I really don't know where to begin. I am numb. I sat in the car after the vote with Pastor George Tuten and we prayed together. When it was my turn to pray, I felt like I did not know what to say. I simply yielded to the Sovereignty of God who does all things well.
This battle has been a worthy one. It was right for 75 plus pastors to stand publicly against this Bill. I am glad that we invested the time to stand for the Lord. I am withholding words of judgment toward those pastors who did not come to stand. I am holding back words of zealous rebuke that I want to say. "Where were you?"...
When it really came down to it today, it really was about the Lord. I was surprisingly pleased that much of the conversation was about our Creator, our ultimate Judge, etc. Many of the Senators warned of answering to the Lord for this vote. Honestly, much of the conversation revolved around God. I was surprised and joyful that they still knew there was a God in Dover.
I have found that liberal legislators hide behind the pole numbers when they cast their vote, and conservatives vote their conscience (that may be a generality - but seemed true for this vote)
The testimony today was prophetic in many ways. Professional speakers and clergy warned of coming results of redefining marriage. It seemed that no one was listening. The warnings quoted from places like Massachusetts are grim.
Our churches District Senator (Hall-Long) came into the chamber at the very last minute. She saw me and two other pastors from her district and came straight across and spoke into my ear that she had made her decision two hours ago and was voting "for" the bill. Very upsetting. I pray that a candidates will rise up from one of the churches to take the senate and house seat of District 12.
It is hard to believe in my lifetime that we have come so far down as a nation. It is crazy to think that America is living Sodom and Gomorrah. We have pushed away God. We have thrown His Word to the sidelines. Believers have absorbed the perversion of Hollywood and Oprah.
The day is dark and I pray that it will stir believers in a mighty way. I have not been one of those pastors that constantly call for Revival - but we need that. Only God Almighty's mercy can save us now.
This battle did something else: it united conservative, Bible preaching Pastors. We will not stop fighting - in fact, I believe this joined the hearts of many leaders for Christ together in Delaware. God is worthy, and it is a joy and honor to stand for what He stands for. We hold the Book, the blood, and the blessed hope of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
We hope these simple notes will help other Pastors in the fight against the redefinition of marriage in their states.
Delaware Family Policy Council: Nicole Theis
Equality Delaware: Lisa Goodman
What we have done as a Church:
- Held special times of public prayer on the issue
- Informed the people in services, emails, passing information. Provided information to make it easy to get involved (De House and Senate phone numbers, Who their Senator is, etc.)
- Had the congregation sign petitions against the Marriage Equality Bill - presented it to our legislators
- Worked through an organization to make our efforts effective (Delaware Family Policy Council - is a Christian organization - but was the largest to rise up.
- Our pastors went to our capitol multiple times and spoke in House and Senate Committee meetings against the Bill (2 minute speeches - intimidating, but very important for the Record)
- Took van from our church to a Rally for Traditional Marriage at our Legislative Hall - disappointed that not more from our church came - people seem afraid or timid on the issue. (1000 people who showed up)
- Were a part of a Pastors Press Conference with 75 Pastors against the Bill.
- Really Encourage Churches to understand -- We are salt and Light - Matt 5 - the Salt has to purify where their is threat of corruption and the Light has to Shine in the Darkness -- YOU CAN’T DO THAT INSIDE YOUR LOCAL CHURCH - MUST GET OUT INTO THE WORLD!!!!!!
- Civil unions passed in April of 2011 with the promise that it was not a stepping stone toward gay marriage. Approx. 18 months later, gay marriage was introduced by the Gov. of De.
- Sunday, April 14, 2013: Collected 171 signed petitions addressed to our representatives and senators
- Wednesday, April 17: Testimony before the House committee; several Pastors spoke against; bill passed 4-1
- April 18: Rally at Legislative Hall; Pastor's press conference with 75 pastors present; many Pastors spoke against marriage equality; bill passed 23-18
- April 26: Glasgow Church posts and removes a sign opposing the Marriage Equality Act
- May 1: Testimony before the Senate committee; many Pastors spoke. passed to Senate 4-2
- May 7: Senate vote
Delaware would be the 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage, although other states recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Civil unions passed in April of 2011, Lisa Goodman and Equality Delaware assured the public that marriage was not on the table.
