Things I Think
1. I started teaching through the book of Romans last night, which required that I spend the previous two weeks studying it in preparation. To make a long story short, the text of Romans 1 obliterates the current social and religious attempts to legitimize homosexuality and gay marriage. As most of you know, I tend to lean left on social issues and I always want to be as gracious as possible to sinners, because I am one.
I wanted to find a loophole in the text…but there simply isn’t one.
The only way you can legitimize homosexuality is to deny the text…not just the text of Romans 1, but the Gospels and Genesis.
Paul’s argument is drawn from from the creation narrative and from Jesus affirmation of it in the Gospels…it’s the teaching of the whole of Scripture.
Thus, the battle over homosexuality is not just a moral issue, but one of the authority of Scripture…which is denied by those who “by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18 ESV)
In my desire to be someone who is as gracious as possible, I almost became one who would sacrifice… “suppress”… the truth in order to be at peace with men.
To do would compromise my faith and violate my conscience.
The task now is to become someone who can speak the truth “in love”.
2. That phrase about suppressing the truth brought to mind how much the truth is indeed being suppressed, and not only about homosexuality… like the new cultural canard that Islam is a religion of peace…
3. Whenever a church has to hire a public relations firm to control the flow and content of information, be assured that the truth is being suppressed in unrighteousness…
4. I willingly fell victim to the falsehood that because the church has so many moral and ethical issues of it’s own that it’s bad form to comment on the sins of the culture around us. We have to do both…but our focus should be on cleaning our own house first.
5. Writing about the church has become difficult for me as I believe that evangelicalism in this country is in the midst of a radical change…I can’t define it or explain it yet, but what has been is not what will be.
6. After five weeks of the new football season, I’m glad hockey season has started…
7. A California woman with terminal brain cancer has moved to Oregon in order to die by medically assisted suicide. I’m at a loss to know how I would counsel her from a Christian perspective….
8. Fall is an exercise in being in enjoying the moment and not reminding yourself that it is a portent of winter…
9. The internet has leveled the field…everyone can have a voice and a platform. That does not mean that all voices and platforms are of equal worth…
10. Despite all the cultural and political attempts to suppress the truth, my guts (and the Scriptures) tell me that people know it anyway…and there is a backlash coming. May it come with grace and be spoken in love.
Michael, thank you for #1. I always love your honesty and your integrity.
The text beat me up pretty good…and left me in a place where I had to either affirm it’s truth or deny it completely…all of it.
I can’t do that.
I looked at all the modern loopholes…the text is only speaking of bi-sexuality or pederasty…they just don’t hold water.
Michael, integrity is concluding based on what we find even when what we find conflicts with what we hoped to find. The real problem with those who misuse the text is that they demand we find a completely new way of interpreting Scripture. I have taught through Romans 3 times and, even though I change, the text never does. It is the most loving thing we can do to tell the truth. We need to do so sounding loving in the process.
It really is about how one approaches the texts of our faith.
Some believe they are snapshots of history, of culture, of how each writer uniquely expresses his take on life. That’s where I find value, in that view.
Some believe the texts are a unified message system from beyond our time domain.
I cannot find value in that view any longer, but if anyone does, I respect that.
However one approaches it all, as they’re embracing Jesus, I wish them peace.
“The task now is to become someone who can speak the truth “in love”.
Sounds like the same goal remains the greatest challenge.
Not sure when the last time I’ve ever gone 10 for 10 with you in full agreement on a Monday…if ever. 🙂
(Well..there is the hockey half to that one comment)
“Thus, the battle over homosexuality is not just a moral issue, but one of the authority of Scripture…which is denied by those who “by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18 ESV)”
Yes. That is exactly the battleground. When we start to write off parts of the Scripture, the question then becomes: (1) Where do we stop? and (2) Why stop at all?
The issue is not one of hatred or fear (as is so often portrayed in the media); it is as you said, one of the authority of Scripture.
What an awesome and terrible book is Romans. We are all guilty before God of being sinners (Missing the mark).
I am so very curious about the word used in the ESV – “Suppress”. Its the verb, the action word. There’s nothing passive about holding back the truth – and yes, I’m guilty of that as well. In order to make the my faith sound “less narrow” or myself “more appealing”, I have suppressed the truth.
Greek: katecho – From Vines: “RV, of unrighteous men who restrain the spread of truth by their unrighteousness, or, as RV marg., “who hold the truth in (or with) unrighteousness,” contradicting their profession by their conduct.”
I.to hold back, detain, retain
A.from going away
B.to restrain, hinder (the course or progress of)
i.that which hinders, Antichrist from making his appearance
ii.to check a ship’s headway i.e. to hold or head the ship
C.to hold fast, keep secure, keep firm possession of
II.to get possession of, take
#7. “I’m at a loss to know how I would counsel her from a Christian perspective….”
This is a tough one.
But something in me tells me that if I had the chance to speak with her, I would try to tell her not to take her life. She thinks that it is within her right to take her life when she determines the time – I would disagree with her.
Our job is to prepare her for the rest of eternity, not the rest of her life here on earth.
“If any should say, It is true, if men gave full credit to what they are told concerning eternal things, and these appeared to them as real and certain things, it would be an evidence of a sort of madness in them, that they show no greater regard to them in practice: but there is reason to think, this is not the case; the things of another world being unseen, appear to men as things of a very doubtful nature, and attended with great uncertainty.—In answer, I would observe, agreeable to what has been cited from Mr. Locke, though eternal things were considered in their bare possibility, if men acted rationally, they would infinitely outweigh all temporal things in their influence on their hearts. And I would also observe, that to suppose eternal things not to be fully believed, at least by them who enjoy the light of the gospel, does not weaken, but rather strengthen, the argument for the depravity of nature. For the eternal world being what God had chiefly in view in the creation of men, this world was made wholly subordinate to the other, man’s state here being only a state of probation, preparation, and progression, with respect to the future state. Eternal things are in effect their all, their whole concern; to understand and know which, it chiefly was, that they had understanding given them; therefore we may undoubtedly conclude, that if men have not respect to them as real and certain things, it cannot be for want of sufficient evidence of their truth: but it must be from a dreadful stupidity of mind, occasioning a sottish insensibility of their truth and importance, when manifested by the clearest evidence.”
I don’t know Michael, not being a Greek reader, but the homosexual conduct described in Romans 1 looks less a the sin and more like a punishment for the sin of suppression of the truth and worshiping the creature rather than the creator. “He gave them up to dishonorable passions.” Where did those passions come from? Did God implant them? Are they there in everyone (or some people), just waiting to be released?
I’m not arguing with you, but I’ve always found this language strange and have never heard it explained very clearly in context. It doesn’t seem to jibe with the same-sex attraction experience of many people. So I’m left wondering if what Paul is trying to teach us in Romans 1 is that homosexuality is a sin or something else. For example, the sin of homosexuality may actually be a given in Romans 1, and Paul is actually using the example of homosexuality to teach something else. I don’t know. In the list he begins at verse 29, Paul actually describes the items in the list as “all manner of unrighteousness.” That’s quite a list, isn’t it?
Re the young woman who plans to end her own life…… Anyone who has cared for or even ‘merely’ known some one who is desperately, painfully, horribly ill with no hope of recovery, yet the life goes on and on and on, can certainly understand this young woman’s choice. She has spoken plainly that she isn’t taking this lightly or planning to go out on a whim, but when her pain is unmanageable. Anyone who has had a migraine knows the hideous inescapable agony (insufficient description) can begin to comprehend the pain of having ‘something’ growing inside the cranium, pressing on nerves, taking away sight, sound, words, control over movement or elimination or non stop vomiting.
My prayer for this young woman (she’s 29 and newly wed, has already spent most of the last year in/out of hospitals, enduring brutal testing and very bad news) is that she would truly find faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and have hope for eternal life. My prayer is that God would manifest Himself to her in her illness and know she is loved, even though life has allowed this very sad end…. and I would love her and hope she knows love when she’s finally had enough suffering with no hope of relief and provides her own. We simply cannot know what it would be like to be in her shoes. Some of us will very likely end up there.
