Will God Pour Out Judgment on America for Affirming Gay Marriage?

Angry-God-SignNo.

Oh, did you want more than that? Let’s talk about the character of God. But first, let’s talk about the amazing events of June 26, 2015.

A crowd waited in front of the Supreme Court hoping for a ruling on the gay marriage issue which the justices had been debating for some time. News crews camped out in front of the building, expecting that a ruling could be announced around 10am. Suddenly, the interns came racing across the steps of the Supreme Court building to deliver the announcement to the assembled crowd and reporters. The court decided that states cannot restrict gay marriage and they must recognize gay marriages performed in other states. This decision has made gay marriage legal in every state.

The crowds cheered and celebrated in front of the Supreme Court all day long. Other celebrations took place all over the country. People celebrated not because the United States had rejected “traditional values” or because some people became free to flaunt their deviant lifestyles, but because people all over the United States were given the right to legally express their love for each other through public commitment and fidelity. The phrase “love wins” flooded social media in seconds. Even President Obama ended a tweet with “#LoveWins.” A friend of mine who was in DC said it was a moment about which he will be telling his grandchildren.

Facebook and Twitter exploded with expressions of gratefulness that this country has chosen compassion, equality, and love. At the same time, opponents of gay marriage were voicing their disapproval. Franklin Graham appeared on Fox News a few hours after the announcement to express his concern and said, “I believe God could bring judgment upon America.”

Ted Cruz called this day “The worst 24 hours in American history.”

These are opinions that will be echoed by conservative religious leaders throughout the coming days. Whether or not these kind of statements are sincere or they are political pandering and fear mongering does not matter. They express a cancerous theology that affects the way we understand God, the way we approach God, and the way we treat each other. A theology that has been eating away at our souls for years.

In the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus is correcting the flawed theology of his audience, he says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:44-45) Jesus is telling his hearers that God loves everyone the same and pours his blessing on all. Jesus’ hearers lived with a theology that said God blesses good people and curses bad people. Jesus’ teaching was essentially saying, “No, God is not retributive! God’s blessing is for all.”

No matter what we believe about homosexuality, abortion, divorce, or violence on television we must never believe that our behavior is incurring the wrath of God. Jesus shows us that God’s character leans toward mercy and love, not toward retribution and punishment. “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father,” Jesus says. Jesus is the fullest revelation of God. In Jesus we see grace, love, and acceptance. That means God’s character is grace, love, and acceptance. Jesus lays himself down, never retaliates, and always forgives. That means God never retaliates and always forgives. Is God poised to pour judgement upon America? No. God rejoices with those who rejoice. God loves. God forgives. God always blesses.

When we promote the idea that God is angry with certain actions that our nation has taken, behaviors of certain groups, or particular systems of belief, we are promoting a theology of violence and retribution. We are sending a message that is the very opposite of Jesus message. We are saying, “God loves you if you act right, but God hates you if you don’t measure up.” This message is not grace. It is not love. It is not the Gospel.

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11 Responses to “Will God Pour Out Judgment on America for Affirming Gay Marriage?”

  1. How, then, do you reconcile 1 Corinthians 6:9-10? I could not find a qualifier except those who are “washed, sanctified and justified”. That is, those who have repented and washed themselves in the mercy you describe. I just don’t see how the day’s ruling is in line with bothe scriptures. Your thoughts?

    • The word homosexual in this Scripture is a problematic translation. There is simply no such word in Greek. I would not say that Paul was affirming of homosexuality as we know it today, I would say that finding a biblical standard is much more complicated than finding a proof text or two.

      I choose to look at all Scripture through the lens of Jesus. Jesus shows us the character of God. That means we understand Good most clearly when we look at the words and actions of Jesus as recorded in the gospels. That perspective will always inform the way I understand the rest of the Bible.

      Seeing Scripture this way is often very difficult since we have been encouraged to see Jesus through the lens of Paul, the Old Testament, Augustine, or Calvin.

      • I suppose looking past a proof text or two would be problematic if it mussed with the lens of your choosing. I’ve looked at the underlying Greek in 1 Cor 6:9-10, 1 Tim 1:10, Rom 1:18-32 as well as the Septuagint for Lev 18:22 and Lev 20:13. It seems clear to me as a condemnation of homosexual behavior.

