We are in the middle of a political season and as Pastor of Grace Church I would like to guide us through this season in unity and truth. There are things I am allowed to say as a Pastor on behalf of a church and there are things I am not allowed to say. First, I am allowed to speak about moral issues and guide our church how to vote for certain subjects. Second, I am allowed to give biblical principles that guide Christians in how to vote. Third, I am allowed to personally endorse a candidate. Fourth, our church is not allowed to endorse a candidate. And finally, I am not allowed, in the pulpit, to tell you which candidate to vote for. That being said, this email will be dedicated to two moral issues on the ballot this fall: Initiative 502 and Referendum 74 (i.e., legalizing marijuana and gay marriage).
First, should you vote to pass Initiative 502? If you vote to approve I-502, you will help to legalize marijuana. What I find most interesting about the ads trying to convince you to approve this measure is they have a middle class mom who says at first she felt uncomfortable with this measure, but then changed her mind when she realized it would take money out of the hands of drug dealers, that marijuana would be taxed, and that the money would be used to help fund schools.
This sounds reasonable, but what does the Bible say?
The Bible teaches that since the fall of humanity from God’s Grace (Genesis 3) human being’s flesh, eyes, minds, and souls are tainted by sin and therefore turn away from God in decision making using their sin tainted reasoning abilities to justify just about anything (Romans 1:18-32). Paul says humans claim to be wise and prove to be fools (v. 22) and that because they turn away from God when making such decisions that God gives people over to depraved minds (v. 28) sinning in ways that are unimaginable and approving of those who participate with them (vv. 29-32). Biblically we are not to be controlled by substances, but rather we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
What’s my point?
The ad on TV of a mom reasoning that legalizing marijuana has positive affects has probably never seen first hand the negative affects of drugs on a family. To legalize marijuana will lead to more, not less problems in our culture. As Pastor I firmly believe we are to vote no on Initiative 502 for moral and practical reasons.
Second, should we vote to affirm Referendum 74 (R 74)? To vote to affirm R 74 will legalize marriage between same sex couples in Washington State. If you watch the ads instructing us to affirm gay marriage, there are clergy in robes speaking about this like it is a right and that it would be unloving to vote to reject R 74.
What does the Bible say?
God invented marriage as between a man and a woman for companionship and the propagation and raising of children (Genesis 1:26-27 & 2:23-25). Jesus affirmed marriage as between a man and a woman (Matthew 19:4-6). When I was in Seminary my Greek professor and my Theology professor pointed out there are two forms of the wrath of God when people don’t follow His ways: (1) active wrath and (2) passive wrath.
First, the active wrath of God comes in the form of a flood (Genesis 6) or plagues and fire from heaven (Exodus 7-11) or things like Judgment Day and the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19). When active wrath comes, there is no escape.
Second, the passive form of wrath comes through natural consequences. In other words if you do the opposite of what God’s will is, then you face the natural consequences. In Romans 1:18-32 it says that when people turn away from God and His ways, God gives them over to their depraved desires such as sexual immorality (v. 24) or homosexual behavior (vv. 26-27) or malice and disobedience of parents, etc. (vv. 28-32). What Paul is saying in Romans 1:18-32 is that we in Seattle are living in a depraved culture because people have turned from God and therefore our society is facing the natural consequences of turning from God. If we as a culture in Washington affirm gay marriage, we will face more consequences such as: (1) children being adopted or conceived outside of marriage between a man and a woman and raised by two dads or two moms; (2) the schools teaching homosexual behavior is normal; and (3) children growing up thinking this is normal and experimenting.
Basically, all sex outside of the marriage covenant has consequences emotionally and often times physically (STDs, pregnancy, and choice about abortion vs. single parenthood). These consequences have lasting effects on our economy (did you know in 1960 that 5% of children were born to a single mom? Now it is 41% in the USA and 65% in the White Center / West Seattle Area – this leads to poverty, a lack of life skills, the trap of welfare, etc.).
What is the solution?
First and foremost, no matter what happens with R 74 we have a responsibility of how to engage culture and a great opportunity to do so (Luke 10:2 & Matt. 28:18-20). The solution is we need to respectfully introduce people to Jesus by being Jesus to people in word and deed (cup of cold water in Jesus’ name – Matt. 10:42) and let Jesus’ morality and ethics change a person after they meet Jesus. So in your conversations with people who are not Christian, do not focus on gay marriage for this is a secondary issue. Rather, focus on who Jesus is and help the person to wrestle with this and the implied consequences of not devoting your life to Him, for this is the primary issue.
Second, as Christians we have a responsibility as citizens to vote based on morality and ethics as endowed by our creator. Therefore I believe Christians who vote are called to reject R 74.
Third, pray for and respect our government leaders (Romans 13:1-7 & 1 Peter 2:13-17).