Religious leader warns of 'deception of inclusiveness' on same-sex marriage

by Gregory Tomlin, |
Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd gives the president's address July 16 during the opening session of the SBC annual meeting at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. | Photo by Matt Miller/Baptist Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Christian Examiner) – Southern Baptists will not bow and they will not be silent on same-sex marriage, Southern Baptist Convention president Ronnie Floyd told the annual gathering of Southern Baptists in Columbus, Ohio, June 16.

Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in Springdale, Ark., and now re-elected to a second term as president of the 15.5 million-member denomination, said it is time for Christians in general, and Southern Baptists in particular, to "stand believing that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime."

"We have believed this and do believe this, and I believe will continue to believe this as a convention of churches. We stand for biblical and traditional marriage. As Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said, 'This definition (of traditional marriage) has been with us for millennia. And it's very difficult for the court to say, 'Oh well, we know better.'"

The Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling in Obergfell v. Hodges at the end of its session in June. The high court is weighing if the Fourteenth Amendment grants a right of same-sex marriage to homosexuals and whether the same amendment requires a state without same-sex marriage laws to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states that allow the practice.

Floyd said the member churches of the Southern Baptist Convention "could not agree more with those words. We do not need to redefine what God has defined already. This is a Bonhoeffer moment for every pastor in America."

Floyd was referencing German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who led the German Confessing Church in opposition to the rule of Adolf Hitler in World War II. Bonhoeffer was imprisoned and later hung by the Nazis for his opposition.

"While some evangelicals may be bowing down to the deception of the inclusiveness of same sex union or marriage in their churches, we will not bow down, nor will we be silent," Floyd said.

"We believe the Scripture is authoritative in all things and to say it permits such activity is a denial of its authenticity, infallibility, and authority regarding marriage and everything else. Therefore, we will hold up and lift up the Bible as God's authoritative truth on marriage."

Floyd called on messengers to the Convention to approve a resolution that affirms what Southern Baptists believe about marriage and calls member churches to stand for truth. He said, however, the resolution will also remind Southern Baptists of the obligation to love their neighbors and respect all people, "even those who disagree with us on this pivotal issue."

"While we affirm our love for all people, including those struggling with same-sex attraction, we cannot and will not affirm any behavior that deviates from God's design for marriage. Our first commitment is to God and His Word, nothing else, and no one else," Floyd said.

Floyd said he and thousands of other pastors cannot and will not officiate any same-sex marriage ceremonies.

"The Supreme Court is not the final authority nor is the culture itself, but the Bible is God's final authority about marriage and on this we stand," Floyd said.