Statement Jun 26, 2015

Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage

As evangelical Christians, we dissent from the court’s ruling that redefines marriage. The state did not create the family, and should not try to recreate the family in its own image. We will not capitulate on marriage because biblical authority requires that we cannot. The outcome of the Supreme Court’s ruling to redefine marriage represents what seems like the result of a half-century of witnessing marriage’s decline through divorce, cohabitation, and a worldview of almost limitless sexual freedom. The Supreme Court’s actions pose incalculable risks to an already volatile social fabric by alienating those whose beliefs about marriage are motivated by deep biblical convictions and concern for the common good.

The Bible clearly teaches the enduring truth that marriage consists of one man and one woman. From Genesis to Revelation, the authority of Scripture witnesses to the nature of biblical marriage as uniquely bound to the complementarity of man and woman. This truth is not negotiable. The Lord Jesus himself said that marriage is from the beginning (Matt. 19:4-6), so no human institution has the authority to redefine marriage any more than a human institution has the authority to redefine the gospel, which marriage mysteriously reflects (Eph. 5:32). The Supreme Court’s ruling to redefine marriage demonstrates mistaken judgment by disregarding what history and countless civilizations have passed on to us, but it also represents an aftermath that evangelicals themselves, sadly, are not guiltless in contributing to. Too often, professing evangelicals have failed to model the ideals we so dearly cherish and believe are central to gospel proclamation.

Evangelical churches must be faithful to the biblical witness on marriage regardless of the cultural shift. Evangelical churches in America now find themselves in a new moral landscape that calls us to minister in a context growing more hostile to a biblical sexual ethic. This is not new in the history of the church. From its earliest beginnings, whether on the margins of society or in a place of influence, the church is defined by the gospel. We insist that the gospel brings good news to all people, regardless of whether the culture considers the news good or not.

The gospel must inform our approach to public witness. As evangelicals animated by the good news that God offers reconciliation through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, we commit to:

  • Respect and pray for our governing authorities even as we work through the democratic process to rebuild a culture of marriage (Rom. 13:1-7);
  • teach the truth about biblical marriage in a way that brings healing to a sexually broken culture;
  • affirm the biblical mandate that all persons, including LGBT persons, are created in the image of God and deserve dignity and respect;
  • love our neighbors regardless of whatever disagreements arise as a result of conflicting beliefs about marriage;
  • live respectfully and civilly alongside those who may disagree with us for the sake of the common good;
  • cultivate a common culture of religious liberty that allows the freedom to live and believe differently to prosper.

The redefinition of marriage should not entail the erosion of religious liberty. In the coming years, evangelical institutions could be pressed to sacrifice their sacred beliefs about marriage and sexuality in order to accommodate whatever demands the culture and law require. We do not have the option to meet those demands without violating our consciences and surrendering the gospel. We will not allow the government to coerce or infringe upon the rights of institutions to live by the sacred belief that only men and women can enter into marriage.

The gospel of Jesus Christ determines the shape and tone of our ministry. Christian theology considers its teachings about marriage both timeless and unchanging, and therefore we must stand firm in this belief. Outrage and panic are not the responses of those confident in the promises of a reigning Christ Jesus. While we believe the Supreme Court has erred in its ruling, we pledge to stand steadfastly, faithfully witnessing to the biblical teaching that marriage is the chief cornerstone of society, designed to unite men, women, and children. We promise to proclaim and live this truth at all costs, with convictions that are communicated with kindness and love.

A.B Vines
Senior Pastor
New Seasons Church

Afshin Ziafat 
Lead Pastor
Providence Church - Frisco, TX.

Alistair Begg 
Senior Pastor
Parkside Church

Andrew T. Walker 
Director of Policy Studies
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Bart Barber 
Pastor
First Baptist Church of Famersville

Bruce Frank 
Senior Pastor
Biltmore Baptist Church

Bruce Riley Ashford 
Provost
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Bryan Carter 
Pastor
Concord Church

Bryan Chapell 
Senior Pastor
Grace Presbyterian Church

Bryan Loritts 
Pastor of Preaching and Mission
Trinity Grace Church, Kainos Movement

Bryant Wright 
Senior Pastor
Johnson Ferry Baptist Church

Carmen Fowler LaBerge 
President
Presbyterian Lay Committee

Christine Hoover 
Author

Christopher Yuan 
Speaker, Author, Bible Teacher

Clint Pressley 
Pastor & Former VP of SBC
Hickory Grove Baptist Church

Collin Hansen 
Editorial Director
The Gospel Coalition

D.A. Carson 
Research Professor of NT
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

