Dear Fellow Warriors for Christ,
I realize that you are busy, and always trying to gather sermon material. Sunday morning comes all too quickly, so the idea of coming up with a sermon on the subject of same-sex marriage may seem like a daunting task. That’s why I am providing you with the attached message “Stand for Marriage.” Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 15-16, 2004, affirmed marriage between a man and a woman by adopting the resolution “On Supporting a Federal Marriage Amendment”.
The Senate debate and vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment is scheduled for June 6-7 and the House vote is scheduled for late July. Ideally, this message would be preached by June 4, 2006 in advance of the Senate vote.
Let me offer some seasoned advice before you put this bullet in your gun and shoot it :
1. Pastoral Warning: I have preached messages like this many times and it never fails to offend somebody. In fact, I’ve had people walk out on me during the sermon, and others leave my church membership. However, remember what God told the prophet Jeremiah when He called him: “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.” (Jer. 1:17). There is no substitute for the pastor’s leadership from the pulpit, preaching the word of God without fear or favor, and applying it to burning issues such as abortion, the radical homosexual agenda, judicial tyranny, pornography, racism, gambling, etc. Remember, God’s word offends people. Don’t preach it if you can’t handle the consequences.
2. Legal Issues: Same-sex “marriage” is a moral issue with political implications. There are some legal dos and don’ts for pastors and churches if you want to maintain your tax exempt status. Check out www.ivotevalues.com for details. Here’s the biggie: Don’t get up in the pulpit and tell your people how to vote (e.g., Vote for Candidate A and don’t vote for Candidate B). However, you can confidently preach on moral and cultural issues from a biblical perspective and tell people to do their homework on the candidates without fear of losing your tax exempt status.
3. Practical Matters: You might want to put a “PG rating” on this sermon and allow parents to make decisions about young children hearing some of the content that will be discussed. If you take that route, you might want to provide for childcare beyond nursery/pre-school age during the message. I have found that parents appreciate a heads up and childcare when handling a topic like homosexuality. You may choose to edit the message at that point, but to do so will remove powerful images that could lead your people to take action. Just know that the use of those verbal images will bring feedback. Plan ahead and you can avoid some problems.
4. Perspective: If believers in general and Southern Baptists in particular don’t take action on moral and cultural issues, then we will allow the devil and his people to reign supreme in an arena Jesus commanded us to infiltrate and influence as the salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16). That being said, remember that the way to change the world, beginning where you are, is through the Gospel. It is only when a person surrenders his/her life to Jesus as Lord and becomes His disciple that the heart and mind will change when it comes to these issues (Rom. 12:1-2). Equip your people to engage cultural issues from a biblical perspective, but also equip them to share their faith and make disciples, beginning at home. Otherwise, we will be on defense all of the time, and we will lose the battle for America. By the way, that is exactly what the devil wants. The reason? Americans have a unique Christian heritage, and on that foundation we have become the greatest missionary sending nation in the history of the world - a huge reason why I am proud to be a Southern Baptist and a passionate supporter of the Cooperative Program. Let’s make the Great Commission the main thing!
Again, this message is intended to help you equip your people to follow the teaching of Jesus by being the salt and light in the cultural arena (Matt. 5:13-16). I am happy to offer it to you for that purpose, but not for the purpose of having you publish it or sell it as your own. Otherwise, you may forward this e-mail and the message to fellow pastors. Feel free to copy, cut, paste, and prepare your own message as the Lord leads, and then preach the word!
Serving with you under His banner,
Dr. Kenyn M. Cureton
Vice President for Convention Relations
Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention
Nashville, TN 37203
Stand for Marriage
by Kenyn M. Cureton, Ph.D.
Most of you have seen ABC TV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition where they tear down a house and rebuild it. Unfortunately, there has been another Extreme Makeover happening to the American home. Some are trying to tear down traditional marriage and redefine it.
Bible believing Christians were shocked as we witnessed the so called "Massachusetts marriages" and "San Francisco ceremonies" where two men or two women were "married" and kissed one another for the cameras. Homosexual activists have been very effective in promoting their extreme makeover of the family. From 1990-2000, the number of homosexual households has skyrocketed by more than 400 percent,1 and we are only one Supreme Court decision away from legalizing same-sex “marriage” all across America.
How should Christians respond? First of all, we need to re-establish the divine pattern for marriage from the word of God. The Bible establishes a fixed standard of righteousness, a fixed standard of moral absolutes, of right and wrong.
