Chutzpah and the Supreme Court

June 29, 2015

Dr. Paige Patterson | President
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

**This article was originally posted HERE and is used by permission.

“He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall have them in derision.  Then He will speak to them in His wrath and distress them in His deep displeasure” (Psalm 2:4-5).

A five-to-four decision of the nation’s highest court to redefine the nature of marriage plays with far more than a definition of terms.  Homosexual sin, like my sin and your sin, has a long history.  But seldom has anyone had the chutzpah to assume such authority as to deny the authority of the God of all law, trash the Genesis creation order, and plunge a country into a dark abyss.  New Testament Christianity has never sought to invade the private domains of individuals with a series of legal mandates.  Ours is to love all women and men and faithfully disseminate the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to all who will hear.  We grieve when some do not hear, but we grant them the right inherent in their humanity to chart a course far from that revealed by the Lord.

But today’s anticipated decision is a decision of five people in a country of millions to call something right that God has already called wrong. Isaiah noted “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness…” (Isaiah 5:20).  A dark day overtakes us when the supreme court of the land empties the meaning from a concept that God has given.  The mischief that will emerge from this ruling across the years to come will know little respite and trigger enormous suffering for believers and unbelievers alike.

What then are Christians to do in light of this ruling?  First, knowing the inevitability of the judgment of God on those who flaunt His laws, we must love and earnestly pray for all who stand ripe for the judgment of God.  This includes the justices who ruled so crassly.  Many prayed for us in our rebellion against God.  We must not do less for them.  Second, anything that resembles gay-bashing must be foreign to our behavior and speech.  Every sin has its deep consequences, some more than others.  Breach of God’s ethic for marriage is especially odious to believers attempting to rear children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord, but this does not alter the obligation we carry to meet human needs wherever we encounter them and share the saving Gospel of Jesus with all. Third, we must cultivate understanding for weaker brethren who will succumb to the enormous pressures that will inevitably come upon all who resist the Supreme Court mandate.  This does not mean that we agree with them, but it does suggest that we comprehend human frailty and know that God is able to forgive that also. 

Fourth, we must not bend on the issues.  God says that adultery is wrong and that divorce is wrong.  To abuse a child is clearly contrary to God’s will and purpose.  Homosexual behavior is no different and is called sin in Scripture.  Nor can evangelicals perform weddings for same-sex couples, and the church must be prepared to proceed with an ordered and loving church discipline for those who refuse to correct any lifestyle violating the clear teachings of God’s word. All sinners will continue to be welcome in our services and will be the objects of our kindness and grace.  But under no circumstances will we alter our preaching or practice to conform to the dictates of a human court.

The critical issue that many recognize is the future of religious liberty.  This nation’s founding fathers fought to guarantee that liberty, and we are prepared to suffer in order to preserve that most precious of all freedoms.  In fact, without religious liberty, people are not really free at all.  The struggle to maintain that which our forefathers fought to provide now begins.  Whatever the cost, stay true to God’s word.  With heaviness of heart we acknowledge that we are now facing such exigencies.  With gratitude to God, we accept the opportunity, when necessary, to suffer for Him.


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doug sayers

Thank you Dr Patterson and SBC Today.

While I certainly agree with this article and offer my “amen”, we are going to have to do a better job of defining “anything that resembles gay bashing”. To the unbelieving and weak, this article IS gay bashing hate speech. To name homosexuality (or any other sin), as a sin, is a personal attack to those committed to the lifestyle. But silence is not an option. Like Daniel, his 3 friends, John the Baptist, Paul, and a long list of others, we should be humble and respectful but unflinching in our conduct and speech when it comes to going into all the world and teaching them to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

All this is nothing new… just more of it. The mamby- pamby and lukewarm professing Christian is in the Devil’s crosshairs. He intends to separate them from their faith and he has the sword of the civil magistrate as never before in the USA.

Indeed: “Whatever the cost, stay true to God’s Word.”


    The “gay bashing” line should probably be drawn where the Scriptures may offend, but we do not. Something that certainly needs to be settled for each of us.


      The best Christian approach is not to attack the sin and the sinner, but to affirm God’s truth in the matter.

Jim P

2 Timothy 3:1-9 was written almost 2,000 years ago and God’s people continue to be surprised by the course of this world? How many more years will it be for those who claim to know God to know the fight they’ve been in since Pentecost?

