More than 100 Christian leaders in the US, including Paul Nyquist, president and chief executive of the Moody Bible Institute and R. Albert Mohler Jr, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, have signed a statement against redefining marriage.
In July, the coalition of evangelical leaders assembled by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission made a statement that dissented from the Supreme Court’s ruling, which allowed gay couples to marry in every one of the 50 states of America.
The statement read: ‘The state did not create the family, and should not try to recreate the family in its own image.
‘We will not capitulate on marriage, because biblical authority requires that we cannot. The outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling to redefine marriage represents what seems like the result of a half-century of witnessing marriage’s decline through divorce, cohabitation, and a world-view of almost limitless sexual freedom.
‘The Supreme Court’s actions pose incalculable risks to an already volatile social fabric by alienating those whose beliefs about marriage are motivated by deep biblical convictions and concern for the common good’.
The statement went on to outline the authority of Scripture’s witnesses to the nature of marriage, as ‘uniquely bound to the complementarity of man and woman’, and called on evangelical churches to be ‘faithful to the biblical witness on marriage, regardless of the cultural shift’.
The statement added: ‘The redefinition of marriage should not entail the erosion of religious liberty. Evangelical institutions could be pressed to sacrifice their sacred beliefs about marriage and sexuality to accommodate whatever demands the culture and law require.
‘We do not have the option to meet those demands without violating our consciences and surrendering the gospel. We will not allow the government to coerce or infringe upon the rights of institutions to live by the sacred belief that only men and women can enter into marriage’.
Commenting on his blog, Dr Peter Jones wrote: ‘This legal decision represents an historic moment. The Declaration of Independence, declaring that rights and laws are endowed by the Creator, has been rendered meaningless by a fake redefining of marriage, with no reference to the Creator or to any objective standards.
‘The charade is over. This decision indicates that what has been happening for some time is finally here for all to see: the USA is clearly a “godless nation”.’
In 2013, ahead of a public debate on same-sex marriage in the UK, which led to its legalisation on 29 March 2014, the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches issued a similar statement to that of the US evangelicals.
It said, ‘These convictions are derived from the clear teaching of Scripture. In both the Old and the New Testament, marriage is painted in a positive light, and homosexual activity, along with all other sexual intimacy outside of (heterosexual) marriage, is declared by God to be sinful.
‘Nowhere in the Bible is there an expectation that marriage can exist between two or more people of the same sex.’