The Divine Pattern
What is the divine pattern, God's original intention for marriage and the home? Go back to Genesis. For example, Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Aren't you glad God created Adam and Eve, and not just Adam and Steve? Thank God for the difference between men and women. In fact, the two genders were meant to complete each other physically, emotionally, and in every other way. Also, both genders are needed for a healthy home. As James Dobson notes, "More than ten thousand studies have concluded that kids do best when they are raised by mothers and fathers."2
In Genesis 2:24, God further declares: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” When you come to the teaching of Jesus in the NT, you find that Jesus endorsed this divine pattern. Quoting Genesis, Jesus asked Pharisees in Matt. 19:4: Have you not read that at the beginning, the Creator made them male and female, and said: `For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate. In both OT and NT, one man and one woman in a marriage relationship for life is the divine pattern.
When a marriage follows God's design, it is good for everyone — men, women, children, the community, the country, and the world. By the way, before taking a public stand for marriage we ought to renew our commitment to live out the biblical principles of marriage. Think about it. Every civilization in history is built upon the institution of marriage. It is the foundation of human social order. The welfare of children, the propagation of the faith, the wellbeing of society, and the orderliness of civilization are all dependent upon the stability of marriage according to the divine pattern. When this God-given pattern is undermined, the whole superstructure of society becomes unstable. Any deviation from the divine pattern invites disaster. Heterosexuality is the divine pattern.
The Deceptive Perversion
Second, there is a deceptive perversion. What is the deceptive perversion? It is any sexual sin outside of the marriage relationship, but for the purposes of this message I want to focus on one sin in particular: homosexuality. The Word of God, which does not err, is brutally clear. Leviticus 18:22 says: You are not to sleep with a man as with a woman; it is detestable. Leviticus 20:13 says: If a man sleeps with a man as with a woman, they have both committed an abomination. They must be put to death; their blood is on their own hands. Homosexuality is an abomination to God. This is the strongest biblical word for the denunciation of sin, the proof of which is in God's own version of the Extreme Makeover at Sodom and Gomorrah, which were destroyed in a hail of fire and brimstone (Gen. 19).
Again, why is homosexuality a sin? Because it is open rebellion against the divine pattern, the created order of God. Some say: "Well, that's Old Testament." Yet Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-18:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
While the ritual, sacrificial, and ceremonial laws were effectively rendered obsolete by Christ's life, death, and resurrection (see Hebrews 8:13), the principles of moral law remain in force. And that moral law calls homosexuality an abomination. In fact, Jesus basically condemned homosexuality by affirming the divine pattern for marriage as between a man and woman in Matthew 19:4 where he references Genesis 1 and 2. When you get into the letters of Paul (Romans 1:18, 26-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:10), Peter (2 Peter 2:6ff), and Jude (v. 7), there is even more confirmation. Homosexuality is a deceptive perversion.
The Definitive Problem
Third, there is a definitive problem. Homosexuals claim: "We were born this way; it is in our genes; God made us gay." They cite "gay gene" studies predominantly conducted by homosexuals that have been repudiated by credible research.3 Yet these same biased and discredited studies have been widely publicized by the liberal media as true and factual. They essentially practice Joseph Goebel's Nazi philosophy of propaganda, which is basically this: tell a lie loud enough and long enough and eventually most mindless Americans will believe it.4
Get this straight: God did not make anybody homosexual. The Bible declares that the definitive problem is ours: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23). We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way... (Isaiah 53:6). Every one of us has a sin nature that twists and perverts God-given desires not only toward homosexuality, but toward all sorts of sexual sin, such as promiscuity, adultery, pedophilia, bestiality, etc. In fact, our sinful nature pulls us down into all manner of evil, not just sexual sin.
Dr. James Dobson says: "I am certain that homosexuality does not result from irresistible genetic influences, as some would have us believe." Scientifically speaking, there is no gay gene. Listen, I do not believe that God would not place in your genetic code something that would destroy your immortal soul. Again, it is our sin nature and its perverted and twisted desires that people give into, just as the Bible says in Rom. 1:24-27. That's the definitive problem.
The Destructive Program
Fourth, there is a destructive program. While homosexuals only represent a fraction of the total population (2.8% of men and 1.4% of women),5 many have become very vocal, well organized, well funded, and highly motivated. They have used the political system, the media, movies, and even the schools to "mainstream" their lifestyle choices, and they have been extremely successful in advancing their agenda. Just consider how the attitudes have changed toward homosexuality from the previous generation.6
What are the goals of the radical homosexual agenda? They include universal acceptance of the gay and lesbian lifestyle, gaining special privileges and rights in the laws, "sensitivity training" of our children through public education, silencing critics in the clergy and Christian media, and securing the legal benefits of marriage and parenting for any two people of the same gender.
