**Information for more in-depth explanation of the legal issues surrounding the amendment can be found below**

A very important amendment is being considered this week by people in our state and I thought it was vital that I respond on behalf of our church and the elders. At Vision Church, we try to avoid politics because it can be extremely divisive, however there are times when politics address issues that the bible is clear about and this is one of those times.

The separation of church and state is a cultural idea and not a biblical one, in fact the gospel demands that we run toward culture (good and bad) and not away from it. While we never want to exalt politics or political figures whenever something instituted by God is attempted to be redefined we think it’s important to respond.

I believe this is another one of those moments in history.

Marriage is a God-designed, God-created and God-upheld institution, given by God as a blessing to humanity. The government did not define or establish marriage; God did. Governments merely recognize that which has been established by God and they (governments) do not have eternal power.

Marriage is one of God’s greatest blessings and it has always been defined by the union of one man and one woman. We see this in the beginning of the bible and throughout history. Until recently, about 40 years ago this idea has always been upheld, but in recent trends God, the bible, and the existence of God and his decrees have been challenged. Many want to submit God’s word to culture and hip trends, but it’s vital that those of us that claim Christ realize that the word of God isn’t subject to culture, in fact it transforms and redeems cultures. In light of this reality I want to encourage you to vote for this amendment out of love for our neighbors and for God’s truth. I realize some of you may not see it this way in fact you may think that this is hatred. I realize that legislation ultimately will not stop two men or two women from sleeping with each other, but that doesn’t negate the reality of how marriage is defined and what God’s word says. In no way do I or any of our leaders affirm hatred, abuse, or ostracism of homosexuals and upholding God’s truth doesn’t mean that we should treat them negatively or as less than human. The bible demands that we uphold truth, even when that truth is offensive to some.

While we affirm this amendment, we also understand that there are some elements of disagreement; the issue of homosexuality is not up for discussion though, homosexuality is clearly a sin against God’s will along with other things that heterosexual couples do. This isn’t about placing one sin above the other, but this is about standing for what God’s word says about how marriage is defined. We understand that some believers may disagree on the helpfulness of this amendment and that’s understandable.

Lastly we believe that God loves all sinners and that would include homosexuals, the reality is that even some members of Vision Church struggle with same-sex attraction and are being accountable and transparent by pursuing discipleship. Jesus died for all sinners and He desires to free us from sin, He doesn’t desire that we affirm sin. I hope that this sheds some light for you and I realize that some of you would have rather us not say anything, but that’s just not our position, we want to humbly engage cultural issues through the lens of the gospel and we’re also willing to repent and apologize when we blow it.

As we do with the word we encourage you to do some reading before you vote, but be sure to vote, you can find some helpful information here: http://www.brnow.org/Resources/Marriage-amendment and here: http://www.brnow.org/Opinions/Guest-Columns/May-2012/What-will-the-Marriage-Amendment-do.aspx

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