Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Is gay marriage driving young evangelicals away from the church? This question is being discussed by many. One of the major concerns of those younger evangelicals who would answer in the affirmative is that they want to move away from the political emphasis.
In response, Denny Burk (“Could gay marriage debate drive young Christians from church?”), wisely and helpfully, raises a few issues to consider. I include some excerpts of his three points.
- Pastors need to beware of ‘politicizing’ the pulpit. Partisan politics should not shape the message of men who are called to preach the gospel. . . . Rank partisanship is one thing. But bringing the gospel to bear upon fundamental moral questions is another.
- Faithful pastors are going to preach the whole counsel of God, even when it offends people (2 Tim. 4:2). That means they will preach what the Bible says about sexual ethics. . . . Every sexual act outside of the covenanted union of one man and one woman in marriage is sin. That includes pre-marital sex, adultery, homosexuality, and more. [Some confuse] political preaching with preaching about sexual ethics. Both of them are controversial. The former should be avoided at all costs. The latter must be embraced at all costs.
- We shouldn’t evaluate Christian sexual ethics on the basis of how much they may or may not alienate people. We have to base our beliefs on what scripture teaches, not on what we think people may be offended by.
I appreciate Burk’s three points. I especially affirm one of his underlying principles: political preaching must be avoided at all costs; preaching about sexual ethics must be embraced at all costs.