By all accounts, Homosexual activists have been marching from victory to victory in the entertainment arena, the educational arena, and the legal arena in advancing this agenda. Don't think so? Take a look at the entertainment arena. Does Brokeback Mountain ring a bell? What about Will and Grace and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? What about "Boy Meets Boy," which has a gay bachelor who must choose one man among 15 other men to be his partner? What about the new Logo network dedicated to gay friendly programming? What about the MTV music awards where Madonna gave Brittany Spears and Christina Aguilera an open mouth kiss? Then all three, with fists raised in defiance, shouted: “We’re bored with the concept of right and wrong!” Nearly every movie, nearly every television program advances rebellion against the divine pattern found in the word of God.
Take a look at the educational arena. What about books in the public school classroom such as Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's New Roommate? Several years ago, the conservative news magazine National Review laid out a litany of examples of homosexual indoctrination in New England public schools. In one elementary school, a transsexual was invited into a 1st grade class to give details of his operation.7 In another elementary school, children were assigned to play gays in a school skit. Two girls were to hold hands and pretend to be lesbians. One boy's line was: "Its natural to be attracted to the same sex."8 At a required school assembly, an instructor used four-letter words, described the joys of oral and anal sex, and had children participate in licking condoms. Parents were not notified about this in advance.9 One 9th grade High School health textbook teaches: "Testing your ability to function sexually and give pleasure to another person may be less threatening in the early teens with people of your own sex...You may come to the conclusion that growing up means rejecting the values of your parents."10
More recently, a Lexington, Massachusetts school “treated” their second graders to a book entitled King and King, a colorful 29-page children's book in which a prince searches for a wife, only in the end to choose another prince. The story ends with the two princes "marrying" and living "happily ever after." On the last page, the princes -- now kings -- even share a kiss.11 This was read to 7 year olds! And then there are two recent indoctrination films “It’s Elementary” and “That’s a Family,” the latter of which is directed toward 1st through 3rd grade kids, but both of which preach the virtues of homosexuality and the vices of homophobia.
On and on we could go, ad infinitum ad nauseum, but some might say: “Well that's some liberal public school districts in some liberal states.” And I'll grant you that, but its just a short step from AIDS awareness, and gay sensitivity training, to some of the extreme indoctrination and recruitment that's going on in others places. It is like the frog in the kettle. Just turn up the heat a degree at a time, just introduce the homosexual agenda in small doses, and before long, the frog is cooked. Writing in the leading homosexual magazine, The Advocate, lesbian author Patricia Nell Warren, said this: "It is the first fact of civilization, whoever captures the kids owns the future."12
Take a look at the legal arena. What about the recent Supreme Court ruling that overturned the nation's remaining Sodomy laws? What about the Massachusetts "marriages?" What about the movement to make homosexual marriage legal all across the United States? Even when Americans vote in an effort to defend against the homosexual agenda, the courts step in and overturn the will of the people.
OK, let's just ask the question: Why not gay "marriage?" What damage could be done by the courts allowing two consenting adults of the same gender to join in a relationship and sanction it as "marriage?" We already know the answer to that question. Take a look at the Scandinavian countries that embraced de-facto gay marriage back in the '90s. The vast majority of couples there are choosing to simply live together instead of getting married, figuring that if marriage means anything then marriage means nothing. In Norway, there are reports of upwards of 60-80 percent of firstborn children conceived out of wedlock.13 The results of the Scandinavian experiment have been devastating. Do we really want that for America?
Some might, say: “Well as long as I don’t go to the movies, don’t watch TV, don’t send my kids to public schools, and make sure life revolves around the church, my family should be OK.” Listen, homosexual activists won’t stop at recognition, their aim is domination. Speaking of Scandinavia, Swedish Pastor Åke Green was arrested for using God's Word to preach on the sin of homosexuality.14 Hate crimes legislation is being applied to sermons on homosexuality which are being regarded as hate speech. So sodomy has not only come out of the closet and into the classrooms, into the Congress, into the Cabinet, but it is now coming into our churches demanding special recognition and rights.
