Action Alert!

A Baptist leader with a message the Synod of Bishops should hear

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jun 30, 2015

Having read scores of essays, op-eds, and blog posts about the Obergefell decision, I keep coming back to this outstanding piece by Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s commission on ethics and religious liberty. Moore drives home the point that marriage will endure, and the Church will endure, because both are established by God, who is not subject to the velleities of Supreme Court justices.

That does not mean the cultural change wrought by last week’s decision will be painless, Moore warns; on the contrary. But in the end, “the Gospel doesn’t need ‘family values’ to flourish." More fundamentally, Moore says: “The Supreme Court can do many things, but the Supreme Court cannot get Jesus back in that tomb.” Amen.

The Baptist leader suggests that in the troubled times that lie ahead, the Church should be a guide and a haven for healthy families. He notes: “Permanent, stable marriages with families with both a mother and a father may well make us seem freakish in 21st-century culture.”

Pray that the Synod of Bishops gets that vital message! Yes, by all means, reach out to people in irregular unions. But the top priority for the Church must be to help ordinary families stay intact, at a time when so many forces batter against them.

Russell Moore makes another important point that should be discussed at the October meeting of the Synod. Family breakdown doesn’t “just happen;” in the real world (as opposed to the court of law) there’s no such thing as no-fault divorce. Individuals are responsible, and Church leaders should hold them accountable. Moore writes:

Too often we’ve neglected church discipline in the cases of those who have unrepentantly destroyed their marriages. We must repent of our failings and picture to the world what marriage is meant to be, and keep the light lit to the old paths.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: feedback - Jul. 02, 2015 7:45 AM ET USA

    Insightful observasion, "We must prepare for those, like the sexually wayward Woman at the Well of Samaria, who will be thirsting for water of which they don’t even know. There are two sorts of churches that will not be able to reach the sexual revolution’s refugees. A church that has given up on the truth of the Scriptures (...) and has nothing to say to a fallen world. And a church that screams with outrage at those who disagree will have nothing to say to those who are looking for a new birth

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Jul. 01, 2015 2:27 PM ET USA

    I can't remember the last time I heard the message of repentance being proclaimed. If I had to depend on information from the pulpit, and even from evangelizing groups, including but not restricted to "Catholics Come Home," I would never have known that there was a (difficult but possible) way to return to the Sacraments. One apostolate referred to such a call as "plowing new ground." How can you respond to the Gospel if you've never heard it?

  • Posted by: fwhermann3492 - Jul. 01, 2015 12:09 PM ET USA

    Excellent advice by Rev. Moore. I really believe that to transform the broader culture we need to cooperate with our Evangelical brethren. We obviously won't agree on everything, but we can set our differences aside to work toward a common goal and become a cultural force to be reckoned with. (I'm thinking something even bigger and badder than Jerry Falwell's moral majority was in the '70s & '80s). May God raise up leaders for us who can deliver us out of this Babylonian exile.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Jun. 30, 2015 5:59 PM ET USA

    In talking (routinely) to folks married 50, 60 and 70+ years I have yet to hear there were no problems, nor have I ever NOT heard the sobering reflection "there were tough times". Even the spouse who reported they didn't go to sleep at night -ever- without holding hands reported times that "weren't easy." I tell them they are exceptional folks, and they seem to know it. They seem to know that theirs is the stuff of legend. May we with Christ's help "keep the light lit to the old paths."