Michael, I am sure you are aware of our mutual friend there in Jacksonville, a faithful and much loved minister, husband, father, friend who is currently suffering with a brain tumor. The updates describe his daily losses and sufferings as things progress rapidly. My heart aches while my soul pleads with God for His mercies.
I completely agree with you.
Excellent questions that I will have to come back to later for the most part.
First, I think the fact that homosexuality as a sin was given in Jewish culture is pretty well documented from the Scriptures and extra biblical literature.
I have to run , but I believe this commentary covers the main points.
Sexual sin is the first consequence of being handed over that Paul mentions (vv. 24, 26–27). Romans 1:24 speaks of being handed over “to uncleanness” (εἰς ἀκαθαρσίαν, eis akatharsian). Paul often uses ἀκαθαρσία (2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1 Thess. 4:7) to refer to sexual sin. Paul is perhaps simply describing sexual sin in general terms in verse 24, although his more specific words in verses 26–27 suggest that homosexual relations may be in his mind in verse 24 as well.
Why does Paul focus on homosexual relations, especially since it receives little attention elsewhere in his writings (1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10)? Probably because it functions as the best illustration of that which is unnatural in the sexual sphere. Idolatry is “unnatural” in the sense that it is contrary to God’s intention for human beings. To worship corruptible animals and human beings instead of the incorruptible God is to turn the created order upside down. In the sexual sphere the mirror image of this “unnatural” choice of idolatry is homosexuality (cf. Schlatter 1995: 43; Hays 1986: 191). Human beings were intended to have sexual relations with those of the opposite sex. Just as idolatry is a violation and perversion of what God intended, so too homosexual relations are contrary to what God planned when he created man and woman.
Although verse 26 is ambiguous regarding the precise sense in which women acted contrary to nature, verse 27 clarifies that what is unnatural is same-sex relations. That homosexual relations are contrary to nature, in the sense that they violate what God intended, is communicated in saying that women abandoned “the natural use for that which is contrary to nature” (τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν, tēn physikēn chrēsin eis tēn para physin, v. 26), and in saying that men “have left the natural use of women” (ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας, aphentes tēn physikēn chrēsin tēs thēleias, v. 27). The word χρῆσις is often used of sexual relations in Greek writings (BAGD 886), while the word φύσις refers in this context to what God intended in creating men and women (Koester, TDNT 9:273; Hays 1986: 196–99; cf. De Young 1988). The word φύσις does not invariably refer to the divine intention in Paul (cf. Rom. 2:14, 27; 11:21, 24 [3 times]; Gal. 2:15; 4:8; Eph. 2:3). At least two pieces of evidence, however, indicate that an argument from the created order is constructed in Rom. 1:26–27. First, Paul selected the unusual words θῆλυς (thēlys, female) and ἄρσην (arsēn, male) rather than γύνη (gynē, woman) and ἀνήρ (anēr, man), respectively. In doing so he drew on the creation account of Genesis, which uses the same words (Gen. 1:27 LXX; cf. Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6). These words emphasize the sexual distinctiveness of male and female (Moo 1991: 109), suggesting that sexual relations with the same sex violate the distinctions that God intended in the creation of man and woman. Second, the phrase “contrary to nature” (παρὰ φύσιν) is rooted in Stoic and Hellenistic Jewish traditions that saw homosexual relations as violations of the created order (see below). The latter point is borne out by verse 27, which specifies in three ways what constitutes the unnatural activity for men: (1) in forsaking sexual relations with women (ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας); (2) in burning in desire for other men (ἐξεκαύθησαν ἐν τῇ ὀρέξει αὐτῶν εἰς ἀλλήλους, exekauthēsan en tē orexei autōn eis allēlous); and (3) in doing that which was shameful with other men (ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσιν τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην κατεργαζόμενοι, arsenes en arsesin tēn aschēmosynēn katergazomenoi). Verse 27 gives no indication that only specific kinds of homosexual activity are prohibited. Instead, homosexual relations in general are indicted.
Modern controversy over homosexuality has led to a reevaluation of this text. Some scholars argue that Paul does not condemn all forms of homosexuality but only homosexual acts practiced by people who are “naturally” heterosexual (e.g., Boswell 1980: 109–12). According to this interpretation, to act contrary to nature involves engaging in sexual activity that is contrary to the personal nature or character of the individual. Thus Paul should not be understood as implying that all homosexuality is contrary to what God intended from creation. He speaks only against homosexual acts that are practiced by those who are heterosexuals by nature.
This interpretation should be rejected since there is no evidence that Paul understood the “nature” of human beings in the individualized and psychological sense that is familiar to us in the twentieth century. Instead, in accord with Stoic and Hellenistic Jewish tradition, Paul rejects homosexuality as contrary to the created order—homosexual activity is a violation of what God intended when he created men and women (Hays 1986: 192–94; Malick 1993: 335). Paul’s prohibition of all homosexual relations is also supported by the unanimous rejection of homosexuality in Jewish sources (see De Young 1990). For instance, Josephus (Ag. Ap. 2.24 §199) declares that the marriage of a man and woman is “according to nature” (κατὰ φύσιν, kata physin), and proceeds to say that the OT law demands the death penalty for intercourse between males. Both Philo (Spec. Laws 3.7 §38; cf. Abr. 26 §§133–36) and Josephus (Ag. Ap. 2.37 §273) specifically criticize homosexual relations as παρὰ φύσιν. The author of the Testament of Naphtali (3.3–4) sees homosexuality as a departure “from the order of nature,” and his appeal to creation in verse 3 reveals that he understands this in term of God’s created intention.
Scroggs (1983: 109–18) attempts to minimize Paul’s negative remarks on homosexuality in Rom. 1:26–27 by arguing that he is simply drawing on Hellenistic Jewish tradition, that probably only pederasty is being condemned, and that the focus of the section is theological rather than ethical. The first point reveals the weakness of Scroggs’s case. There is no evidence that Paul reverses the unanimous Jewish conviction that homosexuality was sinful (e.g., Gen. 19:1–28; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Deut. 23:17–18; Wis. 14:26; T. Levi 17.11; Sib. Or. 3.596–600; see also the above citations of Josephus and Philo; and Boughton 1992). Paul’s negative comments on homosexuality, even if they are traditional, signal his acceptance of the tradition. The claim that only an abusive form of homosexuality is prohibited, such as pederasty, suffers from lack of evidence. The wording of Rom. 1:26–27 is not restricted to a specific kind of homosexuality but is a general proscription of the activity. In fact, no mention is made of homosexual relations between men and boys but of “males with males” (ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσιν, arsenes en arsesin, v. 27). Moreover, the idea that pederasty is in view is contradicted by the reference to the homosexual acts of women in verse 26 (Malick 1993: 339; Byrne 1996: 76), for pederasty, by definition, involves men and boys, and evidence is lacking that women engaged in sexual activity with girls. Finally, Scroggs artificially separates theology from ethics in Pauline thought, implying that the vices listed would not be part of Paul’s ethical exhortations. But theology and ethics are closely wedded in all of Paul’s letters. Any attempt to drive a wedge between them is unsatisfactory. The rejection of God theologically is concretely illustrated in evil that is promulgated by human beings.
Sheppard (1985) admits that Paul’s rejection of homosexuality cannot be explained away but argues that loving homosexual relations can be accepted in the light of the canon as a whole and the recognition that our understanding of the Word of God advances as we gain more knowledge about homosexuality. To say that the whole of Scripture supports homosexuality is weak, since there is no canonical acceptance of homosexuality. Sheppard’s argument depends ultimately not on the canon, but on his conviction that recent study and human experience validate homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle. Furnish (1985: 79–80; so also M. Davies 1995) is more straightforward in saying that we can no longer accept Paul’s view on homosexuality, for he was limited in his understanding of it. For those who accept the Pauline proscription as authoritative (as I do), avoidance of homosexual relations is the path of happiness and holiness.