Civil unions give same-sex couples all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, without the name - however, this is a concession that is unbiblical and WILL NOT STOP THE THIRST FOR GAY APPROVAL for marriage dignity. The Gay community wants Dignity and Approval as much as rights. This is the real deal going on in their hearts.
Most of the arguments advanced by Gay Community are, heavily emphasize the dignity and respect desired by the LGBT community, and push the idea that opposing this bill will put you on the “wrong side” of history
Strategies / What we have learned
- Must get involved in the Election process - who you put into office is how they will vote. Strong Christian involvement definitely could change elections (many seats aren’t won by huge amount of voters.
- Develop strong relationships with your local representatives and senators so that you have more influence when it comes time to defend a Biblical position. (the De vote is down to our District Senator - we have a friendship and history with her and she is willing to listen to us personally (Meeting)
- This is a fight for APPROVAL, not acceptance - The Gay community mostly has acceptance in America - now they want “dignity, recognition, approval” --- Civil Unions are about getting “rights” - “Marriage is about getting “Approval and Dignity” from the Country. --- They use Civil Unions as a stepping stone. - (they will lie that they will not seek marriage bill - but they do)
- This is mostly Clergy Argument - the Gay Community uses lots of liberal clergy publicly to push their point - they create a god of their own desires (wants gays to love each other) - they never use Scripture. Pastors have to understand that they MUST be involved. Clergy are still the leading voice in Community for righteousness. Don’t “Marginalize” yourself by not getting involved.
- HB 75 promises protection for clergy not to have to perform gay ceremonies - but this is just a way to push concerned clergy out of the debate - it takes the view off of the immorality of the issue and makes gay marriage seem harmless.
- You must not advance secular arguments to the neglect of the primary argument, that same-sex marriage contradicts the Bible, both the Old and the New Testament.
- The leading opposition sort of encourages SECULAR arguments like “future children, statistics of infidelity in Gay couples, changing the definition, the impact on society, etc. - However this is really a matter of AUTHORITY. Who has the right to decide WHO can be married - ultimately that is God, the Creator of Marriage and the Judeo-Christian laws America was founded on.
- Beyond the express verses of Scripture in Matt. 19:4-6, Romans 1, etc. - Allowing Gay marriage is a violation marriage that is the object lesson of the GOSPEL (Big Point) - Eph. 5.
- It’s not inappropriate to stand against an immoral, unbiblical position alongside people with whom you may have doctrinal differences, or even those who are only involved from a secular perspective. Not compromise of Biblical doctrine - that is not in question. CONSERVATIVE CHURCHES NEED TO BE INVOLVED - in Civil Union Bill - less than 5 Pastors - We were 3 of them. House - several more Pastors became involved (more Conservative Pastors) - In Senate - about a dozen Conservative Pastors and about 75 total Pastors united.
- Be prepared to deal with this and if you don’t have one Strong Organization in your State to organize Rallys, speaking points, etc. - Create one
1. The Authority to define marriage and grant the right of marriage is not personal love, choice, public opinion, or government - it is God who is the creator of marriage and who speaks clearly in His word about his definition of marriage.
2.This is not a “civil rights” issue - Sexual choice is not the same as skin color. There is no scientific evidence of a Gay gene, etc., but are many testimonies of those that repented from homosexuality and changed. Sexual orientation is a Choice that can be changed. **Much of the black community takes offense to the Gay agenda comparing themselves to civil rights
3. Where is the stopping point if you redefine marriage? (Dr. Ben Carson’s Argument)-- If it is being redefined by 3% of the population, then what about including polygamy, bestiality, NAMBLA, etc.
4. The History of what is good for society - Marriage is given privileges by government because government recognizes that it is good for society. We have history and lots of data about the need for both a Mother and a Father in a home - Obama Fatherhood.gov gives the evidence for the Father’s presence --- Mere Quantity (2 of the same) does not substitute for that --- need both a Father and a Mother for a stong family, and a strong fabric of Society