Ross Douthat has written an article in the New York Times in which he says same-sex marriage will inevitably be legalized in all 50 states, and that all that is left for proponents of traditional marriage now is to “find out what settlement the victors will impose.”
It’s a pretty bleak prognosis. But there are at least four things to remember if you are one who is discouraged by the rapid changes that are taking place in our nation.
1. The leaders of our nation have been appointed by God. Pontius Pilate was in a position of authority to deliver Jesus over to be crucified. In John 19:11, Jesus said to Pilate: “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.” Rom. 13:1 tells us that the governing authorities have been “instituted by God.” Our president, our Congress and our Supreme Court are in charge because God put them in charge. But remember — God can remove people from power just as quickly as he placed them in power. (Is. 40:22-23)
2. We no longer live in a pro-Christian culture. Back in the 1960s, it was socially desirable to be a Christian churchgoer. The church enjoyed a place of prominence and respect in the culture. That is no longer the case. Many observers say we now live in a “post-Christian” culture, which means the basic values and convictions of Christianity are no longer assumed or even desired. This is alarming to many Christians, but it is certainly not unusual. For much of history, the church of Jesus Christ has been a marginalized, maligned and sometimes persecuted group. The psalmist, writing about 3,000 year ago, captures what many Christians feel today: “My foes are vigorous, they are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully. Those who render me evil for good accuse me because I follow after good.” (38:19-20)
3. We should not shrink back from speaking the truth. It does not follow from points 1 and 2 above that we should therefore resort to apathy or indifference about what is happening in our culture. Paul warns us not to take part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but “instead to expose them.” (Eph. 5:11). The psalmist says he hates “every false way” (119:128), and that his eyes shed “steams of tears” because people do not keep God’s law (119:136). As believers we should be prepared to respectfully but boldly take a stand for Christian truth, and take the hits that will inevitably result.
4. Our ultimate hope is not in the salvation of America. There is Biblical precedent for being passionate about one’s country. Paul suffered “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” because of the spiritual state of his fellow Jews (Rom. 9:1-5). He longed for them to be saved (Rom. 10:1). So it is good to long for revival in the United States, that our fellow countrymen might be reconciled to God. But the final culmination of God’s redemptive purposes will not be found in a “reclaimed America,” but in the new creation, the new heavens and the new earth, where godlessness will be eradicated and righteousness finally will dwell (2 Peter 3:13), where all of God’s people from a multitude of nations (Rev. 5:9) will gather around the throne and worship Jesus forever.