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Sermon Message


"A Call to Fight"

Nehemiah 4:14
Theme: Nehemiah's words of exhortation in his day encourage God's people to take a stand for righteousness in their day.

(Delivered Sunday, May 16, 2004 at Bethany Bible Church. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture is taken from the New King James Version, unles.)


I would like to share with you a tremendous word of encouragement that I received the other day from the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. I believe it's a word of encouragement that's needed by many here today; and so, I'm eager to pass it on to you.

* * * * * * * * * *

Before I share that word with you, let's consider the situation of the man by which it was given. Nehemiah was a man who lived in challenging times. He was in the service of the Persian king Artaxerxes - the then ruler of the known world. Nehemiah faithfully served the king in a very important position; but he was also a Jew, and had a great reverence for God and a great heart for the welfare of his own kinsman.

Several years prior to Nehemiah's day, the Persian king Cyrus had ended the seventy-year captivity of the Jewish people in Babylon, and had permitted them to return to their homeland and rebuild the temple. And one day, as Nehemiah was serving the king, a near relative from Judah came. Naturally, Nehemiah asked how it was with the people in Judah.

But the news was not good. This relative reported to Nehemiah that the people in Judah were in great distress and reproach. After all the years that followed their return, the wall of the city of Jerusalem was still broken down, and its gates were burned with fire and useless. This meant that Jerusalem - the chief city of Judah - was defenseless and without distinction. The condition of the wall bore ongoing witness to the humiliation and defeat of the precious people of God. It was a shameful condition for Nehemiah's kinsmen to be in.

When he heard this news, Nehemiah was almost ready to burst with grief. He cried out to God for his people and for the honor of God's name; and as a result God laid it on his heart to seek the permission of the king to return to his homeland and supervise the rebuilding of the wall. God miraculously granted him the king's permission; and Nehemiah went.

When he got there, the first thing that he did was ride around the city and examine the condition of the wall. It was a terrible mess - a discouraging and seemingly impossible pile of rubble. But I love how Nehemiah rallied the people. He didn't bark orders at them and command them to get to the work of rebuilding. Instead, he was inviting in his manner. He said, "Let us rebuild . . ." He gathered the leaders together and said, "You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall for Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach" (Neh. 2:17). He told them of God's good hand upon him and of the king's support toward the effort; and when they heard this, they all said, "Let us rise up and build" (v. 18). All of the people enthusiastically put themselves into the work - people from all walks of life; not only the laborers and common workers, but also the leaders, politicians, artisans, craftsmen, the religious leaders and priests - everyone!

* * * * * * * * * *

Now, you probably know from personal experience that, whenever you undertake any great and worthy project, you eventually encounter some resistance and some disappointments along the way. That's what happened to Nehemiah and the people of Judah. For one thing, the enemies of the people of Israel from the surrounding nations began to mock the work. They accused the Jews of rebuilding the city in order to rebel against the king. One of them named Sanballat the Horonite, said, "What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish - stones that are burned?" (4:2). Another foreign official named Tobia the Ammonite fancied himself a sharp wit, and mocked them by saying, "Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall" (4:3). (Humor was clearly not one of the outstanding qualities of the Ammonites!)

These enemies did more than merely mock, though. As the work on the wall progressed, and as all the Jewish people pitched in, these foreign leaders became very angry. They all conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and cause confusion - thus putting an end to the rebuilding project altogether (v. 8). As we read on later in the story, we find that Nehemiah had to fight off one conspiracy attempt and slander campaign after another from these foreign leaders. We even find that many of the people had to work in full combat readiness - working on the construction project with one hand, and carrying a weapon in the other (4:17).

Not only were the workers becoming exhausted by the constant need to be on guard against the enemies of Israel both day and night; but the work itself was becoming a great discouragement. The leaders of the people reported to Nehemiah and said, "The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall" (v. 10). And this was making the surrounding enemies even more opportunistic. They looked at Judah and said, "They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease" (v. 11). What's more, even the Jewish people from the surrounding areas came to Nehemiah repeatedly - ten times in all - and warned, "From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us" (v. 12).

From a strictly human standpoint, the situation seemed hopeless. The work was too great. The laborers were exhausted and intimidated. The surrounding enemies were too organized and threatening. The people were beginning to lose their spirit. Why go on any further?

