Monday, 21 October 2019

Same sex marriage and abortion - what now?

It is now apparent that same sex marriage and abortion will be undemocratically foisted upon Northern Ireland as a result of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019. This will be a matter of great sorrow to all true believers in our province; both that the God ordained institution of marriage will be marred by the oxymoron of gay marriage, and also that any protection for the life of the unborn child will be removed. Whilst it is easy to focus our attention on where the blame should lie in these matters, and there are those who will certainly answer to God for their actions, the real question for the church is what it should do now. For long we have sought to prevent these things taking place, so does their pending implementation now mean that the battle is lost and our fight is over?

The passing of this legislation should be a reminder to us all that political opposition was never a long term solution to preventing the introduction of SSM and abortion. The constant voting down of motions in the Assembly was commendable, and we are thankful for it; however that alone could not change public opinion on the acceptability of these issues. The evident trend in the last number of years has been of a growing acceptance of homosexuality and a demand for same sex marriage. So too, although on a lesser scale, and with more caveats, there has been an increasing call for abortion reform. The liberalisation of the electorate on these and other issues has meant that either the political will to oppose such matters would slowly recede, or voting patterns would change to the point where the numbers to oppose them simply no longer existed.

When we consider these events it is important to realise that the problem in our land is a spiritual one rather than a political one, and that it is futile to seek to change the hearts and minds of people through political means. This is battle which needs to be fought in prayer meetings, more so than in council meetings and the Northern Ireland Assembly, for had the sad developments in our land been thwarted today, it would surely only have been a matter of delaying the inevitable. Undoubtedly had a referendum been held on SSM it would have been lost, with abortion likely being a close fought matter depending on the framing of the question. The words of Psalm 118:18 are apt consideration for where we should put our hope at this time, it being ‘better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man’.

What the church must now do in the wake of these events, is not lie down, but rather preach the truth more fervently than ever, so that that those things which will now become available might not be desired by the population at large. Where multitudes are changed by the supernatural power of the gospel the ready supply of abortion services will not be met by a equal demand. When the truth of God’s word penetrates the hearts of the most depraved sinners, those sins which are now paraded openly will again be confined to their rightful place of shame. The church must seek to show the wrongs of abortion, not simply in the shocking reality of what it entails, but also in its objective sinfulness in the light of God’s truth. Homosexuality must also be clearly and succinctly demonstrated to be sin, so that the legal permissions now granted will not be readily sought.

The passing of this legislation does not mean that the church must accept defeat or surrender the fight. The battle has not been lost, with the sword to be put down in acceptance at the moral collapse that surrounds us. Rather it is a call to arms, for the church to awaken itself from its slumber, to work and pray as never before, and to go on the offensive with God’s word, boldly proclaiming its truth. Though we rightly despair at what we see, (and if we do not despair then we must search our hearts) we still have hope, for God is sovereign over all things, is near to his people and will ultimately put all wrongs right at his glorious return.

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