        Yes, Jesus’ mercy is over all, but I am unable to reconcile myself to a Biblical standard that supports and affirms homosexual unions.

        As for the original premise of your article, I agree. I don’t think God will bring judgement on America because of the SCOTUS decision. This nation, like any nation, will be judged because people in general will be judged. When the time comes.

        Until then, I will continue my struggle to live this relationship out as best I can. As lovingly as I can.

      • I appreciate your thoughts and your position. I honestly wish we could have more civil conversations about this issue where we can respect the the ways that we agree as well as the ways that we disagree. No one is being served by the emotional contention that pervades discussion about gay marriage.

      • I thought I was being civil. {shrugs} I suppose since my daughter is gay and planning on being married soon, mehbeh some of my emotions are spilling out. But to say this hasn’t been a civil discourse? Wow. Ok. I’ll leave.

      • Sorry, that was not directed at your comment. I found your thoughts very civil and respectful .

      • I was just ranting a bit about the quality of the discussion going on in so many places right now. I really do appreciate your comments. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  2. Jason – I appreciate what you are saying here in spirit, but Daniel has a point. No, there is no word for homosexual in modern terms – much the same way there is no word for ‘crack addict.’ But we can glean from ‘wine and strong drink’ that God’s best is to stay away from addictive forms of entertainment. In the same way we can’t make too much of ‘arsenokoitai’ we have a pretty good idea of what ‘male bed’ translates into in that day. Jesus never said anything about homosexual marriage because it didn’t exist – that is not to say we shouldn’t understand that and apply the appropriate understanding to the Words of Christ.

    I have a somewhat similar view in my blog posted yesterday at http://survivingfaith.blogspot.com/2015/06/life-goes-on.html but I think there will be judgment for every sin that we take part in some day. That seems to be the overarching Biblical verdict and the only way that God describes His 2nd coming. Tell me if I missed something here.

    • John, you seem to want to use the Bible to draw black and white around life, but biblical authors do not do this. Contrary to your rule about addictive entertainment, Paul tells Timothy to “drink a little wine” and Jesus enjoyed the Passover meal, which includes for glasses of wine, with his disciples, even telling them to use the wine to remember Him.

      Very simply, I chose to interpret Jesus, the character of God, the Bible, and the atonement one way while you interpret it another way.

      • Hey Jason, yeah sorry – perhaps something got lost in translation here. My fault probably. My point about saying that the Bible doesn’t call homosexual marriage sinful is because it didn’t exist back then. You could use the same argument to validate crack use (because crack didn’t exist). Get it? It is an argument from the shallows. I get your larger idea and I am in agreement about an atonement hermeneutic. I just think we have to be careful about what we declare right from the absence of mention in scripture. That seems to be too literal of an argument. Hope that helps clear up a little.

  3. Thought I’d mention that I agree with you; I don’t believe God will judge America because of SSM. For God to judge America now would imply we were something like a new “Israel’ but we are just one of the many Gentile nations in the world. Don’t misunderstand, I do believe America has been special, even blessed by God, but it was because of our heritage, as imperfect as its been.

    I also agree with you that God loves us no matter what. He doesn’t love us if we do right and then hate us when we don’t. But to reject the holiness, justice and wrath of God against sin is to reject most of the Bible. The OT sacrificial system and the whole of the NT pointed to Jesus as the propitiation for sin. The whole reason for Jesus coming, according Paul and the other apostles was to atone for our sin. John 3:36 says the wrath of God still abides on the one without Christ. Obviously you can reject the idea of the wrath of God but to do so is to disregard much of the Bible. It’s not so much about interpreting it– its more about rejecting it. I also agree with you that Jesus is the visible image of God, He is God, but wouldn’t God give us a sure word from Himself? And the Jesus you read in the Bible sure seemed to think that God had spoken in the OT and through His Word. He told his followers the Spirit would help them remember all he said– He specifically chose Paul to be His spokesman. Why not believe Peter and Paul?

    In the OT the Israelites had a word from God but every man chose to do what was right in his own eyes. It almost seems in the blog post that you are advocating for everyone to simply do what they think is right– just be loving. Did I read that right?

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