Schreiner, T. R. (1998). Romans (Vol. 6, pp. 93–97). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
Well, done good and faithful student of the Bible.
“To do would compromise my faith and violate my conscience.”
Everything else is wood, hay, and stubble, as it is written, His Word stands above all else. There is only one interpretation that is true—the simple truth that does not compromise the whole of scripture, God’s purpose and plan for that which He alone has ordained.
To speak forth these things in love to others who would like them to mean something other than what is written is more often than none perceived rather as an attack upon their very person. I think Ray Comfort addressed this by suggesting that we not focus so much upon sexual immorality, including homosexual practices, but rather to focus first and above all upon the human’s separation from God and God’s provision through His grace, love, and mercy by way of the shed blood of Jesus upon the cross. Otherwise, sin in general, then more specific as to cause the person to desire to repent and to turn away, to walk in obedience, no matter the cost, now knowing that their heart was wicked and from that wickedness and rebelliousness, the choices they were making were wrought by the things in the world, of the flesh, and by the many things Satan used to entice the flesh, the mind, and the spirit, to lead us astray in attaching to things that seemingly quench, fulfilled, and took away the pain, the suffering, the hurt, and the need to be loved in pseudo forms that were not only perverted, but led us to believe we could carve up God into our own image.
P.S. So too, this same struggle is found among those who are Christians in the psychological community, particularly when one would like to make those harmed to be responsible for those who continue to act out their addictive need for control and power while medicating upon those things that leads them back to making justification for having to do so. In other words, taking morality out of the equation and replacing it with tolerance and understanding of the lack of choice that one has over what they think, do or say or do not think, do, and say.
“Despite all the cultural and political attempts to suppress the truth, my guts (and the Scriptures) tell me that people know it anyway…and there is a backlash coming. May it come with grace and be spoken in love.”
It’s called persecution, Michael—this backlash, and it will come in force, particularly by those found within the “church,” far more vicious and insidiously, than what we know to be political or even as barbarously as what the world have yet witnessed currently or in the past.
As Christ have been called to do, so will we be as well and if we not able to do it now, we will not be prepare to do this when things become more evident that the CHURCH is being put through the fires while bearing witness to their faith and conscious.
Love is the most misunderstood and misused word among those who use it to manipulate, control, and seek to turn things upside down in spite of what we know to be the truth. All one have to do is to say to another is that when I am doing wrong, then you tell me that I am not, and that offends me and hurts me and violates me as a person. Yet, it is written:
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
In this, we need to examine our own hearts and be sure to rid it of any false or selfish desires that would blind us to our own hidden desire to maintain our positions, our reputation, or standing within the community, church, and society, so that we can, with a clear conscious speak the truth, wholly and completely, purely and without guile, knowing full well, in doing so we take the same risk and place ourselves in the same way as our Lord and Savior, Jesus did, and to that end, we too will be crucified by those who would called good evil and evil good.
Correction: @ 13 paragraph 6
” All one have to do is to say to another is that when I am doing wrong, then you tell me that I am not in God’s will or that I am not saved, or that I must change my heart, or that I cannot love whom I have no choice in whom I’m going to fall in love with, or that I cannot let my feelings dictate to me what is right or wrong, because it is not according to what the Bible has written, and that offends me and hurts me and violates me as a person, therefore, how can you say you are a Christian because when you say these things to me, it is being insensitive, unloving, and hateful. Yet, it is written:
In the first chapter of Romans, Paul tells us how humans did not worship the creator, but instead worshipped the created instead. And in so doing they exchange the natural orders of things into that which was not righteous.
“21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
In other words, God took His hand off of them and permitted them to fall further into the corruptible practices that the person was sowing and reaping due to being unrighteous, rebellious and narcissistic mindset.
People attached themselves to many things while justifying themselves and going so far as to calling that which is not of the Lord, but definitely that which has bonded them to people, places, and things that have served them to act out such things, while calling it love, normal, and genetically written upon their DNA. It really does take away a person having to be responsible for the choice they make. In the first chapter of Romans, Paul clears this up and tells us precisely how it is that people come to turning upside down that which God has already ordained and in this rebellious and self seeking narcissistic mindset, God does permit people to go their own way, even when it involves bonding with people in a manner that strikes at the very essence of our sexuality.
What more, as far as “being” born as a homosexual, this is still a hypothesis. Not one shred of evidence have been presented that proves that one is born as such. Only those who would like us to believe that there is something there, where nothing in the genes have yet been found to make it so, but would speak as if it is now an establish truth.
It is the type of vitriol that you write that actually drives some of us away from conservatism.
Even Tom Schreiner, about as conservative as they come, acknowledges that “there is no evidence that Paul understood the ‘nature’ of human beings in the individualized and psychological sense that is familiar to us in the twentieth century.”
Same-sex attraction is not a monolithic phenomena. To imply every 12 year old boy struggling with same-sex attraction is choosing their condition or that their same-sex attraction is the result of their suppression of the truth is *dead wrong*. The verdict may be out as to whether the cause of same-sex attraction is genetic or environmental, or a combination, but certainly one cannot say that the individual is at fault in all cases for their sexual orientation. One might instead say in some (not all) cases that the individual is a *victim* of the fallen condition of the world that we live in.
So, then what? For those of us who are men, there is not a greater urge in man than the urge to have sex. In the heterosexual, it produces all kinds of heterosexual sin. In the homosexual it produces the sin of homosexuality. To say or imply that everything is a choice and hold homosexuals accountable for their sexual sin in a way that heterosexuals are not held accountable for their sin is not just. And that’s the way many in the church see things in their self-righteous hypocrisy.
Sin is sin. Repentance is repentance. And marriage is marriage which doesn’t include homosexual unions. This doesn’t belong in the church at all.
Another good thought provoking article by Michael.
As members of His body, we are not responsible for other peoples feelings when we communicate the Truth in love and it offends them. Whether on this blog or in the local church body, we are only responsible for communicating the Truth in love.
Also not speaking up when we must is unloving. As His undershepherds we will be held accountable if we don’t. The key to communicating Truth is Psalms 85:10
You are looking things from a very worldly perspective. Yet, in part I will agree with you in that people don’t come to realize the seeds they have sown as a result of seemingly insignificant choices they make along the way.
We can choose how we love and who we love and in what manner we love. It is when we are led astray by those beliefs, values, and examples, that would give justification to that which we have come to think is normal and just part of “being a human” or that we are entitled to do or to be that separates from genuine loving relationships with others, the self, and with the one who laid His life down to set us free from such lies that makes you think that because you are a man, sex is what it is, rather than it is because it is what you have come to believe and have sown along the way to react or to be tempted or to give into or to entertain in any way, shape, or form.
PS Sex in itself is not wrong, nor is it the cause of temptation. We know that the brain is the sex organ that put into gear other organs such as the penis, vagina, testicles, and other erogenous zones. What you choose to believe about sex and the attitude you hold towards others determines when and if you will be turned onto that which was never yours to have had in the first place or have been ordained by God.to even entertained. You can’t be tempted, if you don’t desire and then feed that which is outside the confines of your marital vows.
If you were to see each person as being precious in His sight, I doubt seriously if you would feed your flesh by referring to others as being that which would elicit more thoughts that would cause you to sexualize and objectify another person. And isn’t this what Jesus has told us. What you think is normal is only a by product of years of being told that to be a male means that your sexual organs are out of control and you have no choice but to desire that which is not yours to have. So, just hang tough and take it to the Lord whenever, it happens. No, He didn’t say this at all, now did He. He said to get over yourself and to treat one another with love, respect, dignity, and worth. And when you are not, you are also treating Him the same. Sex, any type of sex, directly or indirectly, emotionally, and psychologically outside the marital union between one man and one woman is wrong, but can be overcome in Him. Now pick up your mat and Walk.
I love gay people.
“But, Jim, if you love them, you’ll speak the truth in love.”
