During April 2016 I was shown a copy of a local Newton NJ church’s proposed bylaw changes. The churches intention in changing their bylaws seemed “to me” to be to legally protect themselves against the LGBT community should the church be placed in a position of refusing to perform Same Sex Marriages.
After reading this churches proposed bylaw changes; right away, I began to wonder why anyone running a church would even bother amending their church bylaws at such a late phase in the scheme of things. After all, Same Sex Marriage has already been added to the list of Laws governing the land by the United States Supreme Court as of 2015.
“True!” There’s nothing wrong with church bylaws stating things like, “We believe that God created marriage to be exclusively the union of one man and one woman,” or, “We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female.” However, being a Christian with an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice I have to ask one question. “How does stating this in church bylaws provide legal protection for churches?”
“Yes!” Same Sex Marriage goes against our faith. However, the Supreme Court has passed its ruling; more than likely noting that The Bible does not say that churches, or even ordained priests, have to officiate weddings. If the government wants to take over officiating marriage ceremonies why not let them do it?
The Bible tells us that we Christians should honor the laws of the land we live in (1 Peter 2:13-17, Romans 13:1-7 just for starters); even where marriage is concerned. The Bible also tells us (Matthew 10:14-15) to avoid individuals and areas where folks do not wish to hear the Lord’s word.
So, if churches and their ministers stop officiating weddings all together, it wouldn’t be a violation of the Christian faith. There wouldn’t be the income a wedding has the potential to bring in for a church. But sacrificing marriage generated income and rolling back on the services churches provide “as none profit organizations” would be far better than picking a fight we Christians cannot win; neither with the United States Federal Government, or even the State of New Jersey for that matter.
Also, I think too that it is high time that Christians here in Newton, NJ and beyond, take a bit of responsibility for creating the environment that has enabled laws such as Same Sex Marriage to be enacted in the first place. If you think that I’m saying that we’ve become the architect of our own problems as a church body, “You would be correct!”
How many times have we read in The Bible that when God’s people step out of line God punishes them? Do you not think, hopefully having read The Bible through yourself, that the Lord might one day use the United States Government to put us back in our place?
I’ve heard church leaders telling their congregations time and time again that government will take away our freedoms if we don’t get on the stick. And, yet, “Let’s talk about how our own church leaders are violating God’s commandments and other ordnances.”
Some forms of organized religion under the umbrella of Christianity actually pray to various saints and the mother of Jesus. Other churches have people going through hoops just to get baptized; filling out questionnaires, taking multiple classes, meeting with their church Deacons, etc.
Then, of course, there is the whole marriage thing. I hear tell of many churches nationally that require couples to take marriage classes before they will officiate the couples wedding in the church. In fact, “Some of them seem to have made a business out of it.”
I’ve yet to find any place in The Bible that says that you need classes to get baptized. Acts 8:26-39 clearly indicates what is required for a proper baptism and it isn’t much.
Marriage classes in The Bible? They just don’t seem to exist.
“My point is this.” Before we start shooting our mouths off about what the government is doing to take away our religious freedoms. Perhaps we should take a closer look at how we are giving God cause to move our own government against us; the Supreme Court’s Same Sex Marriage decision being a definite sign that God is not pleased with us Christians at all.
It’s one thing to meet with a person before a baptism or a couple about to get married; seeking to insure that they understand what they are biblically committing to. Making it difficult to draw nearer to God by making a huge production out of a person’s desire to get baptized? Or, profiting from a covenant between two people and the Lord? “None of this is a bright idea!”
There is nothing honorable in what many Christian churches across the country are doing today with regard to marriage in general. Nor is there anything honorable about what we Christians ourselves often do.
So, perhaps it’s time that Newton, NJ churches crack open their Bibles and see how their policies just might be upsetting to the Lord. Of course, that might require church leaders and congregations alike to perform an excruciatingly painful self-evaluation of themselves. But, when you stop and think about how the alternative will most likely be an eternity in hell…