D.A. Horton 

Daniel Darling 
Vice-President of Communications
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Daniel Patterson 
Chief of Staff
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Danny Akin 
President
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

David E. Prince
Assistant Professor of Christian Preaching
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

David French 
National Review

David Jeremiah
Senior Pastor
Shadow Mountain Community Church

David S. Dockery 
President
Trinity International University/Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

David Platt 
President
International Mission Board

David Uth 
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Orlando

Dean Inserra 
Lead Pastor
City Church, Tallahassee

Dennis Rainey 
President
Family Life Today

Eric Teetsel 
Executive Director
Manhattan Declaration

Erwin W. Lutzer 
Senior Pastor
The Moody Church

Fred Luter 
Pastor
Franklin Avenue Baptist Church

Gabriel Salguero 
President
National Latino Evangelical Coalition

H.B. Charles Jr.
Pastor-Teacher
Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church

Heath Lambert
Executive Director
Association of Certified Biblical Counselors

Hunter Baker 
Associate Professor of Political Science; Dean of Instruction
Union University

James MacDonald 
Pastor
Harvest Bible Chapel

J.P. Moreland 
Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
Biola University

J.D. Greear 
Pastor
The Summit Church

J.I. Packer 
Board of Governors’ Professor, Theology
Regent College

Jason Allen 
President
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Jeff Iorg
President
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary

Jim Daly 
President
Focus on the Family

Jimmy Scroggins 
Lead Pastor
Family Church, West Palm Beach

John Bradosky 
Presiding Bishop
North American Lutheran Church

John Stonestreet 
Speaker and Fellow
The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview

Johnny Hunt 
Pastor
First Baptist Church of Woodstock

Jonathan Leeman 
Editorial Director
9Marks

Juan R. Sanchez, Jr. 
Senior Pastor
High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, Texas

Justin Taylor 

Karen Swallow Prior 
Fellow, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Convention Fellow
Professor of English, Liberty University

Ken Whitten 
Senior Pastor
Idlewild Baptist Church

Kevin DeYoung
Senior Pastor
University Reformed Church

Kevin Ezell 
President
North American Mission Board

Kevin Smith 
Teaching Pastor
Highview Baptist Church

Mark Dever 
Senior Pastor
Capitol Hill Baptist Church

Marvin Olasky 
Editor-in-chief
WORLD Magazine

Matt Carter 
Pastor of Preaching and Vision
The Austin Stone Community Church

Matt Chandler 
Senior Pastor
The Village Church

Matthew Lee Anderson 
Lead Writer
Mere Orthodoxy

Mike Cosper
Pastor of Worship and Arts
Sojourn Community Church

Mike Glenn 
Senior Pastor
Brentwood Baptist Church

Naghmeh Abedini 

Nancy Leigh DeMoss 
Revive our Hearts

Nathan Lino 
Lead Pastor
Northeast Houston Baptist Church

Owen Strachan
President
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

Paul Nyquist 
President and CEO
Moody Bible Institute

Phillip Bethancourt 
Executive Vice President
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

R. Albert Mohler, Jr. 
President
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Ramon Osorio 
Hispanic National Church Mobilizer
North American Mission Board

Randy Alcorn 
Director
Eternal Perspectives Ministries

Ray Ortlund 
Lead Pastor
Immanuel Nashville

Richard D. Land
President
Southern Evangelical Seminary

Richard Mouw 
Professor of Faith and Public Life
Fuller Seminary

Robert Sloan 
President
Houston Baptist University

Roger Spradlin 
Senior Pastor
Valley Baptist Church, Bakersfield, CA

Ron Sider 
Senior Distinguished Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry, and Public Policy
Palmer Seminary at Eastern University

Ronnie Floyd 
President, Southern Baptist Convention
Senior Pastor, Cross Church

Rosaria Butterfield 
Author and Speaker

Russell Moore 
President
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Sam Storms 
Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision
Bridgeway Church

Samuel W. "Dub" Oliver 
President
Union University

Samuel Rodriguez 
President
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Thomas White 
President
Cedarville University

Timothy George 
Dean and Professor of Divinity
Beeson Divinity School

Todd Wagner 
Senior Pastor
Watermark Church

Tommy Nelson Sr.
Pastor
Denton Bible Church

Tony Evans
Senior Pastor
Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship

Tony Merida 
Pastor for Preaching
Imago Dei Church

Tory Baucum 
Rector
Truro Anglican Church

Trillia Newbell 
Director of Community Outreach
The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Trip Lee
Rapper, Author, Pastor

Vance Pitman 
Senior Pastor
Hope Church, Las Vegas, NV