They’ve heard your “truth”. They bear the scars of “abomination”, and need no more “wounds from a friend”.
I hug and cry and laugh because I love them.
“Jim, you’re a Christian… I love Tom. Do you think it’s a sin?” “Dude, I’ve been a Christian for long, long time, and I honestly don’t know and I really don’t care. If you were promiscuous, I’d say yes, but you’re not. You gotta figure that out on your own. I just know that God really loves you, because I really love you, and I don’t really love a lot of people. Gimme a hug.”
Plenty of “gay stuff” going on in the first century, yet so little is said in Scripture. God knows we’re dumb and hard hearted, and bangs the same drum over and over in the NT. God repeats Himself so often in the gospels and epistles, but says so little about homosexuality. I remain unconvinced and confused.
Michael if possible can you elaborate on:
“10. Despite all the cultural and political attempts to suppress the truth, my guts (and the Scriptures) tell me that people know it anyway…and there is a backlash coming. May it come with grace and be spoken in love.”
Curiousity got me on this one. Enjoy Romans!
My wife worked in the offices of the neonatal department at our local hospital.
She became aware of some things that the general public is unaware of concerning babies.
Just to throw a curve ball into this discussion of homosexuality; there are babies born with both sets of sex organs, and some others are born with ambiguous organs .
The physician and the parents discuss which sex the baby should be and the doctor does the surgery and prescribes the hormones to assure that the chosen sex becomes the reality.
In other cases the doctor just assigns the sex without the consent or knowledge of the parents and leaves it at that.
Down the road some of these children are attracted to the same sex in some cases.
There are cases where they eventually reverse the decision made by the parents and the doctor by becoming transexuals.
Does this mean that these individuals are to be condemned?
A male in a womans body and a woman in a males body by the decision of others when they were just newborn babies.
Life is not as black and white as this current discussion would like it to be.
When you think that you are right, you could be wrong…
When you think that you are wrong, you could be right…
Things are never what they at first appear to be.
It is not so easy to judge these individuals is it?
Any person that have or is practicing sexual immorality, including those who claims to be gay, personally that I know, knows that I have much love for them, yet at the same time know why God does not condone their sexual preferences. As many arguments and defense mechanisms that they will employ to sidestep what God has stated about sexual immorality and that which constitutes a genuine marriage in His sight, they also know they do this as well.
The bottom line with each one of them is that they will do as they think to do that they are entitled to do within their heart, no matter what anyone else says and no matter what the consequences will bring upon them or have had to be born by others. Not one of them have denied that they know the difference between right and wrong, but every one of them will quickly attempt to push the “love” button or attempt to distract by crying hypocrisy. Doesn’t establish truth, but only serves to push aside the need to get to the real issues of the heart.
That is, sexual immorality is being perpetrated while the scripture is being negated, rewritten, or totally discounted in an effort to rid one self of having to give up that which is an abomination to the Lord and is the result of seeking after those things that provide a temporary solution to issues long overdue to be addressed within the heart.
God still loves them as much as He would if they were not caught up in these types of bondages of the flesh. Nevertheless, sin is sin and in this, as Paul reminds us, anyone who practices sexual immorality will not inherit the Kingdom of God. No matter, how much you claimed to be in the Lord.
If this hurts your feelings or strike an offense in any, then my prayer would be also that on that Day, you would be standing at least knowing that I have tried to prick your conscious while telling you that it is not due to such things as being “conservative” or anything along some denominational party line, but rather, it is because the topic was raised by Michael and it provided an opportunity for me to speak boldly, in love, and a firm conviction that it needed to stated for anyone who might need to hear it while being comforted by others thinking that the consequences of sexual immorality is far less serious than what many would have others to believe.
It is not about saving one’s feelings–sensitive, yes, but drawing back, absolutely not!! For the sake of your very soul or the soul of another, not even and that my friend, is what love really is about.
By the way who is Tom S. compared to the Word of God. Are you saying that God does not understand all the biological, physiological, psychological, emotional, and spiritual components that interweaves and make humans what and who they are and who they can or would be given x, y, and z? Surely, you are not saying this. Your argument is weak and as I said taken from a worldly perspective, totally, not giving credit the One who has put forth that has been created and for what purpose it was created in all of its
So when He tells us that sexual immorality is sin and that anyone who practices them will not inherit His Kingdom and because it is not mention as many times as you think it ought to be mentioned if it was all that serious of an issue, therefore, He didn’t mean what He said about it the first, second, or third time.
Is that what you are banking the right to lust after and to have that which He has not ordained you to have outside the marital vows between one wife and one man??? And then you call what I have to say as being that which is driving some away from what you framed to be that as being “conservative.” So far, I have not heard one word from you as taking personal responsibility for the choices that people make concerning sexual immorality, even though you know it to be wrong. But rather, have attempted to blame me for the choice they make and using the conservative button as a scapegoat for not repenting and ridding oneself of such notions that planted the seeds and sowed the fruits of continuing in a lifestyle and mindset of sexual immorality.
These that you speak of are not the same as those who claims to be born homosexuals. They are human beings that were born with both sets or parts of both gender genitalias. Far different than being born with a full set of one or the other genitalias, in that either can be chosen and then acclimated to it respective gender. Many end up being androgynous and do not choose to be like a eunuch. That is, they have no desire to have sex with anyone. Not that they cannot love or have healthy relationships, for they can. It is just that they do not place such a high priority in seeking out sex or having a sexual relationship or having, a relationship that includes sex. that’s all.
Yes, some hop back and forth and play both the male and female. Doesn’t mean that God approves as He is very specific what marriage is and what it is not. For instance, hopping back and forth from one partner to another, depending on what you mood might be today and what desire you may want on your plate for today.
When you frame sex and marriage in God’s terms, the world’s view become moot and love, sex, and marriage takes on a whole other perspective. It really is that simple after all.
I want to share an interesting experience I had.
My dog, Peedee, had a cancerous teat. It leaked fluid and swelled up.
I got on the net and did a lot or research. I found out that cancer is very vulnerable to the alkalinity of baking soda.
A doctor in Italy had discovered that when sucrose mixed with baking soda was given to his cancer patients it cured them.
He was disbarred from practicing medicine because of his insistence that he was curing his patients with this mixture .
I also had read that DMSO will take anything mixed with it into the skin instantly.
So I figured that I would mix maple syrup with baking soda and DMSO and apply it daily upon PeeDee’s teat.
When the vet biopsied the cancerous tumor the lab sent back a report that it was one of the most invasive forms of cancer.
They reported that all of the cancer cells were found to be completely dead in the tumor. Something that they said was very unusual; they had never seen this before with this form of cancer.
My vet, as a result requested permission to check out PeeDee’s lymph nodes for cancer since this type of cancer normally would have spread out to the lymph nodes .
His test showed no cancer in Peedee.
I told him what I had done and he looked at me like I was some kind of a wacko hippie tree hugger.
The lady who works at a store where I buy my paint informed me that her husband had a brain tumor.
I shared the above story of PeeDee with her and suggested she try giving her husband table spoons of maple syrup mixed with baking soda daily.
She did that and guess what? His brain tumor went away.
Apparently, from what I read online, the cancer cells no longer take in oxygen and have converted to taking in sucrose.
The mixture I made is the perfect Trojan horse. The cancer cells take in the sugar with the high alkaline baking soda and it kills them.
Now I am not suggesting that this is a cancer cure or that anyone should try it instead of the medical advice of professionals .
But it is something that actually did happen to my Dog and to the paint store ladies husband.
To read about someone who wants to end their life because of a brain tumor deeply saddens me when I think of what I just shared with you…
One more thing.
A couple have divorced and we as a result ended up with their 15 year old dog. We have a lot of rescued animals and gladly took in this old girl.
The old dog had a cancerous tumor on her side that leaked fluid when lightly squeezed. The vet did not want to do anything because of her advanced age. Her previous owner told us that the tumor had been there for quite some time.
So I mixed up some DMSO with maple syrup and baking soda and applied it topically daily to the tumor.