In fact, Congressman William Danemeyer’s book entitled: Shadow in the Land: Homosexuality in America records the homosexual challenge to the Christians of America from the activist’s perspective: "Now the tide has turned. We have at last come out, and in doing so, we have exposed the mean-spirited nature of Judeo-Christian morality. You have been narrow-minded and self-righteous. But with the help of a growing number of your own membership, we are going to force you to recant everything you have ever believed about homosexuality.” And here are a few changes they are demanding within the church:
Henceforth homosexuality will be spoken of in your churches and synagogues as an honorable estate; You will also be expected to offer ceremonies that bless our sexual arrangements; You will also instruct your young people in homosexual behavior; If any of your older people object, you will deal with them sternly, and make certain that they renounce their ugly and ignorant homophobia, or suffer public humiliation." These are the demands of the homosexuals to the church in America. “Finally, we will want to expunge a number of passages from the Scriptures and rewrite others eliminating preferential treatment of marriage and using words that will allow for homosexual interpretations of the Bible describing Bible lovers…"
He concludes: "Warning, if all these things do not come about quickly, we will subject orthodox Jews and Christians to the most sustained hatred and vilification in recent memory. We have captured the liberal establishment, and the liberal press. We have already beaten you on a number of battlefields, and we have the spirit of the age on our side. You have neither the faith nor the strength to fight against us, so you must surrender now."15 End of quote. Let me say this for the record, I'll surrender when hell freezes over and then skate on the ice!
But church all of this will come to pass if you continue to keep your mouth shut and sit on your hands. It can happen, it will happen, it is happening! There is a destructive program. We've talked about the divine pattern, its devilish perversion, and the definitive problem, but the fourth thing I want you to see is the destructive program, the propaganda and the agenda that is being pushed on our society.
The Determined Plan
Finally, as Christ-followers, we need a determined plan of action. Admittedly, most of us have been bystanders to this point, silently watching these events transpire without any thought to Jesus' command to be stinging salt and shining light. As Edmund Burke is often quoted: "All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." It is time for Christ-followers to get involved, lift our voices, and call America to repentance before it is too late. For just as the fire of judgment fell on Sodom and Gomorrah, judgment will fall on America. In light of the Extreme Home Makeover that is taking place, what can we do, what should we do, what must we do?
Here are several action steps we can determine to take:
Action Step 1: Pray for God's mercy on a nation that is sliding toward Sodom. Pray that God's Spirit will revive a church that is worldly. Pray that God would be pleased to send a mighty sweeping revival. But I remind you that the promises of 2 Chronicles 7:14 depend on God's people humbling themselves, seeking the face of God in prayer, and turning from sin to biblical righteousness. But it all begins with prayer.
Remember what Abraham did when God told him that He was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? What did Abraham do? He interceded with God for his nephew Lot and his family. And because of his intercession, judgment was delayed and Lot was delivered. Just as Abraham interceded, we need to plead with God that He might stay His hand of judgment.
And I want to tell you that the future of America does not lie in the hands of the politicians in the Congress, the president in the White house, or the Judges in the Courthouse, it lies with the people of God who get on their knees, and pray and seek God's face. Abraham did something the Sodomite Government wasn't able to do. He got a hold of God. Do you know how to do that? Do you know how to intercede? You can change the destiny of a nation by intercession. In Ezekiel 22:30, God says: "I'm looking for an intercessor, I'm looking for someone who will build up the wall, and stand in the gap on behalf of the land so I won't not have to destroy it." But in that day God found no one. Can He count on you? The need of the hour is not just enthusiasm, not just activism, but we must begin with intercession. Step number one: Pray.
Action Step 2: Practice the biblical principles for a healthy marriage as a positive witness. Don't skip this one. Getting a hearing in the culture depends on our credibility. When the divorce rate among professing Christians is essentially the same as that of the world, we have little credibility with which to call the world to repentance, even if they are trying to redefine the family. Christian marriages ought to be the model for a watching world. So practice the biblical principles for a healthy marriage.
Action Step 3: Perform your God-given role as salt and light in our "government of the people, by the people, and for the people." Now some might say: “I don’t think Christians should get involved in politics.” Let me ask you a question: Who created government in the first place? Rom. 13:1-7 tells us plainly and unmistakably that God ordained the institution of government. Since God created government, would He want His people to stay out of it? No. If Christians don’t “render to Caesar” (Matt. 22:21) and don’t function as salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16) in the arena of government, then we disobey the commands of Christ and allow Satan to prevail by default. So we need to perform our God-given role in the area of government. Here are some specific things Citizen Christians can and should do.
