A Letter to the HLPC Family

Dear HLPC family,


This past weekend was a real combination of joy and sadness. I was privileged to officiate the wedding of our own Ben Kinnebrew and his bride, Kara Franklin, in Chattanooga. It was a joyous occasion. On Friday afternoon, at the wedding rehearsal, I read of the Supreme Court decision that affirmed the legality of same-sex marriage for all 50 states. While the nation’s highest court was redefining marriage, I was given the opportunity to affirm the Biblical definition of marriage. There was a real touch of irony to my weekend.

What has changed now that the Supreme Court has ruled in this way? As Al Mohler said in his own commentary on the subject- everything and nothing. Everything in the sense that the definition of marriage held for millennia as a covenant between one man and one woman has been altered in the eyes of the state. Nothing in the sense that the Scriptures’ definition of marriage remains fixed.

What has changed for HLPC? In one sense nothing. We, like other PCA churches, will continue to uphold the authority of Scripture and its teaching on marriage as between one man and one woman. We likewise will continue to proclaim God’s saving grace and the power of the gospel to bring forgiveness and change to all who turn to Jesus Christ in true faith and true repentance.

We don’t know what the future holds but as the saying goes, we know who holds the future. In the words of Russell Moore, President of the Ethics and Religious Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention whose leadership on this issue has been outstanding, we do not need to respond with either panic or animosity. We don’t panic as God is still sovereign and the Church is still the Bride of Christ for whom He died, shed His blood, and was raised from the dead. We don’t respond with animosity as we are charged to pray for our opposition. We read in I Peter 3:9, who addresses believers who were suffering intense persecution for their faith, “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”(ESV)

What can we do in light of current events? Let me offer six things as well as some important links to follow. First and foremost, we must pray. Pray for our governing authorities to make decisions that promote righteousness and the free proclamation of God’s truth. Pray that HLPC and other Bible believing, gospel proclaiming churches remain bold and steadfast. Pray that God’s people are wise as serpents and innocent as doves in the days ahead. Pray for God’s direction and His blessing.

Secondly, purpose by God’s grace to live out your faith and to disciple your family. Has there ever been a more needed time to grow in grace? Jump in with both feet to the life and ministry of the church. Don’t let the church become less of a priority. You need it. Your children need it. You need the means of grace as pillars for your life- Scripture, worship, fellowship, prayer, and the sacraments. These are to be grasped corporately as much or more as they are individually.

Thirdly, pray for your neighbors and co-workers who are not Christians. Seek to build relationships. Seek to love them. Have them in your homes. Model and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. We need to re-commit ourselves to proclaiming the life changing gospel to Houston County. Yes, we live in a secular society but the Church has faced much, much worse in other times and places. We still have the freedom to worship and proclaim the truth of the gospel.

Fourthly, pray for the marriages of HLPC. We need to provide a living defense of God’s plan for marriage through our own marriages. All of our marriages need God’s grace. Some are struggling more than others. If yours is healthy, give God praise and pray for others. Don’t take your happy marriage for granted and remember it is all of God’s grace.

Fifthly, be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within you (I Peter 3:15).   How? Let me suggest some reading. I would highly recommend you get a copy of Kevin DeYoung’s book What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? You can order a copy HERE.   The Elders of HLPC were each given a copy some time ago for their own equipping on this issue. I also highly recommend Rosario Butterfield’s The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert that will encourage and equip us to reach out to those who pursue a homosexual lifestyle. You can find a copy HERE.

Sixthly, stay informed. Let me recommend three resources I utilize:

  1. World Magazine– this is a bi-weekly news magazine from a Christian world and life view. I have been a subscriber for years and benefit greatly from each issue. Go to worldmag.com for subscription info.
  2. “The World and Everything In It” Podcast– this daily news program gives you up to the minute news and information and is produced by World Magazine. It is like a Christian NPR broadcast. You can listen on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Go to worldmag.com/podcast/worldandeverything/
  3. Al Mohler’s “The Briefing” Podcast– Al Mohler is the president of the Southern Baptist seminary in Louisville, KY. He does an excellent daily podcast that examines current events from a Christian worldview. Go to albertmohler.com/category/the-briefing/


Please know that the Session of HLPC is praying and considering how we as a church will minister with Scriptural fidelity in the days ahead. We are thankful to be a part of a denomination, the PCA, which stands firm on Biblical truth. Dr. L. Roy Taylor, the Stated Clerk of the PCA, issued a short but powerful statement on the Supreme Court decision you can read HERE. We want to be bold in our witness, wise in our actions, and gracious in our manner. We remain committed to the historic gospel and the authority of God’s Word over every area of life.

Lastly, I was pleased to add my signature to this statement entitled “Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage.” I believe it sums up well the commitments I want to hold firm in the days ahead. I encourage you to please read it. You can find it HERE.

May God be pleased to encourage us to remain joyfully faithful to Him and to what He has designed for human flourishing.