Office Hours: After Obergefell (pt 2)

Office HoursRecently the Supreme Court of the United States issued a very significant decision widely known as Obergefell. In that 5–4 ruling, writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy argued that same-sex marriage is protected under the 14th Amendment, which was ratified after the American Civil War to guarantee the rights of those freedom had been won by the civil war. There were several strong worded dissenting opinions, however, issued by 4 of the justices, so however settled the law may be for now, the debate continues, even on the court. Obergefell is likely to have ramifications for the way Christians live in a largely non-Christian society, how they conduct business, how schools operate, and even what churches are free to do.

David VanDrunen joined us for this two-part series to help us think through some of the implications of this decision. He is a law school graduate and the Robert B. Strimple Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics at Westminster Seminary California. He’s the author of, co-editor, and contributor to several books including, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms.

This is part two of a two-part interview. Here is the episode.

Here are all the Office Hours episodes.

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. It seems to me that once you say that different people will come to different conclusions (and that this is acceptable), as in serving a homosexual wedding, then it necessarily is the case that a Christian can serve a homosexual wedding. The issue then seems to be an issue of conscience, which may then result in others feeling compelled to slowly change the mind of the person having objections.

    I’ve accepted that sinful acts, like homosexual marriage, are here to stay. I’m in my early 30s, and I don’t ever expect marriage to be defined as the union between a man and a woman. Same thing goes for abortion. People really want to sin openly and proudly, and when you can’t argue with them, then why try to stop them? This reminds me of one theologian quoting a bishop of Rome as he spoke to a group of crusaders in the Middle Ages; he basically said that since they are so prone to violence and evil deeds, then go satisfy your evil desires elsewhere. So I say if you don’t care to do what is right, then go sin your heart out, and leave me out of it.

    • Alberto,

      Is there a difference between “serving in” and catering a homosexual wedding? Perhaps that’s too fine a distinction but I hope that Christians of all generations do not give up standing for the fixed moral norms universally revealed in nature. Will they be quickly and easily accepted? No but the abortion discussion has changed considerably since the early 1970s. More than a few conservative Christians (look at the OPC report) were agnostic about abortion or pro-abortion then. Today, after study, few are. The same may happen with homosexual marriage. It’s a social experiment foisted upon us by judges. It will take time to think through and experience the implications. If even pagans could see the foolishness of homosexual marriage in the ancient world it’s reasonable to think that, in God’s common grace, they can do so again.

  2. I’m just not as hopeful based on various cultural and political factors. Coupled with this is the fact that I am not fond (for other reasons) of many people and organizations that are pro-life and affirm traditional marriage, to put it mildly.

    I’m also a bit worried about what appears to me as greater acceptance of divorce and remarriage among Christians. And related to this is what I perceive to be a greater acceptance of things deemed acceptable grounds for divorce (or defining abandonment and infidelity a little too broad for comfort); due to this I say consider a prenuptial agreement, in particular men. It would be unpleasant to be with a spouse that adopts a new perspective for marriage and divorce that was not affirmed at the beginning of marriage, and then proceeds to practice it to my disadvantage.

    • People don’t even need to renounce the Christian faith. There is always a church willing to take in someone divorced for whatever reasons and overlook it. You can always find a pastor to affirm you, or ignore you in the case of mega-churches..

  3. Though I didn’t agree with everything said in the interview, Van Drunen answered some of the important questions posed both cautiously and in a balanced manner and I appreciated that.

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