, no matter what our differences, unresolved issues or weights or

sins may be. Thus we end this short pastoral word by saying what we preachers have

said for centuries, “Whosoever will let him or her, whosoever will let them come.”

 

Peace,

William D. Watley,

Senior Pastor