    Kyle Gulledge

    Good morning Jim,
    Thanks for commenting. I do not speak for Dr. Patterson, but I would like to respond to your comment. You ask (in a nutshell) why are Christians surprised by the courts decision? Your point of view is–since this is a sinful world it is going to act and respond in a sinful way, or a contra-biblical way. To this point I agree–but it still shocks and surprises me. Let me ask you a question. When 9/11 happened did it upset you? Make you mad? Surprise you? Did you have any kind of emotional response? If yes to any of these–why? I mean, they are sinful terrorists. Blowing things up is just what they do. How else would you expect such a sinful group to act?

    I say all of this (with exaggeration intended) to show that even though I know this is a sinful world in which we live–the SCOTUS decision still shocked me, made me sick to my stomach, and broke my heart. Not because I was expecting a non-Christian government to act in a Christian way, but because I never thought I would see the day when this happened in my lifetime and I know there are further implications for believers and the local church. Jesus wept over Jerusalem–why would He do such a thing? Because the sinfulness broke His heart…


      “… I never thought I would see the day when this happened in my lifetime …”

      Interesting that you should use those words, Jonathan. I just said pretty much the same thing to some folks! I’m an old guy at probably 2X your age. When I was a kid picking cotton in SE Missouri, if you had told me that it would be legal in America to kill babies in the womb and that Bible reading and prayer would be removed from schools and the public arena, I would have said “No way; I’ll never live to see anything like that in our great nation!” And if you had told me that the highest court in this country would one day redefine marriage, which they had never defined or designed in the first place, I would have stood in utter amazement with another “No way!!”

      What’s next? How much further will we slip into moral decay, before God’s people heed the commands of 2 Chronicles 7:14. Actually, I hear that verse quoted a lot these days. But no one wants to memorize 2 Chronicles 7:13 … that’s where we are headed, unless we (the church) gets desperate enough to do the right thing. Vance Havner said it best “The tragedy of today is that the situation is desperate, but the saints are not.” America is a direct reflection of the apathetic (approaching apostate) condition of the American church. We (the church) has neglected a Supreme God; so a supreme court fills the gap. Southern Baptists are not the same people I knew when I was picking cotton. Does anyone else remember Wednesday night prayer meetings when the saints of God agonized over sin and lingered at the altar in tears to get God’s attention and listen to what He had to say. I truly believe that the proliferation of sin was hindered in many American communities by such intercession. Sadly, those prayer meetings have been canceled in many SBC churches for lack of interest. We are not desperate enough yet.



        Picking cotton? in SE MO? Uh oh….we might be related. lol. What part of SE MO? My Mama’s side of the family live in the Bootheel. My Grandfather grew cotton, as did my Uncles, until they switched over to soybeans and milo, and such. They don’t grow a lot of cotton, anymore. But, what town did you grow up in?



          Malden, Dunklin County. I’m old enough to remember public schools letting out for “Cotton Vacation” when the harvest was ready. The kids put their text books down and picked up cotton sacks for about 6 weeks to help local farmers. Hot and humid, back-breaking work on former swamp land. Most of those old cotton fields are now rice patties. Those were hard times, but good times. They were also days when Southern Baptists went to the fields white for harvest. We’ve lost our urgency to see souls saved, David.



            I know where Malden is. I’ve been to Malden. I’ve also been to Holcomb. My Mama and Dad have told me about the “Cotton Vacation” days.

            Yes, sadly, I’m afraid you are right about Churches losing their passion and urgency for winning souls.


      Jim P

      Hello Jonathan,

      Thank you for addressing my comment.
      I hope it would challenge believers to know the world they live in, truly. Truth is though, the crucifixion more than any other crime exposed sin in the world for what it is. If that is not enough for anyone to get them think deeply about this painful, contradictory, and hurting world, believer or not, nothing will be enough will get their attention.

      I was entering a court house with my wife ‘to be’ to get our marriage license on 9/11.



      “I say all of this (with exaggeration intended) to show that even though I know this is a sinful world in which we live–the SCOTUS decision still shocked me, made me sick to my stomach, and broke my heart.”

      Something that should make all citizens sick to their stomachs whether Christian or not is the fact that 9 UNELECTED judges legislated NEW LAW. The SC is to interpret law not make law.

