Monday, June 29, 2015

Concordia Theological Seminary President Responds to "SCOTUS" Decision

Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage
 June 26, 2015
Dear Friends,

By now, you have undoubtedly been reading and hearing much about today's Supreme Court ruling on marriage. While we continue to study what legal affects this decision may have on the congregations and institutions of our Synod, we do know that it is a disappointment to members of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and Christians who hold to the biblical definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

I am sure you have and will continue to be asked questions about this decision. To help prepare you to answer, Dr. Peter Scaer, associate professor of Exegetical Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (CTSFW), has compiled some talking points concerning the decision. Peter is an outspoken supporter of marriage and the family and a leader within our community and the church-at-large. Some of his suggested guides for discussion include:
  • The Supreme Court decision changes nothing about our Christian faith.  We believe that there is still a higher court and that Christ will be our final Judge.  As Christians, we obey the government (Romans 13), but we recognize that our greatest allegiance is to God and His Word, and that in matters of conscience, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
  • We therefore will continue to support one man one woman marriage, as it is taught in Genesis 1 and 2, and as it is taught by Christ Himself (Matthew 19:1-9 and Mark 10:1-12).
  • True loves calls us to speak the truth so that all may know the forgiveness and love of Christ.  We cannot celebrate that which God calls sin (Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9). By doing so, we leave people in their sin, and apart from Christ.
  • The Church will continue to be a place of healing and forgiveness, restoration and mercy.  As our Lord has said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32).

A complete list of these suggested talking points can be found here. I encourage you to read through them and share them as you deem appropriate with the members of your congregation so they, too, will be prepared to address this issue.

While we are disappointed in this decision, we find comfort in the knowledge that our God holds the deeds of all in His strong hands. We are strengthened by His unfailing presence and will move forward to share the message of the life-saving Gospel to a world that is so desperately in need of that simple and unchanging message.

I can leave you with no better words than this exhortation from St. Paul to the young pastor, Timothy. “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:1-5, ESV)

With you, in Christ’s service,
Lawrence R. Rast Jr.
Concordia Theological Seminary
Fort Wayne, Indiana

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