The Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision is only three days old and already there are calls to end the tax exemption not just for religious schools, but for churches as well.
Even before the Supreme Court concocted a constitutional right to gay marriage, American religious liberty was being systematically undermined. There were widespread efforts to exclude orthodox Christian organizations from American colleges and universities, occasional attempts to literally coerce Christians into voicing support for homosexual conduct, and well-known efforts to destroy businesses that aren’t willing to participate in gay weddings.
All of this is worrisome, and all of it should be resisted, but none of it represents an existential threat to the church. The only real threat is surrender — caving to the cultural, legal, and political forces demanding conformity. The church can and will survive persecution. It will not survive faithlessness. This is both a theological and historical truth. In previous pieces, I’ve amply documented the decline and fall of the Protestant Mainline, those churches — like the United Churches of Christ and the Presbyterian Church (USA) — that abandoned biblical orthodoxy decades ago, in the name of cultural relevance and “inclusion.” Some are declining so precipitously that they may cease to exist within a generation. Already we’re seeing similar signs of decline in those Evangelical churches that are abandoning biblical truth on questions of sex, family, and marriage.