(RNS) How do Southern Baptist Convention churches prepare for the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage? A rare panel discussion, moderated by SBC President Ronnie Floyd, gave this advice as members of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination concluded their annual meeting on Wednesday (June 17) in Columbus, Ohio:
1. The sheriff is not hovering at your doorstep.
While declaring that they won’t perform same-sex marriages, Southern Baptist pastors need not worry about getting on the wrong side of the law, said Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr.
“Let’s be honest: There’s not really a danger that the sheriff’s going to show up and say, ‘You have to do this,’” he said. “So far as I know, no pastor’s been sued successfully for refusing to marry somebody on other grounds. … The real danger is we’re going to pay an enormous social, cultural price for not doing a same-sex ceremony, for standing. We’re going to be considered being morally deficient, let’s admit it.”
2. Don’t shun your gay kids.
Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said parents should get over their pride and not focus on what other people think if their child comes out as gay, lesbian or transgender.
“There is no family in the Bible that does not have a prodigal — not one that I can find,” said Moore. “We do not turn around and repudiate our prodigals. We speak truthfully to our prodigals and we keep a place for them to come home to in the end. Do not throw your gay or lesbian child out of the house. Be the sort of place where the gospel is present to them.”
3. Individuals must be prepared to make sacrifices for their beliefs.
“We will have a long line of people in your church, in my church, who are going to face very similar questions,” Mohler predicted. “The question is, will I be faithful to Christ or will I get tenure? Or can I be the fire chief of Atlanta? Or can I work for the fire department in Atlanta?
“Can I be a chaplain in the Air Force? Can I be a Boy Scout? These are all going to be huge questions and they’re going to land right at every Christian family’s doorstep and every church.”
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