NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 3, 2014Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Conventions Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Andrew Walker, ERLC director of policy studies, wrote a joint op-ed today for “Canon & Culture,”:http://www.canonandculture.com/ on the Christian response to governments that single out homosexuals for prosecution.
As evangelical Christians, we believe what the catholic (small c) and orthodox (small o) church has always, and everywhere, believed: that sexuality is to be expressed only within the one-flesh union of the marriage of a man to a woman. Anything else is a sin against God, wrote Moore and Walker.
However, Moore and Walker argue that to single out persons for harassment and fear of their lives represents, in our view, a State that has overstepped its bounds drastically and unjustly, and that legislative efforts to single out homosexuals for prosecution represent “an affront to the image of God embedded in all persons.
Moore and Walker said they sharply dissent from the use of state power, as weve seen in American life in recent days, to coerce the consciences of personswhether Christian, Muslim, Jewish or what have youto participate in weddings or celebrations of unions we believe to be violations of our consciences.
The police power of the state is set up to maintain public safety and order according to principles of public justice, Moore and Walker wrote. Everywhere in the New Testament, the mission of confronting personal sin is given to the church, not to the state. And the church, Jesus and his apostles explicitly tell us, does not have the coercive power of the sword (Matt. 26:52-53).
The primary reason Moore and Walker said they oppose unjust persecution if because of the gospel.
Yes, we believe that all sexual activity outside of marriage (defined by Jesus, not by the Supreme Court) is wrong, wrote Moore and Walker. We also believe that the answer to this sin is found not in some police state, but in the good news that God reconciles sinners like us to himself through the shed blood and the ongoing life of Jesus Christ.
Full text of this article is available “online.”:http://www.canonandculture.com/what-should-christians-think-of-governments-that-criminalize-homosexuality/
The Southern Baptist Convention is Americas largest non-Catholic denomination with more than 15.9 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBCs ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Washington, D.C.
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