* * * * * * * * * *

Nehemiah rose to this leadership challenge; and spoke such great encouragement to the people that they carried on with the work and finished it in an amazing fifty-two days. God's hand of blessing proved clearly to be upon them as they fought on. The wall was completed so quickly, in fact, that the discouragement shifted to the enemies of Israel - as they clearly saw that the work was done by God (6:15-16).

But before we read what it is that Nehemiah had said to the people, I ask you to stop and consider our situation today. When I read this word of encouragement about a week and a half ago, it struck me just how relevant a word it is for our time. And I could not help but apply what Nehemiah said to the situation we face today with respect to the defense of the biblical concept of marriage. I believe it is a very fit analogy.

I have spoken with many of you personally in the past, and have shared with you how I believe that marriage is, indeed, very much like a wall. A wall makes a distinction. It differentiates between that which is "inside" the wall, and that which is "outside". In our culture - characterized as it is with an ever increasing attitude of license when it comes to sexuality - marriage, as our Creator has defined it, stands as a distinguishing "wall". It defines the context within which the expression of our sexuality is permitted by Him, and in which it may enjoy His blessing and approval. Within the "wall" of marriage, one man and one woman may enjoy that blessed gift fully - without any guilt and without sin. But God does not give His blessing to any sexual relationship outside the perimeters of that wall as He has designed and defined it. And so, any form of expression of sexuality outside the wall of marriage between one man and one woman is sin in His eyes.

I'm not speaking here of an "analogy" of my own making. The Bible clearly speaks of marriage in this way. In Hebrews 13:4, we read, "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." Can you see the "wall" as it's described in this verse? Marriage is honorable. In fact, the New American Standard Bible translates it as a command: "Marriage is to be held in honor among all . . ." But any sexual relationship entered into outside of the wall of marriage is called "fornication" and is a sin that God promises to judge. And once in a marriage - once inside the perimeters of the "wall" - the bed is never to be defiled by bringing in an outsider. Anytime a third person is brought in to the relationship - from outside, coming in over the top of the "wall" so to speak - it's called "adultery", and this also is a sin that God promises to judge.

And so, in a culture such as ours - a culture that is committed to and is increasingly being given over to sexual expressions of all sorts - that "wall", marriage as God has defined it and designed it, becomes a great insult and an offense. Its very existence as an institution in a culture of sexual license and moral relevancy has the effect of condemning everyone who is not within its God-appointed perimeters. It therefore becomes essential to such a sin-driven culture that this "wall" be broken down, and the condemning offense of marriage, as God has designed it, be abolished.

* * * * * * * * * *

The eventual removal of the institution of marriage from any meaningful place in culture is what is really driving the current debate about same-sex marriage. It has been made out to be a matter of civil rights, financial fairness, and equality for all citizens. It has the appearance of actually widening the perimeters of "wall" of marriage, so that it can include other sorts of committed couples within it. And to be fair, there are indeed many proponents of same-sex marriage for whom that is the only motive. But for the more significant advocates of same-sex marriage - the teachers and professors, and the true shapers of modern family law and public policy - the motivation is not to expand the inclusiveness of the wall of marriage, or to honor it in any way. The real motivation is to knock it down, and remove it from having any meaningful impact or significance on culture at all. Their goal is nothing less than the abolition of marriage; and they see same-sex marriage as the quickest way to help facilitate that end.

Now, before you dismiss what I've just said as "alarmist", consider what is currently the most talked about issue among scholars of contemporary family law. It is not the legal recognition of same-sex marriages, as you may think. Rather, it's the legitimization something that you've very probably never heard about before - polyamory. Polyamory is a word that means "many loves"; and there is a significant number of surprisingly influential architects of modern culture who are strong advocates for this new way of viewing "family" - a new idea that's being discussed under the broad umbrella of "family diversity".

According to Alternatives to Marriage - a strongly supported and growing advocacy group for "family diversity" - polyamory may take the form of an "open" marriage relationship (that is, two people who are legally married, but who also welcome others into the sexual relationship within that marriage), or it may take the form of a group or three or more adults who are 'monogamous' within their group (a form sometimes called "polyfidelity").1 It is sometimes advertised as "responsible non-monogamy". Many in family law are now arguing and actively advocating for state-sanctioning of polyamorous relationships - which would include full marriage rights within a group, hospital visitation rights, and even adoption rights - giving social recognition and legitimacy to "marriages" of three or more people in a poly-sexual relationship. Many of these advocates realize that state-sanctioning of polyamorous "marriages" would mean the end of marriage as a distinct institution as it has been understood in Western culture for three-thousand years; and in fact, that's what many of the "family diversity" advocates are self-consiously after.

