FIRST-PERSON: God's decrees are never overturned
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Imagine standing before a judge and telling him you've decided to no longer recognize the interstate's posted speed limit. It's not that you're asking for an exemption to the law; you're telling him traffic laws no longer apply to you.
Or what about taxes. How well do you think it would go over if you informed the Internal Revenue Service that you no longer recognized income tax laws? Simply stated, "I don't acknowledge it so therefore it doesn't exist."
Both of these examples are ludicrous because we know that in each case a judge would say it is not your place to arbitrarily pick and choose which laws you are going to obey. You are incapable, the judge would say, of nullifying or changing laws established by a higher authority. Hopefully, the judge would remind you that laws are established to govern all members of a society equally so that all people know the boundaries, and once outside the boundaries, there are consequences for "breaking the law."
All seemingly obvious, wouldn't you agree? Unfortunately, federal Judge Aleta Trauger is guilty of just such a reckless regard for the law -- God's law -- that governs human sexuality and the institution of marriage.
Trauger's decision last month involving Tennessee’s law banning same-sex marriage, in essence, told the Supreme Judge of the universe that His law is no longer relevant.
Let's face it, Trauger is not the only judge in America to flaunt human pride in the face of the Holy God. Heterosexuality and marriage are under a full-scale assault by our government, our court system and special interest groups. The point missed by these groups is that they simply have no authority to repeal God's laws, and denying God doesn't negate the inevitable consequences of those actions.
Trauger's ruling is part of an increasingly familiar pattern -- a judge striking down all or part of a state's ban on same-sex marriage. Already in 2014, federal courts have invalidated such bans in Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. A judge in Utah issued such a ruling in December 2013. Courts have blocked enforcement of those decisions while they go through the appeal process.
In addition, Trauger as well as a federal judge in Kentucky have issued opinions this year requiring recognition of gay marriages performed in other states, despite bans in our two states against doing so. On April 4, a federal judge provided notice he would issue a ruling in 10 days to require Ohio to recognize other states' gay marriages. Fortunately, Tennessee’s attorney general is reviewing Judge Trauger’s decision and taking steps to defend the 1996 state law prohibiting same-sex marriage that became part of our state constitution in 2006.
Apart from those recent decisions, same-sex marriage is legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
But the bigger question is: Will our pastors take steps to defend God's law that's been established since He created Adam and Eve?
Hear me. I'm not calling for a bombastic, confrontational, loveless diatribe from the pulpit that marginalizes our churches and effectively kills any chance of sharing the healing love of Christ with our fellow Tennesseans. I am saying we must preach -- with grace -- the undiluted message of God's design for mankind, our sin and its consequences, available peace with God through Jesus Christ and our glorious future to enjoy His presence forever.
Unfortunately, in matters related to homosexuality, we tend -- unsuccessfully -- to assume the convicting role of the Holy Spirit. We must acknowledge we will be no more successful in creating righteousness in the hearts of man than the court system will be in nullifying God's ordained governance of His creation.
However, sharing hard truths in grace and humility allows the Holy Spirit to bring conviction through the Scripture. But let's be honest, God's Word will never permeate our culture if proclaimed only from pulpits. There aren't enough pastors in the world to saturate the marketplace with the Gospel, and it's in the marketplace where change must take place. This judicial ruling exposes the desperate need for Christian executives, and bricklayers, and teachers, and jewelry counter workers, and accountants, and anyone else who claims the name of Christ to proclaim that Name to the micro-mission field in which they find themselves working every day.
The apostle Paul writes that man has it in his heart to know God but will continue to deny Him, and in the process drag culture down the road toward hell. Bearing witness in the marketplace isn't necessarily an easy task. In fact, it's tough, but fortunately the Jesus who calls us to witness has also told us that He has overcome the world.
And no judge will ever overturn that decree.
Randy Davis is executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).