It has stopped leaking and is now just a small scab…
. “Many end up being androgynous and do not choose to be like a eunuch. That is, they have no desire to have sex with anyone. Not that they cannot love or have healthy relationships, for they can. It is just that they do not place such a high priority in seeking out sex or having a sexual relationship or having, a relationship that includes sex. that’s all.”
Other than completely making this up, where exactly did you get your information about how they live?
Jim @ # 19:
I’m with you on this one. I couldn’t care less what a person’s sexual orientation is. I’m far more concerned with what they are as a decent human being and if they treat others the way they would want to be treated.
davidsurfer51 @ # 21:
I love the curve ball you’ve thrown! Real life is not the black-and-white polarity religion and its adherents would like it to be.
Linda Pappas @ # 22
Truth in love? Or is it just code-speak for a whip and a club used to bring others round’ to the face value reading you have of Paul? I’m eternally grateful that the Founders of our great Nation didn’t take Paul too seriously (Romans chap. 13) when they rebelled against King George and the British Mercantile system.
I usually take your advise as low level comedy routine – but tell me how this works – “So far, I have not heard one word from you as taking personal responsibility for the choices that people make concerning sexual immorality, even though you know it to be wrong. ”
How is one to take responsibility for the choices made by another?
Fascism is not always done with a gun. It is not always the haven of the right wing.
It is culturally raging… it will be done in courts and privy counsels.
Wanted to add this to my above post.
How is it facism if the courts ensure individual liberties supersede the evangelical Sharia law? Your god and bible saw homosexuality is wrong so you believe it should be illegal to marry, that is your right. But the law is set to protect the individual rights of the citizen. Just because in some states a majority do not want gay marriage doesn’t mean that should be the law. We do not live in a democracy after all, the majority doesnt get to trample the rights of the individual.
There’s a young gay couple in my building. One of the guys walks to work every day. I see him coming down the sidewalk, knowing he’s going to have to pass the crusty old Vietnam vet/ex cop who is always outside with his dog. I see him slow down, take a deep breath and literally lift his chin up, ready to face his first obstacle. Before he makes it to the gate, he’ll pass the ex prison guard, who is permanently affixed to his patio chair. We’re a “nice” neighborhood, so they don’t verbalize what they’re thinking, but their hatred is visible to all. When he makes it to the main road, sometimes he’ll hear “fag” yelled from a passing car before making it to work. He puts in his hours, only to face the gauntlet again at the end of his work day. While I admire his strength, my heart hurts as I watch him gather it.
Yeah baby, livin’ the dream. I’m sure it’s a choice….
I don’t believe I mentioned marriage.
When it comes to sexual immorality, scripture is very clear, God will judge the person who practices adultery, the fornicator, and the homosexual, how? They will not inherit the Kingdom. Jesus defined marriage as between a man and women. Then Paul of course lays out Romans 1 which is the strongest condemnation against such practices as was common in the Roman culture of that day among some.. We are seeing a strong trend in our culture turning away from God. But this trend is moving towards embracing the gods of past pagan cultures. The god of sexual pleasure, god of power etc. Most people in the western evangelical churches during the 70s where on the same page regarding this issue. But fast forward to today. We are seeing false pastors and its members getting swept away in a Rob Bell type Christian religion, denying hell, denying that certain sins of the flesh are actually not sin at all with the NT Jesus. This disturbing trend is just par for the course. It pains me to see this trend, because I myself feel so alone and isolated, because of my simple and fundamental view of scripture that I believe was not taught so much by man, but hours reading and praying as journey through His Word.
Someone explain to me how something that requires a license from the state is a “right”?
Does that work for anything else, license-related? Anything?
David I read your post with interest re: your wife’s experiences.
At the same time, I though of how the abortion discussion almost always opens with an example of a dad raping his daughter and getting her pregnant.
My thoughts thus were the same. Just as with all the non-rape, non-incest abortions, can we agree that the vast, vast majority of homosexual behavior is not due to babies born with dual sex organs with doctors choosing which one to eliminate.
That the man or woman having hetero-sex within marriage for many years who leaves the spouse and children to pursue a homosexual lifestyle is not exactly to be celebrated – by God or mankind.
I had a long diatribe that would not have been helpful, I struggle with watching people suffer such horrid deaths, my experience goes into the hundreds over my “career”. Not an exaggeration. It is truly hard to outlive most of those you teach. I never really asked God much about this because it was burned into my soul that we all have it coming and a pot never questions the action of the potter.
I could never figure out why gays (homosexuals), transsexuals, is such a contraversal topic in the church. We have heard all the arguements on both sides. Yet one side, is right and the other wrong. Some might even argue that its a gray area citing there own personal experiences. Choosing not to take a position at all.
I knew several same sex folks in the church, actually alot. They were basically told to get the hell out and well blank off. Of course those terms were not used because naughty words are wrong. Im still trying to figure out as a celibate heterosexual Christian I am in sin. Trust me it I am in sin because I have not gotten married. That makes me even worse, I am either a closet apostate homosexual or a pervert. No real wiggle room there. I no longer discuss such issues in the evangelical world, actually outside of the weather and pleasantries I no longer discuss any issues with the local faith communities at all. You know when you step back and just look at it, it really is a very strange religion it really is.
hmm, I did state this as if it was his responsibility for him to take responsible for the choices that another person’s makes, didn’t I. What I meant to say was:
.” So far, I have not heard one word from you as acknowledging, that you know this to be wrong and that those leading such a lifestyle do this by choice even though scripture tells them that it a type of sexual immorality must be put away and not named among those who claimed to be in Christ, Jesus. But rather, what I do hear you saying by using me as an excuse and a scapegoat by playing the ‘conservative” button, that I am to blame for such a person who choose to refuse to repent and to take on a new mindset that does not promote, excuse, or justify the practice of like gender sexual practice, preference, or lifestyle.
This is pure manipulation on the part of those who would like to pervert, negate, or rewrite God’s word to satisfy their own desires while reaping the benefits that are inherent in those who are truly in the Lord. That is, when being told they need to repent even with the greatest amount of patience, love, and humbleness being communicated, then they will say that either the person was too abrupt, or not compassionate enough or not understanding or not enough of whatever had been demonstrated, therefore, they were not drawn to the truth, nor were they inclined to consider what the person had shared, thus it is not their fault, but the fault of the one who spoke the truth and called them to the Light to repent, that they chose not to do so, and chose in turn to continue in their way instead.
Thank you, MLD for drawing this to my attention. Your sarcasm is unwarranted, however.
First, permit to define the difference between:
Androgynous = having the characteristics of both male and female in one individual.
Hermaphrodite = uniting the characteristics of both sexes.
Eunuch as: one that has either been castrated of their gentalia or one who has castrated themselves by not electing to be sexual, sexualized, but being a loyal guard over the bed chambers that belongs to his master.
Back to Androgeny: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-androgyny.htm
Androgenous are born with either or gender fixens, however, they are by all other identification non sexual in sexually identifying themselves as one or the other.
Erik @ 31
No one in America has freedom or rights any longer.
The police in America have been given powers that the forefathers of this country came here to escape.
There is a law called “Civil Forfeiture” that allows them to actually rob the American public legally.
And they have been using it!
(Warning: may contain expletives)
Steve @ 36
Not my wives experiences as you suggest.
Just somethings she was made aware of during the course of her employment at the Hospital Neonatal unit.
“That the man or woman having hetero-sex within marriage for many years who leaves the spouse and children to pursue a homosexual lifestyle is not exactly to be celebrated – by God or mankind.”
Clearly a self – determined choice made by the man or the woman in your above statement.
I don’t see any celebration of this in my post.
What I mentioned was babies with no self – determined choice in the matter.
You are right, the vast majority of humans have made self – determined choices in this matter.
Babies don’t make self – determined choices in the stated examples of my post ( 21 ) .
Are they to be held responsible for what others have done to them was the parameter of my posting.
Are they guilty if by default they were born one sex and made to be another by others?