Consider what some of them are already saying about the relationship between same-sex marriage and polyamory2. Paula Ettelbrick, for example, was a long-time policy director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and is also a teacher of law at such places as the University of Michigan and New York University. She and many of her fellow gay activists have, in the past, held a deep-seated revulsion to the idea of marriage - even among people of the same sex. But now, she says that, since polyamory is the best and quickest way to radically reorder society's view of family, she supports same-sex marriage in the hopes that it will help create a greater openness to state-sanctioned polyamory.

Another advocate is Nancy Polikoff, a professor at American University's law school. She too formerly opposed the idea of same-sex marriage because of her conviction that marriage is inherently patriarchal and oppressive. She opposed even same-sex marriages, because she felt that such marriages would eventually promote the unwanted idea that marriage is a good thing. But she now supports same-sex marriage as the best means to open the way for state-sanctioned polyamory - and the eventual subversion of marriage itself.

There are others. Martha Fineman, who is professor of law at Cornell University, has argued for the abolition of marriage as a legal category; and she is now pushing for recognition of "plural sexual groupings" as "marriages". Martha Ertman is professor of law at the University of Utah. She argues that increasing openness to same-sex partnerships is slowly collapsing the taboo against polyamory; and she states quite clearly that her hope is to see the distinction between traditional marriage and polyamory rendered into something morally neutral. David Chambers, professor of law at the University of Michigan, likewise argues that same-sex marriages will make society more accepting of further legal changes - and that by ceasing to see marriage as a partnership of only one person of each gender, the state may become more receptive to the idea of marriage being a relationship of units of three people or more.

I hope you can see that these are not merely people on the fringe of society who are advancing these arguments. These are prominent educators, legal specialists and cultural leaders - people on the cutting-edge of family law and public policy in our universities and public arenas. This has led Stanely Kurtz, a research fellow at the Hoover Institute writing in The Weekly Standard, to make this assertion: "Gender transition from gay marriage to state-sanctioned polyamory, and the eventual abolition of marriage itself as a legal category, is now the most influential position within academic family law"; and that what lies ultimately beyond gay marriage is "no marriage at all".3 This, of course, is exactly what has been happening in those countries where same-sex marriage has already been legalized - such as in Denmark and in The Netherlands. Marriage itself has effectively lost its significance and is becoming something that few people see any meaningful reason for entering into. That is the road down which same-sex marriage will be taking us.

I recently had an experience that confirmed this to me. A few weeks ago, I was among those who testified at the public hearing for Multnomah County regarding same-sex marriage. I heard one same-sex couple after another give public appreciation to the county commissioners for issuing marriage licenses to them. And they seemed to be saying pretty much the same thing. One person would say, "I and my partner have been with each other for twenty-two years; and now, we don't have to be ashamed anymore." Another would say, "I was with my partner for thirteen years; and now, we can be a family just like everyone else." They were asserting the long-term nature of their relationships; and these sorts of statements were usually greeted with enthusiastic applause.

But here's the thing that I couldn't help but notice. In all the case of those same-sex couples who were thanking the commission, it seemed evident that marriage had never really made any practical difference to the way they lived. They had been "together" for all those years prior to being issued a license - meaning, of course, living together in an actively sexual relationship. And after having entered into a "marriage", they were living together just as much, and were as sexually involved with one another, as they had ever been. None of them that I heard said that they were thankful that they could now get married and finally move in together, and could now finally be with one another. In no real, practical sense had "marriage" made a bit of difference to the way they were living.

Well, no difference except one. They now could say that they didn't have to feel "ashamed" or like "second-class citizens" anymore because of the relationship in which they had already been living. They could now claim that the state had given "legitimacy" to that relationship. And that, as I have been stressing, is really what this is all about - the legitimization of a sexual life-style, and not about "marriage" at all. It's not about entering into the wall of marriage, but rather about abolishing it and taking away its condemnation of sin.

* * * * * * * * * *

But so what? Would that make any difference if marriage ended as an institution in our society? Would anything of great significance, in the end, really be lost? After hearing these arguments for its abolition, I believe it would be good to stop and remember why it is that God gave marriage to us in the first place. That will help us understand what we would be in danger of losing if our society were to lose marriage.

