Wednesday, July 8, 2015

SMR #161 Words of Encouragment

Smoky Mountain Reflections #161

            It is my desire in this reflection to encourage you, so this reflection will be a condensed version of two well-written articles by two men I highly respect; our synodical president the Reverend Dr. Matthew Harrison, and the Reverend Dr. Peter Scaer, a professor at Concordia Theological Seminary.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling……There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, 
….The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The LORD of hosts is with us; 
   the God of Jacob is our fortress (Psalm 46: selected verses).

“A one-person majority of the U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong – again. Some 40 years ago, a similarly activist court legalized the killing of children in the womb. That decision has to date left a wake of some 55 million Americans dead. Today, the Court has imposed same-sex marriage upon the whole nation… Now shall come the time of testing for Christians faithful to the Scriptures and the divine institution of marriage (Matthew 19:3–6), and indeed, a time of testing much more intense than what followed Roe v. Wade…
As faithful Christians, we shall continue to be obedient to just laws. We affirm the human rights of all individuals and the inherent and equal value of all people. We respect the divinely given dignity of all people, no matter their sexual preference. We recognize that, under the exacting and demanding laws of God, we are indeed sinners in thought, word and deed, just as are all (Romans 3:9ff.). We confess that the “blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all our sins” (1 John 1:7). We confess that God’s divine law of marriage and the entire Ten Commandments apply to all, and that so also the life-giving sacrifice of Christ on the cross is for all. It is a “righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3:22).
However, even as we struggle as a church to come to a unified response to this blatant rejection of the entire history of humankind and its practice of marriage, “We shall obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29). …God help us. Amen. Pastor Matthew C. Harrison”
For the full version of this letter I encourage you to visit

            The following discussion points concerning the sanctity of marriage and the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision were prepared by the Rev. Dr. Peter J. Scaer, associate professor of Exegetical Theology, Concordia Theological Seminary (CTSFW), Fort Wayne, Indiana.
1. The Supreme Court decision changes nothing about our Christian faith. There is still a higher court and Christ will be our final Judge. As Christians, we obey the government (Romans 13), but we recognize that our greatest allegiance is to God and His Word, and that in matters of conscience, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
            2. We continue to support one man one woman marriage, as it is taught in Genesis 1 and 2, and as
it is taught by Christ Himself (Matthew 19:1-9 and Mark 10:1-12).
5. We are all called to repentance. As a people, we have not treated marriage with the respect that it deserves. Divorce is far too common among us, and too oft­en we condone and support even our fellow Christians as they live together outside of wedlock. Knowing that we cannot rely upon worldly wisdom, we are called to hear and reflect upon God’s Word and once more come to Him for forgiveness.
6. True love calls us to speak the truth so that all may know the forgiveness and love of Christ. We cannot celebrate that which God calls sin (Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9). By doing so, we leave people in their sin and apart from Christ.
            8. The Court has been wrong before. In the Dred Scott decision, African Americans were counted as less than human. In Roe v. Wade, the rights of the littlest children were ignored, leading to the deaths of 57 million
children. The Supreme Court, like any human institution, is prone to error. As Christians, we recognize that there is a higher, heavenly court and that God’s Word does not change. We also recognize that unjust decisions must be challenged for the good of our neighbor.
            11. Marriage is the only institution that binds a man to his wife and to any children that result from that union. Only the union of one man and one woman is able to produce a child, and that is the reason the state should be involved in marriage, because it is good for children and society.
14. So-called “gay marriage” is not the end of the debate but only the beginning. There is now no consistent logical argument against polygamy, group marriage or temporary marriage. Such arguments, once thought to be extreme, are now commonplace. In the midst of such confusion, the Church must continue to speak the truth in love.
            16. As same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land, Christians will be increasingly persecuted for their belief. Already, florists and bakers have come under fire. Businessmen have lost their jobs and reputations.
Christian adoption agencies have been forced to close. Pastors have had their sermons subpoenaed. Christian schools have already come under assault, having to fight for their accreditation. The free exercise of religion, a constitutionally protected right, is under great assault. We therefore must stand together with people of conscience. We must support those who speak God’s truth in love and are persecuted for living according to their faith in Christ.
This is about half of the talking points, for the full list visit;

            We have a tough road ahead of us but the gates of hell will not prevail against God and His church. Be informed and be encouraged.           
In Christ,
Pastor Portier