Thusly if they are female appearing bodily but actually male internally, having male desires towards females, can they be judged for this as lesbians?
And vice versa if they are male appearing bodily but actually female internally?
This is an area that we rarely see discussed when the topic of homosexuality is discussed by Christians.
I myself was not aware of these things until my wife alerted me to them.
We Christians can focus on things and polarize quickly at times without exploring the full extent and angle points of perspective.
My post was just another perspective, hopefully counterbalancing the rigidity of some perspectives I read here.
Michael: you wrote: “… the text of Romans 1 obliterates the current social and religious attempts to legitimize homosexuality and gay marriage.”
There are four bases in the American game of baseball. You need to touch all four bases to get a ‘run scored’.
Let me help you with your reasoning. Let us use a runner called ‘marrying a divorced person’ in our correspondence.
First base: What is sin? Why is this a sin? How severe is this sin? Is there a victim in this sin? Do victims matter? and so forth….
Second base: What is mercy? Who decides the acceptable mercy model?
Third base: What is the ‘wisdom from heaven’ concerning this subject? [Create your draft summary sentence concerning ‘marrying a divorced person’ and ‘what then they should do’. Make certain your draft sentence meets all the criteria of James 3:17]
Home plate: What is best governance (Fed/State) model for handling the conclusions of first, second, and third base? What is the model based upon (New Covenant, Old Covenant, non-religious government models, etc.)?
Concerning your quote, may I offer that you are stuck with a runner on first base? It appears that your sentence attempted to go from first base to home plate… and skip second base (the questions of mercy) and third base (the wisdom from heaven).
Thus, I suggest you abandon your current ‘runner’ for a moment. Let the subject of homosexuality go for a time. Instead, run ‘marrying a divorced person’ through the bases. Be sure to address all four bases as you develop your ‘doctrine’ concerning ‘marrying a divorced person’.
This use of parallel logic will help you come to grips with all four of the secondary arguments that should be handled for a well-rounded nuanced approach to subjects.
Although these four bases are secondary arguments, and not primary arguments, I found that these helped me to reach Biblical and Christ-like conclusions years ago concerning sexual sins.
Hi Muff Potter,
As for your question:
“Truth in love? Or is it just code-speak for a whip and a club used to bring others round’ to the face value reading you have of Paul? I’m eternally grateful that the Founders of our great Nation didn’t take Paul too seriously (Romans chap. 13) when they rebelled against King George and the British Mercantile system.’
A nation is established upon that which foundation is set upon the idealism inherent within the political, economic, and religious belief that lies in the hearts of its leaders and those who support them. Whether, the United States was truly founded upon scripture is debatable. Nevertheless, to use scripture to justify to disobeying it or to twist scripture in order to accommodate ones belief and ends does not change the truth of who God is and what He has set forth concerning how we are to conduct our selves towards one another.
In this, we all know that people will use scripture as a whip and a club to bring others to fall in line with the program, so to speak. It is my heartfelt prayer that most who are genuine Christians will be in their hearts genuinely more concerned for the souls of others than drawing back to avoid speaking the truth to satisfy or to gain the acceptance of those who think that it is much better to compromise the truth in order to gain unity or avoid a backlash from those who use scripture when, as it is written, when it is convenient, but then change it to accommodate themselves when it is not.
The United States is not or was it founded or established to be a theocracy. it was primarily established by those who were pretty liberal in their theology and exhibited by many by the lifestyle that they chose to lead. Yet, there were those who were quite conservative in their theology as well as in their politics and in the lifestyle they too chose to lead.
As a people, a nation, or an individual, the USA was set to be governed not by the Bible, but by that which was set in place by the Constitution, which by the way at the time did not recognize men who were of the African American race to be fully human, nor did they recognize women to have the wherewithal to vote or to participate in this process. Nevertheless, over time many amendments were added that changed this and in turn the USA became a melting pot of many faiths, political groups, race and cultures.
People from all walks of life learn to have their voices heard through a variety of means using resources that would enable them to be seen, heard, and represented by the process of election, protest, media, and other less then ethical and honorable behavior towards one another. Some being peacefully done and some costing the lives, reputations, and livelihoods of others or the self seeking to obtain that which they felt they had the right and were entitled to have similar or like benefit as a citizen of the USA.
Where am I going with this?
Using the same book and chapter as you did when saying that you were glad that men decided not to follow scripture when being challenged as a nation by King George, I will now use the same book and chapter to say this:
11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Muff, our nation and the rights which the constitution gives to every citizen is not the Bible, nor is the governing system that we use is that of a theocracy. In this, I totally support every person’s right to follow the dictates of their hearts and at the same time acknowledge and accept that the laws on the books and our political system can accommodate whatever it wishes to do so. I also understand that in most states adultery is not illegal and that a child who has a headache in school cannot be given an aspirin without the parent permission, yet to have an abortion, her parents does not needed to be informed. I understand that if you have the right attorney, it does matter what the truth is and I understand that there is a constant war between if the poor will be able have the basic essentials that enables them and their children and spouses to survive. and most of all I understand something even more important to me as a Christian.
We cannot legislate morality, nor can we force others to abide with the God of the Bible. At the same time neither can those who do not walk in according the Bible cause one of us to compromise or to negotiate the territory they would like to have rewritten in His word
In this, as a Christian, it is far better for me to follow God, rather than anything that would go against His word. For this nation, one day will pass away and many will be lost due to thinking that as an American, the rights given to people due to its founding amendments, principles, concepts, and governing system were founded more upon that which emulates Rome and its society, rather that of the church born again in Christ.
Yet I do support the right of every person in the USA to fight for their rights under what has been established by its supporting constitutional rights, as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of another to be able to be safe and secure on the streets, at work, in the home and in any organization which they may be a part. Do I agree with these rights===no, not necessarily, yet I respect that they are there.
But as a Christian, you can be sure that it is upon those precepts, laws, and principles that were handed down to us and expanded upon by those during the N.T. times that I too will stand in the gap and speak the truth even in the midst of a society that have and do not know the Lord nor honor His Word, except when it is convenient or when it is time to win votes or to pass some push some agenda through in order to practice that which may serve them, but not necessarily the One who is the way, the life, and the truth.
“helped me to reach Biblical and Christ-like conclusions years ago concerning sexual sins.”
I would love to hear more about these conclusions and and particularly with regard to whether sexual sins includes consummation of same sex attraction.
#3. Whenever a church has to hire a public relations firm to control the flow and content of information, be assured that the truth is being suppressed in unrighteousness…
For a great while
Oops…for a great while I have been troubled by the reality that Christians are truth shaping rather than truth telling. It is a process we all fall into… it is how we turn lies into truth.
This is an area that we rarely see discussed when the topic of homosexuality is discussed by Christians.
David, like I said, I read with interest your comments..seriously I did.
However, there is a reason “this is an area we rarely see discussed”
Like with the incestual rape question that always leads the abortion discussion, how about if I agree to homosexual marriage between two people born such as you described who were “fixed” (for lack of a better word) by their doctors as infants, and not for the rest of the homosexual community.
There are folks who are mischaracterizing what Jesus said about marriage and what Paul said in Romans, and there are other folks espousing opinions as if they were facts or themselves as if they are experts. The only real wisdom I’ve read this morning on this thread is from the following people I’d like to thank:
Muff Potter #27,
Jim #32, and
Caryn LeMur #44
That should be , the way, the truth and the life.
No constitution of any nation supersedes that which opens the door to enable one to come into His kingdom. For it is written:
11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Jean @ 50
Doesn’t surprised me in the least.
Hold on to your hat, but I think that your whole article is absolutely dead on..
Wonders never cease. thanks for the read.
It is pretty clear that Michael’s #1 was not a public policy comment it was a comment about Biblical interpretation. Public policy is another matter. The incessant attempts of people who insist that the Bible is not the basis of public policy to tilt the Bible in the favor of their own views of public policy is amusing. Calling it wisdom is hilarious.
