The Southern Baptist Convention’s lead ethicist told international religious leaders Tuesday (Nov. 18) at the Vatican they should defend man-woman marriage for the common good, but Christians also must champion it for the sake of the Gospel.
Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), provided an evangelical Protestant viewpoint on the complementarity of man and woman during the second day of a Vatican-sponsored colloquium on marriage. About 350 religious, academic and civil society leaders from 23 countries gathered at the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church for the Nov. 17-19 event.
Speaking to representatives of at least 15 religions, Moore said he joins them — despite their theological differences — in recognizing that marriage and family constitute “a matter of public importance,” yet he possesses “an even deeper concern” — the Gospel of Jesus.
“All of us must stand together on conserving the truth of marriage as a complementary union of man and woman,” Moore said, according to his manuscript, which he reportedly followed closely in his remarks. Marriage, and the “sexual difference on which it is built, is grounded in a natural order bearing rights and responsibilities that was not crafted by any human state and cannot thus be redefined by any human state,” he said.
Yet “there is a distinctively Christian urgency for why the Christian churches must bear witness to these things,” Moore told the assembly.
Marriage and family are “icons of God’s purpose for the universe,” he continued, adding Christianity teaches that the “one-flesh union points beyond itself to the union of Christ and His church.”
“Our neighbors of no religion and of different religions do not recognize a call to Gospel mystery,” he said. “Marriage is a common grace, and we should speak, on their own terms, of why jettisoning normative marriage and family is harmful.”
But as a Christian, Moore said he also is impelled to speak of “the conviction of the church that what is disrupted when we move beyond the creation design of marriage and family is not only human flourishing, although it is that, but also the picture of the very mystery that defines the existence of the universe itself — the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
“With this conviction, we must stand and speak not with clinched fists or with wringing hands, but with the open hearts of those who have a message and a mission,” he said.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press