As I explore and investigate the news reports referring to Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and the reversal of his position on gay marriage, my heart is troubled. Before I go further to explain my consternation, I must first quantify that I am neither Republican nor Democrat. I am a new creature in Christ Jesus where party lines are non-existent. I simply express morality as it is lined out in scripture. I am not a politician nor am I a theologian. I am simply a prophet of God called to speak truth to power. Because of that call, I must with great boldness and humility express the heart of God as He expresses it to humanity, because how can it be heard without a preacher to proclaim it (Romans 10:14c; Acts 8:30-31).
Some may ask, why the urgency to address this issue and not all of the other scandalous and detrimental issues that plague our society as of late? My response is that I am not driven by impulses, I write as I am led by the Spirit. I have seen the report of Senator Portman’s announcement circulating in broadcast and digital media all throughout the weekend, but during a conversation with a colleague the Spirit of God immediately impressed upon me to deal with this issue through writing. The more I’ve researched the issue, the stronger the Holy Spirit’s leading became.
Here are the details in a small snippet. Senator Rob Portman, who has operated as a staunch conservative in both speech and ballot, publicly announced that he now supports gay marriage. This announcement comes after a record of supporting a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage while in Congress, voting for the Defense of Marriage Act and voting for a bill prohibiting gay couples in Washington from adopting. Why such a sharp turn around? Why such a dynamic reversal of morals? Because Portman discovered that his son, Will Portman, is gay. But he has known of his son’s sexual preference for two years now. Why make such a bold announcement now? Only heaven (and some aspects of hell) knows.
As I behold this moral theater, I can’t help but wonder how often we regard relationships over moral responsibility. Moreover, I wonder how often we regard our personal human relationships over our relationship with the Eternal Lord of both heaven and earth. The scripture is ripe with examples of people in authority who regarded humanity over their leadership responsibility and their godly accountability.
We can begin with Adam who regarded the relationship with his wife over his relationship with his Lord and Creator. In the presence of the Lord God he cowered and blamed the woman for his failure, but God refused to let him off the hook. Furthermore, it was his failure, not his wife’s, that sent the entire creation into turmoil and sentenced all humanity to the death penalty (Romans 5:12; Romans 8:20).
We can also see the repercussions of choosing personal relationship over moral responsibility in the life of Abraham. Abraham buckled under pressure from his wife as Adam did his. He did it for a seemingly “good” purpose, but at the heart of the matter Abraham was concerned about how he would look to the world around him due to the seeming hopelessness that engrossed his home (Genesis 15:2-3). In the end, the relationship Abraham chose to protect became embittered by his inconsistent stance. Abraham did turn and make the right choice 13 years later, but he consequently catapulted the fruit of his wrong choice and the fruit of his repentance into a 4000 year cycle of strife that remains even up until this day (Galatians 4:29).
If time permitted, I would write about Saul, David, Samson, Solomon, Samuel, Eli and many others, and I am sure that they would be enough to lay out an entire course of study on moral responsibility to inspire us and bring us hope (Romans 15:4). However, the intent of this writing is not to encourage; rather it is to provoke us to good works (Hebrews 10:24). Therefore, I will give one further example that would relate to Senator Portman’s choice in somewhat the adverse.
In Leviticus 10:1-7 we find that God has called Moses, Aaron and Aaron’s four sons into the Tent of Meeting to minister before Him. As they are approaching the presence of the Lord God, two of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, begin to offer “strange fire” unto the Lord. The scripture says that fire proceeded from the presence of God and devoured the two sons. In other words, it literally charred them. The response of Moses to God’s reaction is an example of the resolute conviction that we as believers should have when it comes to God’s standard of righteousness.
When Moses, sees his nephews lying charred and lifeless on the Tabernacle floor, without blinking an eye he turns and takes on the role of funeral director. He appoints his first cousins as pall bearers to carry the bodies of Nadab and Abihu out of the Tabernacle. He then immediately turns and commands Aaron and his other two sons to stay in the position of ministering to God because He had already established what He considered to be righteousness, yet Nadab and Abihu established their own righteousness. He further told them that if they should turn from the position of worship to the position of wailing over unrighteousness, they too would be consumed by death. In Leviticus 10:3 we find Aaron, the High Priest’s, response to the death of his sons by the fire of God, along with Moses subsequent exhortation. It says that “Aaron held his peace”.
There are two indictments in the Portman scenario. The first indictment is against Rob Portman himself because he worshipped (honored) the creature more than the Creator (Romans 1:25). Because of this wayward judgment Rob Portman will have to stand before the Lord of creation and receive the judgment of his decision for taking pleasure in his son (Romans 1:32), rather than in doing what was right for the sake of righteousness. If Rob Portman felt that he was incapable of using his influence to uphold the morality of his conscience (Romans 2:15), he should have done one of two things: relinquish his post as a U.S. Senator or did like Aaron and just held his peace.
The second indictment is against those who influenced or should have influenced Rob Portman. Our society seems to be void of the Moses’s who will counsel people to be resilient in their stance for morality, regardless to how close to home the immorality hits. Moses could provoke Aaron to remain steadfast because he’d already refused to allow his sons to escape the cost of righteousness even at the risk of his wife walking out (Exodus 4:25-26). The authority with which Moses approached Aaron saved his life. It is totally unlike a Dick Cheney who had no such authority because of his own familial issues. He simply subjected Portman to the counsel of his own heart.
The tragedy is that Portman could not only have to deal with God’s judgment for his lack of resiliency; he could potentially have to answer for the waywardness of an entire nation should the Supreme Court be influenced by his flip-flopping on the issue of gay marriage. But I dare say that not only will he have to answer for this ill-used influence. Joining him in similar judgment will be former Vice President Dick Cheney, President Barack Obama, and (wait for it…) every preacher in America who used their influence to rescue President Barack Obama’s political career after his announcement of support for the issue of gay marriage. I will say that after that announcement, it would have served many preachers better to simply respond like Aaron in Leviticus 10:3 and “held their peace”, particularly those with great influence.
If we as the body of Christ and the called out Kingdom inhabitants would learn to disregard familiar connections in order to uphold God’s standard of righteousness, then God can be God and release a momentary flash of wrath. Why should we allow this “flash of wrath” to occur? Because it will produce the results found in Leviticus 10:6-7. It will restrain God’s wrath from the masses, release a major revival and refocus those who are called to minister before the Lord. We often cry out for revival in this nation, but are we willing to be resolute in our convictions enough to see the revival that we are expecting? Are we willing to depart from that in which we are emotionally vested in order to lay hold of true spiritual awakening? Will we leave a legacy of passive leadership or fortified front liners? We must make the decision to place God Over Everything and reap the rewards, or Everything Over God and reap the judgment!
If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.