I assume the baseball – marrying a divorced person illustration involves the license with the state too? In other words, Christians do not seek to stop such licenses being issued, so why fight against licenses for homosexuals.
If that is the conclusion (and if not then I am truly lost as to the point), the problem with that illustration is that often divorce is perfectly justified in the eyes of the Lord, and there is no issue whatsoever with “marrying a divorced person”. Then, in addition, even if a divorce was sinful in the eyes of the Lord, it may have been forgiven and/or repented of.
Such is not the case for the homosexual seeking marriage….ever. Res ipsa loquitor.
I see people living in their own filth, freezing cold or boiling hot, prostituting their bodies, sleeping on concrete…because they choose to not give up their sins. They make that tradeoff because the sin is worth the misery. I speak of the people that have had opportunities granted them by their loved ones, but choose to keep going back like the dog to the vomit.
Or maybe they have no choice either??
In any event, it sure seems to be quite different than dealing with suburban body language and the random verbal slur.
Steve @ 55: May I offer that you work first base carefully. This is not a trap. I have been careful to show the various steps… the questions… and to avoid giving answers.
And you have me curious…. so, by what criteria did you determine that “… there is no issue whatsoever with marrying a divorce person”?
I wasn’t addressing divorce.
I was addressing what I believe the Bible teaches on the subject of homosexuality.
I stated my conclusion.
My goal is to be be biblical as the Bible is the only document we have that I believe contains the words of God.
What I have done is to re establish in my own mind that despite the prevailing winds of culture and politics that this behavior is sinful and falls short of God’s ideal in creation.
The fact that one has reached an understanding about a particular issue is only the beginning of the process…acknowledging that such behaviors are sinful doesn’t exclude grace or mercy in the rest of the process, indeed it brings them both to the fore.
If there is no sin or offense, there is no need for either…if there is then our next step is to seek wisdom on how to apply both.
We need to wrestle with this passage…do we want to mark as acceptable and good something that God calls a judgment?
If I am misinterpreting this text..if the church has misinterpreted it for 2000 years…then what is it saying?
. so, by what criteria did you determine that “… there is no issue whatsoever with marrying a divorce person”?
I heard Brian Brodersons son, the one who lives in NY, is homosexual.
Thanks, Michael, for an insightful Monday list (even if I’m going through it on Tues). It is a good reminder for me to be careful and not suppress the truth, but instead to share it out of love and compassion.
I’ve heard nothing of the sort and wonder why you would find it good to reprint a rumor and gossip.
Ok, so the NT addresses what some believe is modern day homosexuality what, three times? How many times has the issue been addressed here in the last year?
Your “truth” has been spoken “in love” and the gays get it. Ask one what Christians think of their lifestyle. Message heard, job done.
Thank you, EricL.
When do we get to talk about gluttony? Or letting the govt and the culture have more influence over our children than we do because we’re selfish sloths.
I hear where you are coming from and I affirm your heart in this matter.
The other side of the coin is that many in Christendom are saying now that homosexuality is not a sin.. if it is, then we are not being gracious and compassionate by speaking otherwise.
Like gays, liberal clergy already know what you believe.
People like myself, who are generally hold to a very conservative theology (for example, I’m a young earther), are familiar with the conservative take on the “gay verses’ and remain unconvinced.
In other words, it’s all been said and heard. OP aside, the comments in this thread persuaded no one, and yeah, I’m asking myself why I participated.
If there is a biblically based refutation for what I wrote I’m all ears.
I spent a lot of time reviewing all the stuff I could find…and had no choice but to conclude what I did.
The question for me isn’t about how whether or not homosexuality is sinful, it’s about how we interact with sinners in grace and mercy.
In other words, what do we do with what we know?
One more thing…
I don’t write as if I just received word from Sinai.
I write what I’m thinking about in order that we all can have thoughtful dialog.
I have nothing to lose if I’m proven wrong…
“In other words, what do we do with what we know?”
Romans 1:32 – “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
What do we do? We do not give approval.
We can meet them as sinners equal in the sight of God, but tell them that they are sinners and need a Saviour.
And this applies to all, not just homosexuals.
I suppress the truth – always have. If my wife says, “does this make my butt look big?” I ain’t touching that one. 😉
“Or letting the govt and the culture have more influence over our children than we do because we’re selfish sloths”
We are the government – we are the culture.
I agree with MLD: He does suppress the truth 🙂
Homosexuality is a world of confusion and simply can’t be reduced to an act of physical sex.
While the discussion is over Roman’s chapter one, the direction given the New Nation Israel as they enter the Land of Promise isn’t just about the sexual act. What does it mean when old Duet. say men and women shouldn’t take on the mantel of the other? Is that purely speaking of what clothes we wear or is it something else?
Some how we reduce love to the act of sex and forget it’s so much more than that and being a woman or a man isn’t just about sex and or having children, it is also a vital part of community and the completion of that community.
Why is it when men want to be women they choose the current cultural view of women? Or is it just me who notices that men who either dress in drag or become “transgendered” almost always take on the fantasy cultural view of what it means to be a woman? Maybe we men think wearing those short skirts, showing a bunch of cleavage, and walk all day in shoes which just plain hurt is what it means to be a woman? Of course having that “package,” a six pack, and three days stubble is what it means to be a man?
Oh and could the acceptance of homosexual sex also model the desires of others to participate in similar manner with their opposite sex spouse/partner?
It’s a world of chaos and confusion, a world who’s author isn’t the God of creation.
A special selection for Jean 😉
I know so many of us want to be loving and gracious and yet hold true to God ‘s word.
This issue of homosexuality is heart breaking for many of us. God help us to speak the truth in love and with much grace.
The reality is we have seen a massive change in this country on this issue. Not some gradual move, but radical and extreme. Just in 2008 Obama and Biden were clearly anti-gay marriage, Obama referencing his Christian faith as a big part of his reasoning. With Biden saying in a debate that he and Palin were 100% in agreement on the issue. 15 years ago the idea of civil unions was the progressive cause and now if 100% of the Christians said pro-civil union we would be called homophobic bigots.
Remember when the issue was framed in terms of inheritance and hospital visits? Now its all about one word – equality.
The other reality is that Christian forums were not discussing this with any degree of accommodation as they are today – simply because the CULTURE was not doing so to any degree.
So the Church has either moved downstream in accommodating with the culture, or has resigned to surrender the battle. And if the latter, the sad thing for me to see is the self-justifications that actually surrender is the proper Biblical response and actually will advance the gospel even more.
All the more as I see now brothers and sisters having their businesses, their jobs, their freedoms (at least outside the walls of their church) under attack – and nobody is attacking anyone on gluttony or frankly accepting any other sin we preach against from the Scriptures.
This sin is unique, the only sin we could name where society wants full voiced affirmation of its nobleness.
“So the Church has either moved downstream in accommodating with the culture, or has resigned to surrender the battle.”
Just like it did with divorce, right Steve? Does your church perform weddings of Christians who were previously divorced?
The swift change you see is the same as we saw in the 60-70’s. It is a cry for CIVIL rights for a marginalized part of our community. I cannot speak to the biblical as I don’t believe the bible however the church fighting so hard against a secular union officiated by the state is an issue
Just like it did with divorce, right Steve? Does your church perform weddings of Christians who were previously divorced?
A great example, Jean. The “progressives” in this country led the charge for “no fault” divorce back in the day, and eventually the church caved right along and now we see divorce stats in the church that are similar to the world’s.
Not sure why you would use that though in this discussion on your end, unless you think you really have a gotcha sort of question there or something against me personally.
Our church does not perform weddings. We are not a meeting hall to be rented out. As a pastor I perform weddings, sometimes at the church sometimes elsewhere. And every wedding I perform is first vetted in great detail concerning the future husband and wife, and prior marriages is just one of many things in the equation.
(From our form – stated right up front) It is also our belief that performing wedding ceremonies is an accommodation by Calvary Chapel and its ministers, to the members of Calvary Chapel. It is not something we are obligated to do. This means that if we feel that you and your fiancé are not ready, or should not be married for any reason, we will decline to perform your wedding or continue the pre-marriage counseling.
