Letter to Veritas Regarding the SCOTUS Decision
This letter was released to Veritas Community Church members from Lead Pastor Nick Nye and the elder council at the beginning of July.
Veritas is a unique church filled with people from all backgrounds, and with the SCOTUS decision this week I have seen social media posts riddled with joy and fear. The debate is a complex one, and even more complex is how we, Veritas, as a Jesus-centered, biblical church should navigate our lives into the future.
The temptation for us is to either panic or praise the decision, but because Jesus is still in charge of his church today and forever, is there a way to move forward humbly, lovingly and biblically?
This letter will give a brief response to Veritas Community Church. Not to everyone in evangelical Christianity—that’s too much, but to the church in which God is holding me accountable along side the ten other Veritas pastors.
First, for those who may be tempted to panic, keep calm and carry on. The mission of the gospel continues while pastors are not being forced to carry out the covenantal ceremonies against their convictions and the church is still a place of freedom to make these decisions according to their convictions. Instead of stressing and clamoring for the good-old days, step back and remember the history of Christianity. Christianity has thrived when the culture has bucked biblical norms. This is our chance to stand out as aliens, to live as citizens of another world. Today, you can display the gospel in your context and your LGBTQ friends can watch you live it out in love and peace.
Second, for those that praise the decision. It is a beautiful thing to see many feel the joy of this freedom in the eyes of the law but as followers of Christ we must remember that true freedom is never found in sexuality. As Christians, we must look beyond setting ourselves upon the identity-foundation as LGBTQ or married, but to set ourselves upon a rock that is Christ Jesus. The SCOTUS ruling on marriage does allow for couples of the same sex to marry but soon many of those marriages will discover what sadly, Christians have been slow to discover—that freedom, peace and happiness are not found in any marriage but only in Christ Jesus. You must continue to point to Jesus as the truer and better judge who rules with fairness and provides freedom.
As a church family, we under the leadership of the Veritas pastor counsel affirm that God has created the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman. Outside of any definition created by the state, our conviction comes to us from the bible and its historical interpretations (Genesis 2; Matthew 19:4-5; Mark 10:6-8; Ephesians 5:22-33). We know that the God-ordained earthly marriage covenant is mysterious as it is a reflection of Jesus’ love for his bride, the church. Both Ephesians 5 and Revelation 21 affirms that marriages purpose is to point us to this greater reality. Therefore, marriage is not a peripheral issue but an issue of the gospel.
With all of that stated, I want to offer three pieces of practical wisdom moving froward as a church family.
1- Listen! You will be tempted to create soundbites and post whatever pops into your head when you should take some time to listen to others. It is no time for name calling, feeding the internet monster or simply defriending disagreers. Those who oppose the decision will be tempted to blame a biased media or progressives, while those who praise the decision will be tempted to shout “hate-filled bigot” to any dissenter. We live in a culture that sensationalizes our opinions rather than slowly and deliberately carrying on conversations in love. Listen to one another.
2- Engage! My hope is that this decision will cause us as a church to engage in two ways. First, we, Veritas will in engage with the Bible more. Veritas was founded on trusting in the beauty and authority of scripture. The worldview of American Christians is more akin to Modern Family than it is to the Bible. This must change! Engage in the Bible by looking up passages that deal with homosexuality, marriage, and God’s purposes behind them. Dig into commentaries, historical views and even the original languages. Instead of blindly downloading our cultural worldview, engage with God’s Word.
Secondly, we must engage in relationships with one another. As a straight, married, evangelical, baptist pastor, I have many gay and lesbian friends who I love and who love me. Our relationships with one another should lead us to engaging one another with more compassion and love. We don’t have to agree. But we must grow in engaging with one another where we are with the hope that we can all be conformed more and more into the image of Christ.
3- Carry On! My last piece of practical wisdom moving forward is that we would simply carry on. There is so much wrong in our world. My heart is heavy for the injustices of the Iraqi Christian beheadings, black men getting shot and women being pimped out in our city. There is too much brokenness in our world that we can easily become shocked and stunned by one more issue. But let us carry on, pointing to Jesus; let us carry on engaging the bible and one another just as if Jesus Christ was still alive reigning on his throne. Because He truly is.
As a final word I want to express how much I love Veritas! This church was started to love our city with humility and biblical conviction. I am amazed to see men in drag sit next to fundamentalist homeschool moms all struggling to understand Christianity. We are all on a journey and I believe Veritas can be that community that eats with sinners while upholding biblical convictions. We all need the saving grace of God’s gospel. We all need more than soundbites and sugar-coated answers. Let us seek the Lord together, even right now…
Prayer For Veritas:
We praise you and thank you for Veritas Community Church. A place where we can be transformed by the gospel, to transform our city with the gospel. A place of refuge for the outsider, the marginalized and the broken. We are all in need of something bigger than race, than sexuality, than status…we need you! Would you remind us from your word that you are the head of the church, you hold all things together, you are seated at the right hand of God ruling and reigning as our king. We are citizens of another world. A world in which “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, […] The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, […] for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:6-9) “Maranatha!” we cry—“Come, Lord Jesus!” Our world is in desperate need.
May your cross, Jesus, bind us together and set us on a path of Christ-likeness. May your Holy Spirit carry us along when we don’t know how to walk. Would you give us wisdom and unity according to your will? Would you set us on the rock, that is Jesus Christ? Would Veritas continue to be a powerful testimony to your saving work for all people. In the name above all names, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
These Three Resources Represent Our Hearts On This Issue:
“Something Greater Than Love” by Christopher Yuan and Rosaria Butterfield
“But What Does the Bible Say?” by Kevin DeYoung
“Is God Anti-Gay?” by Sam Alberry
Nick Nye with the full elder counsel