I have already written an article on the ‘yes’ vote win on homosexual marriage in Australia. Another article will soon appear looking in more detail at the political, social, legal and cultural implications. But here I wish to simply speak to some issues as a biblical Christian.
The obvious thing to say is that none of this should surprise us. The warnings found in Scripture concerning what happens when we reject God are perfectly clear, and we are simply seeing all this being played out before our very eyes. Australia and the West has long ago declared war on God, and God in a sense is returning the favour.
And Romans 1:18-32 tells us exactly what all this looks like in practice. God gives people over to their sin and unrighteousness, and those who cling to immorality also suppress the truth. The two always go together. Suppress the truth about God and the floodgates of unrighteousness are flung wide open.
And of course Paul here focuses on one sin above all to illustrate this: the sin of homosexuality. So we were warned 2000 years ago about this very thing. And had we bothered to read the Old Testament we would have seen much more of the same.
The prophets made it crystal clear that a just and holy God must respond when his creatures turn their back on him and reject his ways. But as both the Bible and church history makes clear, the normal reaction of God’s people is to reject God’s prophets.
They choose to reject God and his word as spoken through his prophets. They prefer to believe a lie, keep wallowing in their sin and evil, and act as if God does not exist. That is always the case. Even God’s own people will reject the sure word of God and choose to run with falsehood and deception.
Death in the Wicked City
Let me remind you of two such recent prophetic voices that went unheeded by the majority of Christians. Both wrote books about the secular city, and its demise as we reject God and embrace evil. The first is the 1969 book Death in the City by Francis Schaeffer.
It is based on a series of lectures he gave at Wheaton College in Chicago in 1968. Pulling the book off my shelves and rereading it is a sobering experience. Here he was warning us all a full half century ago about all these matters, yet most folks refused to take heed.
He uses the same Romans 1 passage that I mentioned, along with the prophet Jeremiah, to back up his urgent warnings. His very opening words were these: “We live in a post-Christian world.” And that accounts for everything we see happening around us today. But the prophet Schaeffer could see it happening 50 years ago.
Would that we paid attention back then. He examines Romans 1 and then says, “there is no exhibition of this anywhere in history so clearly in such a short expanse of years as in our own generation.” He continues, “Having turned away from the knowledge given by God, man has now lost the whole Christian culture.”
And again: “Ours is a post-Christian world in which Christianity, not only in the number of Christians, but in cultural emphasis and cultural result, is now in the absolute minority. To ask young people to maintain the status quo is folly. The status quo is no longer ours. In the last four decades the change has come in every portion and in every part of life.”
He was offering these words of warning so long ago. How much more is this the case today? Instead of 40 years of this happening we now have nearly a century of this happening. No wonder the West can now declare all-out war on marriage and family and actually celebrate it.
So, what is the way forward? Schaeffer says we need at least two responses. First, we must weep: “Do not take this lightly! It is a horrible thing for a man like myself to look back and see my country and my culture go down the drain in my own lifetime.”
The truth is, “Our country is under the wrath of God. Our country is under the wrath of God!” So the second thing we must do is get on our faces before Almighty God and repent. And then we must rededicate ourselves to rebuilding. God has transformed fundamentally pagan cultures before and he can do it again.
But that is not the stuff of days or week, but years and decades. Our job begins again. Just as the early believers eventually triumphed over paganism – although it took centuries – so too God may yet be gracious to us again. In the meantime we have to endure the public celebrations as men and women shake their fists at God and his institutions of marriage and family.
Speaking of people celebrating immorality on the streets – which we now seeing being played out on all the news channels – I am reminded of another book which I also just pulled off my shelves – this one by Chuck and Donna McIlhenny: When the Wicked Seize a City.
In this 1993 volume the authors warned about what their church was going through as the radical homosexual activists targeted it. It makes for shocking reading, but again, we did not pay attention. We did not listen to the warnings they offered. We did not pay attention. Today things are so much worse, and now that homosexual marriage may well be just around the corner, it will only worsen.
The hate and anti-Christian bigotry will certainly increase. Already the hate-filled comments are pouring into my website. Here is just one example: “How sad that backward, evil people populate your website- I’m sure they are loveless, petty, self obsessed scum of the earth ..as are you Bill- a dinosaur who will die out and leave the world a better place in your passing”
But We Do Not Despair
All this is discouraging and demoralising. But God. This is not the end. God is not finished with his purposes for planet earth. In the short-term things may well get much worse. However it is the long-term we must focus on. But now we grieve. And we are right to do so.
If you feel utterly sick in the stomach over the vote results, that does NOT mean you lack faith, you are not trusting God, or you do not believe God is still on the throne. It DOES mean you care deeply about the things God cares for, and your heart is broken over what breaks the heart of God.
But we do not despair. We do not give up. We do not put up the white flag of surrender. No, we keep on fighting. We keep standing for what is right. We keep speaking truth to a culture that hates truth. And we keep pointing people to a Saviour.
This is not the end of all things. It is simply the beginning of the next phase of being salt and light in a sin-darkened, and perhaps God-forsaken, culture. Just moments ago I went out and brought in the laundry. Life goes on. This is not the end of the world. It is one battle lost, but the war continues.
So stand strong saints. We know how things ultimately finish up. In the meantime we have a job to do. There remains much to be done. We must persevere. As Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 3:13, “And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.”
Let me conclude with a few more quotes:
“The Lord hath promised the crown of life to those who love Him. Only lovers of the Lord will hold out in the hour of trial; the rest will either sink or sulk, or slink back to the world.” Charles Spurgeon
“The waters are rising, but so am I. I am not going under, but over.” Catherine Booth
“Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances we know to be desperate.” G. K. Chesterton
“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” J. R. R. Tolkien
“If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!” Proverbs 24:10