My pastor, Dr. Brian Kennedy, devoted his Mother’s Day message to a stirring challenge to contemporary definitions of marriage, the significance of mothering, and the value of women. He also called men to fulfill their biblical responsibilities as husbands, fathers, and sons—part of which is honoring women and celebrating their significance.
To rousing applause from both men and women, Dr. Kennedy called women and girls to “immerse yourself in what God says about you being female. You are not second class, you are not a random unintended accident, you are not a sex object, you are not a punching bag, you are not a commodity for sale, you are not an unidentifiable cultural label, and you are not a bundle of confusion. You are a like-minded image bearer of the living God. Yes, life happens and causes pain, constant questioning, and confusion. Yes, you are pressured to conform to unbiblical cultural norms. Yes, the pressure is audacious and will punch you in the face, and rock your world. But immerse yourself in what God says about you being female. Live out God’s purpose, so you have peace in your life.”
This crescendo of accolades stood in stark contrast to a Wall Street Journal article that provided my pre-service, breakfast reading. This week, over 100 Catholic priests in Germany plan to bless the unions of hundreds of same-sex couples, in defiance of the Word of God, Catholic dogma, and Papal directive. These priests, representing more than 700 German Catholic churches which recently began flying the rainbow flag are defying the Church and dishonoring their vows. They believe their actions are part of reforming the Church by forcing it to adjust to contemporary definitions of marriage.
Reading this article reminded me of another German priest who confronted the Catholic Church about 500 years ago. There is an obvious and fundamental difference, however, in these two re-formations. The first attempted to call the Church back to the Bible. The current version rejects the clear teaching of Scripture in the name of cultural relevance. Martin Luther called the Church to repentance and obedience to the Word of God. Today’s German re-formers are instead calling the Church to relevance and conciliation.
Biblical standards about gender, sexuality, and marriage are all connected. Rejecting any portion of them ultimately leads to rejecting all of them. Sadly, church leaders—Catholic priests in Germany and mainline denominational leaders in the US—are helping lead this debacle. Some of us refuse to capitulate and will pay a high price for our convictions. The value of humankind is made in God’s image with genders he designed for marriage as he mandated demands nothing less from us.
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