MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (Christian Examiner) -- John Piper, founder and teacher of Desiringgod.org , in a blog post reacting to the Supreme Court's ruling on the legalization of same-sex marriage, noted homosexuality and the celebration of it are not new, but the institutionalization of it is.
"My reason for writing is to help the church feel the sorrow of these days. And the magnitude of the assault on God and his image in man," he wrote. "My sense is that we do not realize what a calamity is happening around us.
Piper served for 30 years as senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church and is chancellor of Minneapolis-based Bethlehem College and Seminary.
Writing that the Court's decision amounted to a willful approval of sin as discussed in Romans 1:32, he said: "Homosexual behavior has been exploited, and reveled in, and celebrated in art, for millennia. What's new is normalization and institutionalization. This is the new calamity."
Stating the Bible is not silent about such decisions, Piper continued: "Sin carries in it its own misery: 'Men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error' (Romans 1:27).
"Christians know what is coming, not only because we see it in the Bible, but because we have tasted the sorrowful fruit of our own sins. We do not escape the truth that we reap what we sow," he stated.
Commenting that even churches feel the consequences of sin, he said, "The difference is: We weep over our sins. We don't celebrate them. We don't institutionalize them. We turn to Jesus for forgiveness and help. We cry to Jesus, 'who delivers us from the wrath to come' (1 Thessalonians 1:10).'
"In our best moments, we weep for the world, and for our own nation . . . That is why I am writing . . . love for the name of God and compassion for the city of destruction" he continued.
Piper did not leave out the love of Christ in his discussion. Citing 1 Corinthians 6:11, Piper said Jesus "offers astonishing mercy" to anyone who has traded God's plan for sexual fulfillment of one man and one woman in marriage for any type of sexual sin. "Jesus died so that heterosexual and homosexual sinners might be saved," he said.
Canadian Carey Nieuwhof, lead pastor of Connexus Church in Barrie, Ontario, Canada where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2005, also noted the importance of addressing all types of sexual sin in his blog post offering advice to American church leaders.
"If you believe gay marriage is not God's design, you're really dealing with the same issue you've been dealing with all along—sex outside of its God-given context. At least be consistent...humbly address all forms of sex outside of marriage," he wrote.
Nieuwhof said, "I write from the perspective of a pastor of an evangelical church in a country where same sex marriage has been the law of the land for a decade. That does not mean I hold any uniquely deep wisdom, but it does mean we've had a decade to process and pray over the issue. I hope what I offer can help. It's my perspective," he wrote.
The Canadian pastor advised Americans to remember that Christianity has been counter-cultural for most of history and should continue to be: "All your views as a Christian are counter-cultural and always will be. If your views are cultural, you're probably not reading the scriptures closely enough. We're at our best when we offer an alternative, not just a reflection of a diluted or hijacked spirituality."
He further suggested his American counterparts avoid shock when non-Christians depart from biblical principles.
"Most people today are not pretending to be Christians. So why would they adopt Christian values or morals? I'm a pastor. I completely believe that Jesus is not only the Way but that God's way is the best way. I do everything I personally can to align my life with the teachings of scripture, and I'm passionate about helping every follower of Christ do the same.
"But what's the logic behind judging people who don't follow Jesus for behaving like people who don't follow Jesus? Why would you hold the world to the same standard you hold the church?" Nieuwhof asked.
Commenting that the apostle Paul never asked government leaders he encountered to change the laws, Nieuwhof closed by cautioning against judgment of homosexuals and Christian dependence on government for social change.
"Take a deep breath. You were saved by grace. Your sins are simply different than many others. And honestly, in many respects, they are the same. People don't line up to be judged. But they might line up to be loved," he said. "So love people. Especially the people with whom you disagree.
"Those are a few of the things I've learned and I'm struggling with. The dialogue is not easy when culture is changing and people who sincerely love Jesus sincerely disagree," Nieuwhof wrote.
"I think there's more hope than there is despair for the future. The radical ethic of grace and truth found in Jesus is more desperately needed in our world today than ever before," he said.
"Is the path crystal clear? No. But rather than being a set back, perhaps this can move the church yet another step closer to realizing its true mission."