• Consider support for the Marriage Protection Amendment that will be debated in the Senate during the first week in June with a vote scheduled for June 6 or 7. Some might say, “What about the Defense of Marriage Act already passed by Congress, and what about all the states that have changed their constitutions to forbid gay marriage?” Here’s what’s wrong with that argument. Nebraska voters decided to change their constitution by a 70% majority vote, but the court overturned it. Plus, the Supreme Court could overturn all these state constitutions on the basis of equal protection and due process clauses in the U. S. Constitution.16 The Marriage Protection Amendment is the only defense against the quest to redefine marriage by homosexual activists and their allies.
• Contact your Senators and Representative. Visit www.faithandfamily.com, enter your zip code, and follow the prompts. A phone call, letter, and/or card are more effective than an e-mail. But the point is this: Let them know how you feel about the definition of marriage and the need to protect it. Passing a constitutional amendment is difficult because it requires two-thirds majorities in both houses of the United States Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the state legislatures. As it stands now, the Marriage Protection Amendment does not have the support of two-thirds of the Senate. But you and I can make the difference. Together, Christians all across America can change the outcome. Then we will build momentum for the vote in the House of Representatives in late July.
• Vote your values. Visit www.ivotevalues.com, follow the easy steps to register to vote, help register your friends, and then prayerfully consider voting for candidates who share your biblical values. Mark those who do not support the Marriage Protection Amendment and remember in November! Vote your values. So step 1 – Pray. Step 2 – Practice biblical principles for a healthy marriage. Step 3 Perform your role as salt and light in your government.
Action Step 4: Proclaim the promise found in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11: Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit God's kingdom? Do not be deceived: no sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, or swindlers will inherit God's kingdom. Some of you were like this .... Notice that it is past tense, and what comes next speaks of God's amazing grace: But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. That is Good News!
Hear me – outside of prayer, the most important thing we can do as believers, and that is proclaim the Good News. Listen, only Jesus can break the strongholds of sin and offer freedom and forgiveness and hope. For when we turn from our sins and turn to Christ, He will change our desires, He will change our passions, and He will change everything about us. Second Corinthians 5:17 says: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. And that is the promise of God we need to share with everybody, everywhere, regardless of their sin. You can be a new person in Christ Jesus!
So let us live and preach that message! Let us love people out of sinful and destructive lifestyles! Let us stand for God's plan for marriage!
A pastor for nearly 20 years and a pioneer leader in the values voter movement, Dr. Kenyn Cureton is currently Vice President for Convention Relations for the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.
1. Genaro C. Armas "Census ... most comprehensive count yet of gays and lesbians," Associated Press, August 21, 2001.
2. James Dobson, Marriage Under Fire: Why We Must Win This Battle, (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2004), 54 and endnote 49 on p. 120.
3. The media often cites the highly touted and yet fatally flawed and biased studies of Simon LeVay, The Sexual Brain (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993) and Dean Hamer, The Science of Desire (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994), which were proven to be bogus by independent studies done by researchers at Yale, MIT, Columbia, Washington University School of Medicine, et al.
4. See the admission of this tactic by homosexual activists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, After the Ball: How America Will Conquer its Fear and hatred of Gays in the 90s (New York: Plume/Doubleday, 1989/90), 161 et passim.
5. Statistics based on a survey of 3,432 respondents as found in Robert T. Michael et al, Sex in America: A Definitive Study (New York: Warner Books, 1995), 176.
6. Alissa J. Rubin, “Public More Accepting of Gays, Poll Finds,” Los Angeles Times, June 18, 2000.
7. Michael Chiusano and Isabel Lyman, “Parents' Rights: Educators have been waging a covert war on parents - who are starting to fight back.” National Review, September 30, 1996.
11. Michael Foust, “Massachusetts 2nd-grade teacher reads class 'gay marriage' book; administrator backs her,” Baptist Press April 20, 2006. See the article online at http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=23077.
12. Patricia Nell Warren, “Future Shock”, The Advocate, October 3, 1995, 80, as quoted by Paul E. Rondeau, “Selling Homosexuality to America”, Regent University Law Review, Vol. 14, No. 2, Spring 2002, at p. 470.
13. Stanley Kurtz, "Death of Marriage in Scandinavia," Boston Globe, March 10, 2004, A23.
14. See the Web site: www.akegreen.com.
15. William Danemeyer, Shadow in the Land: Homosexuality in America (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989), 105-107, based on an article titled: "Warning to the Homophobes," written for the leading homosexual magazine Advocate in 1987 by Steve Warren, a spokesman for the controversial homosexual group ACT UP.
16. Robert Bork, “Stop Courts from Imposing Gay Marriage,” Wall Street Journal August 7, 2001, 14.