      They declared A NEW CIVIL RIGHT that has not been through Congress. This is the new Oligarchy. A Congress that does not want to touch it for election reasons but is where we must have the debate and expect our representatives to represent us. Yes, it would be messy and divisive. Welcome to what is supposed to be our system. Everyone celebrating this “victory” seem to be totally ignorant of what this really means. I realize it is not new for the SC and this is not the first time as there was a such disaster with Dred Scott and Roe. Something similar cannot happen again? Really? People are walking right into this disaster of the court MAKING law. Dangerous stuff. The stuff Oligarchies are made of.

      I am not interested in a theocracy and I do not expect America to be a Christian nation. However, we have a system of governing (by the people) that has been totally ignored and that is dangerous ground we are conceding.

Becky (Miller) Dalton

Dr. Patterson,

It was not lost on me that you did not capitalize supreme court. Thank you for being a Godly man and thank you for all that you do for Southern Baptists.

Becky (Miller) Dalton
Progeny of Eldridge


    Yes, Becky. There is only one truly “Supreme” Court. Dr. Patterson’s opening Scripture speaks to His jurisdiction and His righteous judgment.



What’s next?

“Next” is they have to be right and we have to be wrong. Legalizing same sex marriage is only the beginning. Now that the courts recognize their rights, it won’t be enough. They expect the world to accept that their marriages and/or relationships are just as natural as ours. God’s word says otherwise.

They say they want to be treated equally. Okay. Now, when their marriages don’t work out, they will have to file for a legal divorce. Yes, there was a huge spike recently in marriage licenses being issued, but I suspect there will be a huge spike in divorce cases as well in the near future because these “normal” relationships won’t last long (most change partners like I change motor oil). “Next” we will see our first homosexual alimony. And worst, our first homosexual child support. This saddens me the most.

What are the odds of the children coming from gay relationships being raised in the fear of the Lord? Not good. I can’t see a gay family attending church. At least a “church” which proclaims that homosexuality is an abomination in the sight of God. And what do these same children do when it is “bring your Mom/Dad to school day”?

Will a time come when gay marriage is not frowned upon? Probably. Christians are slowly diminishing in numbers. By natural attrition, a day will come will not many will be left on earth. Does this surprise us? Shouldn’t. The Bible says so. The good news for the few that are left is they will one day be raptured up to the Lord.

The really sad part is if the gay community thinks Christians are intolerant, just wait when the Muslims take over. Only then will the gay community really understand intolerance.

Should we be surprised by the court’s ruling? As believers the answer should be “no”. Maybe we are surprised it came last week, or even in our life time, but we knew the day was coming, even if just around the corner.

However, the King is coming back to set up His kingdom. It will happen. And those who enjoy this kind of lifestyle won’t be allowed to enter the kingdom. Until then, the worst is yet to come. Right now, our goal as believers is to preach Paul’s gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection. Our goal is not to prepare people for the coming kingdom, but rather to preach the message of reconciliation as a means to escape the coming wrath of God on an unbelieving world.

Come, Lord Jesus.

PS. I didn’t add scriptural support for a lot of the above, but as my brothers and sisters in Christ, I take comfort in knowing you know what book, chapter, and verse applies.

God bless.

Dennis L. Dabney

The local church is not without blame in this connection. We have had enough time since the canon was entrusted to our care, to agree as to “What is biblical marriage”? We have had enough time to answer the question “Is marriage a covenant”?

While the world was watching and taking notes, we’ve proceeded to trade in our first wives like used pickup trucks and cheap cars in the name of Jesus. Church splits, not a few, have come about concerning the role of women and yes, marriage, divorce and re-marriage. Believe it or not, these two subjects have a great deal in common besides, “em fightin” words in this overall discussion. Believe it or not, many of those who currently have an opposing view of scripture, remember male leadership in the ordained offices in the local assemblies during their youth only to see “new church” and something totally different as an adult.

Listen, many of the men who made great contributions in my ministry and “yours” had and still have a very liberal view of scriptural marriage. In the black community where I serve to reach “all nations,” there’s a great premium placed on the “black family”, however, when it comes to biblical marriage, not so much. The same could be said, and should be said of most communities in our society today as marriage is “dreaded” as a last resort in life.


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