Marriage in the Dock: A Call to Prayer
It’s important that we stress just how significant these cases are. Before the Court is an up or down vote to redefine marriage. Like Roe v. Wade was to abortion, what the Supreme Court decides regarding whether to redefine marriage will be on the same historic level.
In 1 Timothy 2:1, the Apostle Paul instructed Timothy to pray for leaders in authority. According to Paul,
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.
The command to pray for leaders is an appeal to pray for leaders, who in Paul’s time were avowed enemies of Christ and his church. Still, despite their hostility to the burgeoning Christian movement, Paul says that government is a gift from God meant for our good, and that Christians should pray for government officials’ betterment and their wisdom; that they’d execute justice accurately and indiscriminately. So we must.
As Christians prepare for the April oral arguments and a late June decision, we should remember the essential truths of marriage: It is an institution embedded into the created order that unites men and women into husbands and wives that they might become fathers and mothers. At the same time, marriage is a shadow or icon that depicts the truest reality of the cosmos: Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection that secures for him, his own bride—the church.
The outcome of this decision will shape the landscape of the church’s ministry in the United States for generations to come; and it will have significant consequences on the future of religious liberty.
We are inviting you to join other organizations and churches that will set aside time on the morning of April 28 at 10 a.m. EDT to appeal to God to preserve marriage in our land. You can help us spread the word by changing the avatar on your social media accounts and posting with the hashtag #PrayForMarriage.
Here’s a sample prayer guide:
- God designed marriage as a way to prosper creation and to reflect his gospel (Gen. 2; Rom. 13; Eph. 5). Pray that all people, including governing authorities, would honor the institution of marriage.
- God can turn the hearts and minds of the justices to do his will (Prov. 21:1). Pray for the Supreme Court justices, that they would be receptive to the arguments being made passionately before them.
- God can guide the mind and speech (Exod. 4:11-12). Pray for lead attorneys who will be arguing on behalf of the states seeking to uphold marriage. Ask God to give them clarity and wisdom, for their arguments to be persuasive, and for God to give them favor before the justices.
- God can give understanding to make sound decisions (Prov. 2:6-8). Pray for those who disagree with us, that God would help them understand and respect the opinions of those whose definition of marriage is grounded in the biblical witness.
- God is sovereign (Gen. 50:20). We ought to pray and hope for the best but plan for what Justice Scalia predicted in 2013: “As far as this Court is concerned, no one should be fooled; it is just a matter of listening and waiting for the other shoe.” Even in the event of a bad decision, marriage will always be what marriage truly is.
Whatever the Court rules, the church must be prepared, as it did in its infancy, to work among the cultural ruins to reaffirm our commitment to the value and immutability of marriage.
Resources to further understand the theological and social significance of marriage:
- Russell Moore’s booklet Same-Sex Marriage and the Future
- Russell Moore’s blog post “Same-Sex Marriage and the Future”
- Russell Moore’s “How Should Same-Sex Marriage Change the Church’s Witness?”
- Andrew Walker’s “An Evangelical Defense of Traditional Marriage”
- Andrew Walker’s “Supreme Court to Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases: How Should Christians Respond?”
- Andrew Walker “Should the Church Get Out of the Marriage Business?”
Dr. Moore is the Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice-President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as a preaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church, where he ministers weekly at the congregation’s Fegenbush location. Moore is the author of several books, including "The Kingdom of Christ," "Adopted for Life," and "Tempted and Tried." More from Russell Moore or visit Russell at http://russellmoore.com