No matter the law of the land or pressure from outside groups, a same-sex marriage will never be performed at Thomas Road Baptist Church, the Virginia megachurch’s pastor, Jonathan Falwell, preached from the pulpit on Sunday.
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"I've said it before and I'll say it again here today just to make sure that we're clear: at Thomas Road Baptist Church there will never be a same-sex marriage or any other form of marriage outside of between a man and a woman conducted at this church as long as I am your pastor," he said to rousing applause from the congregation.
Falwell, the son of Jerry Falwell, the late televangelist and Moral Majority founder known for his outspoken opposition to homosexuality, told congregants that the Bible has made clear that "any sexual activity outside of the marriage between one man and one woman is absolutely sin."
He recited scripture after scripture that Falwell said was proof of God’s word and the sin of homosexuality.
"It is not judgmental, it is not hate-filled for the church to preach against sin," he said. "It is our job, it is our duty and it is our God-given responsibility. And the church does not have the luxury of choosing which sins we will stand up against and which ones we will remain silent about."
"We all have a duty and I, as your pastor, have a duty to stand up against sin, to call sin by its right name, to preach against sin, and to call to repentance all of those, including all of us, who are in sin," he said.
Despite last month’s Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states, Falwell maintained that God’s word trumps it.
"God created marriage, not the state, so God gets to define marriage — not the state," Falwell said.
He called some Christians to task for posting hateful messages on social media and engaging in verbal attacks against people celebrating the high court’s decision.
Instead of fighting, Falwell said, Christians "should be displaying the love of Christ that drew us to him in first place."
"Speak with gentleness," he advised.
"We must also go back to preaching the Gospel in love," he said. "The only hope for the world is found in the Gospel, period. Not in legislation, not in court decisions, not in elections, not in the Congress, not in the White House.
"The only hope for the world is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that Jesus died and that he was buried and that he rose again — that is the whole for our world and the church today must be less about condemning others and more about leading people to salvation through Christ."
Falwell warned his congregants of the reaches of the high court’s ruling, pointing to the threat of jail time two ministers in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,
face who refuse to perform same-sex marriage and of Montana polygamists who are seeking a marriage license.
At some point, he predicted, his church will face litigation for its hard-line stance, but "we are going to take that stand anyway, because Thomas Road Baptist Church will always be a church that honors the law and the command of God more than the command of man," Falwell said.
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