As I reflect on these words Simon Peter spoke some 2,000 years ago, I am amazed that a man who attacked a squadron of soldiers could -- just moments later -- acquiesce to a midnight mob led by a servant girl.
The sociological phenomenon of the power of "groupthink" led Peter to deny His Savior. It also led the people of 1930s Germany to sacrifice the Jews and high school students in Steubenville, Ohio, to laugh as an unconscious teenage girl was publicly molested. And, sadly, in recent years, it has led many American Christians choosing to forsake God's perennial teaching on marriage.
How else can one explain the radical, overnight shift in views toward marriage? In 2008, a majority of Americans, including presidential candidate Barack Obama, knew marriage to be a sacred union between a man and a woman. Just five years later, much of that group has gone with the flow of the new "in crowd."
Sociologically speaking, mobs don't "evolve." They change course quickly and as soon as they muster enough numbers, they coerce. They disrupt stability. Mobs riot and seek to force their will upon others. Before long they crucify any religious figure who stands in their way. If you have joined the mob, do you hear that sound? The cock is crowing.
Don't follow the mob. Rejection of God's definition of marriage is ultimately a rejection of the Triune God it reveals. The good news is that the message of John 21 still applies: Even if you're in the boat with the rest of the mob, Jesus is waiting by the seashore to restore you. He's always standing on solid ground.
Steve Willis is lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Kenova, W. Va., and vice president of program development at Tri-State Bible College in South Point, Ohio.
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