Just taking a quick survey of the Scriptures, we can see that God - first of all - gave marriage to humankind as the solution to the need for companionship. It is, in fact, the first institution of human relationship ever established.

As Christians, we don't believe that marriage is an institution created by human laws or cultural habits. We believe it was created by God at the very beginning of human history for the greatest human good and happiness. We often say that Western civilization has recognized marriage as an institution between a man and a woman for at least three thousand years; but the fact is that this authoritative definition of marriage is really much older than that. It is as old as humanity itself. The Bible tells us that, even though the world was filled with animal life, God saw that it was not good that Adam - the first man - was alone, and so He made a helper "comparable to him". He created the first woman from the first man and presented her to him. And this act, we're told, was to establish the pattern for the rest of humanity; "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). And so, the happiness of human companionship was one of the main reasons God established marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman.

And that's one of the things that we would lose if we lost marriage - the very starting-point, the very core of human relationship; the most basic and fundamental unit of human society; the thing that God gave to humankind in order to meet the most basic needs of companionship and happiness. Historically, societies have always been strongest when families and marriages were healthiest. But eliminate marriage, as God has designed it to be, as the most basic unit of society and the foundational principle of family, and society itself will unravel and degenerate.

A second thing that God created marriage for was for dominion of the earth. God's purpose for marriage - along with its design - is told us in Genesis:

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Gen. 1:26-28).

Marriage between a man and a woman is intrinsic to God's design for humanity. If I may put it plainly, God designed humanity for heterosexual monogamy only! And if we allow marriage as a distinct relationship between one man and one woman to be lost, we forfeit the context in which God has given humanity the exercise of dominion over this earth. We will give up both an essential aspect of our design and of our purpose on this earth.

Third, we will have given up the means of the provision of a godly heritage. Obviously, only one man and one woman can create offspring. No same-sex couple has ever produced offspring together. But did you know that one of the things God intended in marriage is the bringing about of specifically 'godly' offspring, and thus advance the blessing of the world? In the prophet Malachi's day, marriage was in great trouble. Divorce was rampant. And God spoke to the people of Israel through Malachi to say that He has been a witness against those who were treacherous against the wife of their youth;

Yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks a godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none of you deal treacherously with the wife of his youth (Mal. 2:14-15).

Marriage between one man and one woman is God's pattern for bringing one generation on this earth to take the place of another. What's more, it is His appointed way for the good news of the Gospel to be passed from one godly generation to another as well. He has no other provision for "godly offspring" than through marriage as He designed it. We would lose much godliness in this world when we forfeit marriage; and much of our responsibility to the next generation will be forfeited as well.

Marriage is also God's provision for living morally and in sexual purity in this world. I have shared this in counseling with many unmarried individuals who struggle with sexual temptations. God has made only one long-term provision for dealing with sexual temptation. Paul wrote to the Corinthians and said, "Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband (1 Cor. :1-3).

God never designed for our sexual needs to be met in any other way than within the "wall" of marriage between one man and one woman. If we allow marriage as God has designed it to be obliterated from our culture, we will lose His designed provision for our basic sexual needs; and we will also lose the means He has given us for living in sexual purity in a very immoral world.

Perhaps most significant of all aspects of marriage that we would lose is the picture God has given us of the holy and perfect relationship Jesus enjoys with His church. The apostle Paul wrote;

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband (Eph. 5:22-33).

These are just some of the reasons, biblically, why we should stand up and fight for the institution of marriage as God has designed it - and as it has been understood in human history for at least six-thousand years.

* * * * * * * * * *

It seems as if we're like the people of Nehemiah's day, trying to rebuild the wall. The odds appear to be against us. The opposition to God's plan of marriage is very strong and very organized. As of tomorrow, May 17, for the first time in our nation's history, marriage licenses will be issued to people of the same sex legally in the state of Massachusetts. In just a few weeks, unless our legislators do anything to prevent it (which they've already expressed they won't do), Multnomah County will resume issuing same-sex marriage licenses; and this time, they will be recognized by the state as "legal". And given the thousands of licenses already issued, the state judicial system is not at all eager to face all the challenges that will certainly be brought into the courts should the legality of those licenses be overturned.

