That I may gain Christ and be found in him (Philippians 3:8–9).
Dave Ramsey, one of the most popular financial advisers working in media today, is a committed evangelical Christian. As a result, his company, Ramsey Solutions, seeks to govern itself by biblical guidelines.
Now, according to USA Today, the company is facing a federal lawsuit filed by a former employee who accuses the company of discriminating against her when she was fired after company executives learned she was pregnant and unmarried.
Kent Greenfield, a professor of constitutional law and corporate governance at Boston College, frames the issue: “You’ve got this inevitable tension and conflict between a broadening engine of equality and the right to be free from discrimination. On the other side, there’s this First Amendment theory that’s increasingly attentive to the rights of individuals and companies.”
The question is both simple and profound: Do Christians have the same right to free speech as “sexual freedom” advocates? What do we do when each side accuses the other of discrimination? When religious liberty conflicts with sexual liberty, who wins?
In the court of public opinion, the issue has already been decided. In one survey, by age forty-four, 95 percent of Americans had had sex before marriage, even though studies show that those who wait to have sex until marriage report significantly higher relationship satisfaction and less consideration of divorce. And 71 percent of Americans now believe same-sex marriages should be valid while 28 percent disagree, an almost mirror image of our views in 1996, when only 27 percent were supportive of such marriages while 68 percent were opposed.
Will our laws and courts follow suit?
“When promiscuity is the fashion”
The prophet lamented the sinfulness of his people: “Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city! She listens to no voice; she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lᴏʀᴅ; she does not draw near to her God” (Zephaniah 3:1–2). He continued: “Her officials within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves that leave nothing till the morning” (v. 3). Even worse, “Her prophets are fickle, treacherous men; her priests profane what is holy; they do violence to the law” (v. 4).
Why would officials, judges, prophets, and priests reject God’s word and will in this way? Could it be that the rebellion of the people influenced those who were supposed to be influencing the people?
We could anticipate such a response in a democracy where our leaders are elected to represent the people who elect them. If a so-called “sexual revolution” becomes popular in society, for example, we can expect our laws over time to reflect that revolution. The legalization of no-fault divorce in 1969, abortion in 1973, and same-sex marriage in 2015 are obvious examples.
But there is more to the story.
In an essay titled “The Inner Ring,” C. S. Lewis identified the lure of seeking to be part of the “people who know,” whatever that circle might be. He called this desire “one of the great permanent mainsprings of human action” which “go to make up the world as we know it.”
And, as he observed, “When promiscuity is the fashion, the chaste are outsiders.”
As LGBTQ ideology becomes more culturally accepted, the temptation to be included with popular society will only increase, especially for younger people. The embrace of such ideology in our laws and courts will amplify this pressure. Those of us who affirm and defend biblical morality will increasingly be “outsiders.”
How should we respond?
The gift of Christmas points the way.
“The immortal One for those who are mortal”
The “Letter to Diognetus” was written in the second or third century. The unnamed author reminds us of God’s gift to us in Christ: “He gave his own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for those who are mortal.”
The cost of such grace to our Lord calls us to worship and serve its Giver, whatever the cost to ourselves.
Jesus’ first disciples left their boats and nets to follow him (Matthew 4:18–22). Matthew left his tax collectors’ booth with its lucrative income and Roman protection to follow him (Matthew 9:9–13). The apostles risked and eventually gave their lives to preach his gospel (cf. Acts 5:29). Paul typified their commitment, testifying: “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him” (Philippians 3:8–9).
From the shepherds who attended his birth to the apostles who witnessed his return to heaven, all who experienced the living Lord Jesus were moved to share what they knew so others could know their Lord. Oswald Chambers was right: “The idea is not that we do work for God, but that we are so loyal to him that he can do his work through us.”
“Let Thy glorious light shine ever on my sight”
Six centuries ago, the Italian poet Bianco da Siena prayed:
Come down, O love divine, seek Thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with Thine own ardor glowing.
O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
And kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.
O let it freely burn, til earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let Thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
The living Lord Jesus wants nothing less for your soul today.