Supreme Court Decision on Marriage and Our Response


The Supreme Court continues to make decisions that not only reflect our current culture, but shape it. This past Friday the Justices voted 5-4 to strike down a state’s right to ban same sex marriage. As soon as the news broke there was at the same time great celebration and great outcry. How can that be? How can Americans have such different responses and be so polarizing in their views?

Your “world view” is how you see things. It is your perspective. My world view flows from a belief in God. I believe he is the creator of all things and sovereign ruler of the universe (Genesis 1:1). I also believe he has spoken, and that his word is truth (John 17:17). I believe his word is the guide for my life and that I am responsible to believe it and obey it (Proverbs 3:5,6). So, from that particular world view I form a certain set of values and perspectives on life. Consequently, this is how I interpret events in life like Friday’s Supreme Court decision. I am going to ask “what does God say?”, and “how does he want me to respond?”

I must, however, recognize that not everyone shares my view. There are citizens of our free country, the United States, that do not believe in God. There are others who say we cannot know if there is a God. And then there are those who profess to believe in God yet do not believe in an absolute truth or in the authority of the Bible. So, these, and many others, are not going to interpret Friday’s Supreme Court decision the same way I do. Should I really be so surprised? I need to understand and respect the fact that every human being is a “free” moral agent.

So then, as a Christian, how am I going to respond to this decision and announcement? John 1:17 says, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Grace and truth. God is truth, Jesus is truth, and the Scripture is truth. The Christian is to walk in truth, never compromising what is right before God. We are not to give in to popular culture, nor are we to give in to hate. Jesus, our master, was full of grace and truth. He modeled both and so should we. We find out what God has to say about the matter, follow his instruction and do so with grace.

Let’s not miss the point! This is about the gospel. A loving God sent his only son into this fallen world to rescue us from sin and death. And yes, we were all born sinners and in need of a rescue – all of us. So, let’s keep this in mind and maintain a proper focus. Let’s keep the main thing the main thing – placing our energies into telling the good news of Jesus everywhere we go.

Gospel Functionality

Do you understand how the Gospel relates to living your life? Most of us understand, at least on paper, how it fits as the centerpiece of our  belief system—but we struggle when it comes to applying the theology practically. There is a “functional gospel disconnect”.

Mike Bullmore, pastor of Crossway Community Church in Bristol, WI and frequent Gospel Coalition writer and speaker, recently taught a grad class for us at Northland International University. I would consider his work on gospel functionality as a “must read.” You can download both some notes and the audio lecture below.

Audio Download | Document Download

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The Wisdom of God in Indianapolis and Beyond

This past week we travelled to Indianapolis for the funeral of Chad and Courtney Phelps and their unborn little girl. Chad was born in Denver when Chuck and Linda were serving with us at Tri-City Baptist Church. Being with our dear friends and sharing in their grief, pain, hope, and joy, is something I don’t think I will ever have the words to describe.  I am so grateful to the Phelps and Gaddy families who have demonstrated for us the power of the gospel through grace-filled living. Our prayers continue to be with them.

There are times we won’t understand God’s wisdom or His ways in the events that touch our lives. During such times we must believe what we know to be true about God because our emotions will take us to some very dark places. God tells us He has all wisdom. He weaves this incredible wisdom throughout the tapestry of His sovereign plan for our lives to present a beautiful work of His grace that brings Him great glory.

Wayne Grudem writes, “Wisdom. God’s wisdom means that God always chooses the best goals and the best means to those goals. This definition goes beyond the idea of God knowing all things and specifies that God’s decisions about what he will do are always wise decisions: that is, they always will bring about the best results (from God’s ultimate perspective), and they will bring about those results through the best possible means.”

Grudem goes on to say, “‘We know that God works all things together for good for those who love him, who are called according to his purpose’ (Rom. 8:28, author’s translation). Here Paul affirms that God does work wisely in all the things that come into our lives, and that through all these things he advances us toward the goal of conformity to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). It should be our great confidence and a source of peace day by day to know that God causes all things to move us toward the ultimate goal he has for our lives, namely, that we might be like Christ and thereby bring glory to him. Such confidence enabled Paul to accept his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7) as something that, though painful, God in his wisdom had chosen not to remove (2 Cor. 12:8–10). Every day of our lives, we may quiet our discouragement with the comfort that comes from the knowledge of God’s infinite wisdom: if we are his children, we can know that he is working wisely in our lives, even today, to bring us into greater conformity into the image of Christ.” Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.