As I thought about all this a week ago or so, I felt like the people of Judah - as if the rubble was overwhelmingly great, the opposition fierce, and the builders very weak and few. But it was in just such a context that Nehemiah spoke to the people who were seeking to rebuild their wall. And this is the point in the story at which I encountered that great word of encouragement from Nehemiah - which, by the way, I haven't shared with you yet.

Here it is. Nehemiah himself tells us the story:

Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, "Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses" (4:13-14).

We can summarize Nehemiah's word of encouragement into three points. First, "Don't be afraid of the opposition." There were many hostile enemies all around; and they were committed to putting this work to an end, because they could not bear the thought that God would seek the welfare of His own people and call them to work toward the honor of His name. They sneered and mocked and plotted and threatened; but Nehemiah's word was, "Don't be afraid of them."

Likewise, we should not be afraid of those who oppose God's design of marriage, and who seek to abolish it or expand its definition into meaninglessness. We should not be afraid to stand firmly upon what God has declared marriage to be. Let's remember that such battles are what the Lord has left us upon the earth to fight. He said,

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:13-16).

A second point Nehemiah stressed was this: "Remember the Lord!" Yes, the work seemed overwhelming; and yes, the odds against it getting done were very great. But they were not to rely on human resources or strength to do it. God had called them to this task - and nothing is too hard for Him; and so, Nehemiah said, "Remember the LORD, great and awesome . . ."

We too must remember the Lord. We must not let our eyes be taken off Him. We must pray as the early church prayed, when they were commanded to cease from preaching the name of Jesus Christ. Consider how they started in prayer by remembering the Lord:

"Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said, 'Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the LORD and against His Christ.' For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus" (Acts 4:24-30).

And the third point Nehemiah stressed followed on the heals of the first two. If they were not to be afraid of the threats of their enemies; and if they were to remember the great and awesome power of the Lord who had called them to this task; then the call to them was, in great confidence, "Fight" - to stand up and defend and protect that which God had entrusted to them and that was precious to them. Nehemiah said to them, "Do not be afraid of them. Remember the LORD, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses."

How do we "fight" this battle in the strength of the Lord? Above all else, we must pray. We are not fighting a "culture war". Our battle is not against people. We are to love our enemies. Rather, ours is a "spiritual" conflict; and the battle is waged in spiritual realms. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for the pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:3-5). The greatest weapon in our arsenal in this battle is prayer.

Second, we should bring God's own authoritative word into the discussion with confidence. There is nothing in this world that is more authoritative than what God has already said. Hold true to what our Lord and Master has already stated on this whole issue; "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?'" (Matthew 19:4-5). That word from the Son of God is authoritative and final.

Third, fight by seeing to your own marriage. One of the arguments of those who advocate for same-sex marriage, or for the abolition of marriage altogether, is that marriage no longer means anything significant to anyone anymore in our culture. Make sure your own marriage puts the lie to that argument. Make sure your marriage is a testimony to the divine origin of that institution. Let Christ rule in your marriage, so that He can make it a blessing to you, and a light in a dark world.

Fourth, evangelize. Share the gospel in that particular mission field God has given you. The first great offensive weapon in our arsenal is prayer; and the second is proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ. Spiritual battles are won by us through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the saving of souls.

Then, use good stewardship of your rights as a citizen. Vote. Vote thoughtfully and in an informed manner. Write letters to your elected officials. Keep writing and calling them. Don't take no for an answer. Don't be afraid of being called names by them. Don't be put off when they suggest that you are being discriminatory. Support groups that are supporting marriage. Give of your time and your money.

* * * * * * * * * *

Personally, I am confident that marriage, as God has designed it, will never be ultimately lost. It was instituted by God for all humanity and for all time; and no one can de-institute what God has institutionalized. But I am deeply concerned for the many, many people who will undoubtedly be hurt in the effort to do so. The institution of marriage, as God has designed it to be, will remain over the long haul; but in the meantime, eternal souls hang in the balance - not only in this generation, but in the one's that will follow after ours. Love demands that we fight this battle.

So, bothers and sisters in Christ; though this may not be a battle we desire to enter into, it is the battle God has called us to in our day; and it is very much worth fighting. Remember then the words of Nehemiah: "Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses" (4:13-14).


2Stanley Kurtz, "Beyond Gay Marriage", The Weekly Standard, August 4-11, 2003.


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