May we rest  in these words:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from Him and through Him and for Him, are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen.  -Romans 11:33-36

I would love to connect with you! If you have any questions or would like to connect please use the contact page.

Gospel Transformation

There is natural tendency in us all to focus on how our disciples look and how they perform. It is a quick, easy, and measurable way of assessment. But real gospel preaching and teaching will drive past the visible and superficial to address the attitudes of the heart and it won’t stop until it gets there. The heart is what the gospel is designed to transform and when that happens everything else will fall into place.

The goal of a pastor and the leaders of a church should be to generate proper spiritual attitudes in the hearts of the people. They can’t just say, ‘You need to do this, and you need to do that.’ They must generate the spiritual attitudes that will motivate the people to right behavior…If the right kind of spiritual attitudes are present in a church, the structure will take care of itself, because Spirit-controlled people are going to do Spirit-led things. -John MacArthur, The Master’s Plan for the Church.

I would love to connect with you! If you have any questions or would like to connect please use the contact page.

Counting the Cost & Paying the Price

After returning from the Middle East and spending time with believers there, I am more convinced that we know very little of what it means to count the cost and pay the price for Christ. We live very comfortable lives and end up spending a lot of time on things that hardly matter in light of eternity.

Now I begin to be a disciple…. Let fire and cross, flocks of beasts, broken bones, dismemberment,… come upon me so long as I attain to Jesus Christ. —Ignatius of Antioch

Many Who Oppose Me

“…a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.” -1 Corinthians 16:9

Diane and I are in the Middle East and only a few hundred miles from the city where the apostle Paul first penned these words to the Corinthian church. The same truths remain today, and in very evident ways. Where there is great need and great opportunity there is also great opposition. It is aways the case. As the gospel advances, the attacks increase. We would like to think that the warfare subsides with each spiritual victory, but that is not the reality. The opposition comes from within and from without. It is both spiritual and physical. Believers in this part of the world do not have an easy life. And neither should you.

When you grow weary in the battle, remember this:

  1. The need for the gospel is larger than it has ever been.
  2. The opportunities for the gospel are greater than ever before.
  3. The opposition to gospel advances will only increase.
  4. His grace is more than sufficient for us.

Paul follows up his words, “…a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me”, with an admonition for all of us:

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” -1 Corinthians 16:13-14

This is the nature of the Christian walk. And this is how we are to respond. It is true in the Middle East and in Dunbar, WI, both in Paul’s day and in our own. Take heart and believe!

I would love to connect with you! If you have any questions or would like to connect please use the contact page.

Tim Keller Comparing Religion & the Gospel

In this video, Josh Matteson, pastor of Immanuel Bible Church in Scottsdale, AZ, joins me for a discussion on the gospel.

The following is from page 65 of Tim Keller’s newer book, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City. You can download the PDF by clicking on the image.

“Sinclair Ferguson (in his lectures on the Marrow Controversy) and others have argued that the gospel is not at all a balance between two opposites but an entirely different thing. In fact, it can also be argued that legalism and antinomianism are not opposites but essentially the same thing — self-salvation — opposed to the gospel. So please note that putting Gospel between these two extremes is simply a visual shorthand.” Center Church by Timothy Keller.

I would love to connect with you! If you have any questions or would like to connect please use the contact page.

The Gospel Changes Everything

Here is another quote from Tim Keller from Center Church. It is hard to say it much better than this.

The gospel is not just the ABCs but the A to Z of the Christian life. It is inaccurate to think the gospel is what saves non-Christians, and then Christians mature by trying hard to live according to biblical principles. It is more accurate to say that we are saved by believing the gospel, and then we are transformed in every part of our minds, hearts, and lives by believing the gospel more and more deeply as life goes on (see Rom 12:1 – 2; Phil 1:6; 3:13–14).

I would love to connect with you! If you have any questions or would like to connect please use the contact page.

Vidcast with Steve Viars

Steve Viars, pastor of Faith Church in Lafayette, IN, brought a stirring message to us last week in chapel. In this vidcast he talks about reaching into the community with the gospel.

I would love to connect with you! If you have any questions or would like to connect please use the contact page.