“Just like it did with divorce, right Steve?”
Jean – and that too is the church’s shame.
the church fighting so hard against a secular union officiated by the state is an issue
There is where you are mistaken. Just because American citizens with Christian convictions are exercising their voice in the public square does not equate to “the church” fighting against a “secular union”
And once more I repeat (probably to more silence) the state’s role is in the licensing – not the officiating (though they can accommodate that too). I ask where else in society is anything requiring a license equated to a right (civil right or otherwise)
Eric…it is good to see you here again.
I hope you and yours are well…
I have nothing against you personally. To me Christians are family. So, I think of you like that uncle that I don’t mind seeing on holidays, but I probably would want to be next door neighbors 🙂
Now, why did I bring up divorce in the context of this discussion? Because Jesus is clear that believers who divorce cannot remarry. Officiating such a marriage would be blessing adultery. The same Protestant churches which are against performing same-sex unions bless adultery by heterosexuals. That is rank hypocrisy. How can a pastor speak truth in love to a gay person, if he/she ignores the sin of the heterosexual?
“Because Jesus is clear that believers who divorce cannot remarry.”
This is incorrect, Jean. Some may, and some may not, depending on the circumstances.
I could bring up about a dozen instances where we are guilty of institutional hypocrisy.
Does this mean we no longer are able to identify sin as the Bible defines it?
As I wrote…we need to clean up our own house, but we can’t simply do away with the concept of sin.
Michael, I’m not arguing that any of the sexual immorality in the Bible is not sin, but when the Christian majority, which has gone post-biblical on the the sexual issues that affect it, use the Bible as a weapon of righteous indignation against a minority, I just don’t like the way the issue is being handled.
I don’t like the way the issue is handled either.
However I hate the fact that my child and his generation are being indoctrinated into anti-Christian doctrine and and are being exposed to huge confusion over gender issues.
Jim, my statement came right from Mark X and Luke XVI. Note that I said “believers.”
1 Cor 7 has much to say on divorce as well.
Papiaslogia, I agree, but it doesn’t controvert the issue I addressed.
Adultery and abandonment are reasons for biblical divorce.
“Adultery and abandonment are reasons for biblical divorce.”
There are two separate issues: (1) Are there grounds for divorce and, if so, what are they; and (2) Are there grounds for remarriage and, if so, what are they. Your quotation addresses the first issue, which I did not address. I was addressing the second issue in the context of two believers originally married in the church.
If we were to address the first issue, while we could find biblical reasons for divorce, the Protestant church as gone post-biblical there too.
So much for Sola Scriptura.
“Now, why did I bring up divorce in the context of this discussion? Because Jesus is clear that believers who divorce cannot remarry. Officiating such a marriage would be blessing adultery.
I agree, but it doesn’t controvert the issue I addressed.”
It most certainly does go against the issue you addressed.
You made a blanket statement that Christians who are divorce cannot remarry – and that’s not true in EVERY case.
You then took that false statement and ran with it to show that Christians are harder on gay sin versus divorce/adultery, and call us hypocrites for doing so. You can’t make false statements and build a case on them – that’s a logical fallacy.
No one is ignoring sin here – just getting some perspective.
Jean, as the others have said, you are off on the divorce issue. I will let them attempt to correct you
but my lone addition would be to add that 40-50 years ago we would be having a similar discussion as to divorce, and I would have been on the side against no fault divorce, and you would be on the side, if not supporting it, at least pointing to some other sin in the church that makes our opposition to no fault divorce misguided in some manner.
You can’t play the “rank hypocrisy” card with someone whose beliefs are not hypocritical. Just because people before I was even around caved on the divorce issue seems to be your excuse to argue that I should be silent on the gay marriage issue….and you seem to have double downed despite my already telling you that I vet marriages before I perform them.
One more comment before I depart, Jean. You can’t possibly understand what Jesus was saying (and why) when asked about divorce if you are unfamiliar with two names…Hillel and Shammai. And what these two rabbis taught, and their respective followings.
If you are not familiar with them, please read up. It is essential.
paps drops some Jay Adams on Jean, and Steve gives him homework. Jean got NANC’d 🙂
I don’t claim to be infallible, so if my #84 is in in error, please correct me, and I will stand corrected. Only tell me specifically from the Bible where I am in error, because I try to be faithful to the text whenever I comment on what the Bible says.
“You can’t possibly understand what Jesus was saying (and why) when asked about divorce if you are unfamiliar with two names…Hillel and Shammai.”
If Jesus thought I needed to study those names to understand his plain words, then why didn’t He, Matthew, Mark or Luke tell me about them? You and your “can’t possibly understand” and “essential”; give me a break professor.
In every divorce there are two parties: the one seeking the divorce, and the one who is not – the victim.
In both Jesus(Mark 10) and Pauls(1 Cor 7) words the victim is not the guilty party. The guilty party is the one who is getting remarried and thus committing adultery. If that occurs, the victim is free to remarry. Do you understand the difference? It is possible that a Christian could get divorced(the victim) and remarry without being an adulterer.
Also, the passage from Mark 10, in verses 6-9, Jesus demolishes any argument for homosexual marriage.
Comment 100 in moderation…..I will catch up later…..:)
Michael @ 58: In direct answer to your question about Romans Chapter 1, I would offer that the intent of the chapter is shown in the sudden conclusion offered at Romans Chapter 2. Within the build-up to the conclusion (our Chapter 1), the acts of male-male intercourse/sex acts (and fem-fem) combined with idol worship are condemned. Some readers will therefore conclude that all same-sex acts are also condemned. Other readers will conclude that all idol worship (with temple prostitutes) is condemned.
Michael @ 66: It would seem then, that you are at ‘second base’, and have decided the outcome of ‘first base’, so to speak.
First base covered ‘what is sin?’ So, you have studied the arguments pro & con, and believe that you have an answer.
[Btw, your original argument is that both “homosexuality” (that is,the orientation) is ‘sin’; and that “gay marriage” is ‘sin’. You may wish to delineate between ‘sins of the Fall’ and ‘sins of choice’ – your call, of course.]
[Further, the points of the time continuum normally tend towards this: ‘Orientation > Cultural Norms > Enforcement of Norms > Dating > Marriage within the church (or outside of the church) > Sexual Consummation > Church Acceptance > Societal Acceptance’ . You appear to have only touched upon ‘orientation’ [“homosexuality”] and ‘marriage’. You may wish to clarify your first base position on all points of the hypothetical continuum, if you wish.]
Therefore, to continue with your doctrinal discussion, may I offer that you should ask yourself ‘what is the mercy you propose to give to a same sex married couple?’
You may wish to view this abstract in light of a concrete approach of two lesbian women.
What is the mercy you propose towards their orientation, experience of cultural norms, enforcement of norms, then dating, then marriage within / marriage outside, consummation, and/or church acceptance and/or societal acceptance?
You may use biblical reasoning, if you wish, or any reasoning. This is your exercise, not mine.
Hang in there; second base, wherein are the questions of biblical mercy, is tough.
I agree with post 100
This is quite interesting. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/10/14/city-houston-demands-pastors-turn-over-sermons/
If you want to have a discussion, I’ll participate as time allows.
If you want to be snarky, you can leave.
Some clarity is needed in my statements, though.
I do not believe that homosexual inclinations are in and of themselves sinful.
I do believe homosexual behaviors are.
Based on my understanding and study the text indicates that both idol worship and same sex behaviors are sinful.
This is consistent with the rest of the biblical witness.
The “mercy’ that I can offer a same sex couple is the same as to any sinner…the free offer of the Gospel.
They could not take communion in my church as they are living in a state of willful sin.
As Gman said earlier, this is about how we interpret the text…and nothing in all I’ve read gives any leeway here for someone who believes the text is authoritative.
I haven’t talked about getting to fist base, getting to 2nd base and getting to 3rd base – since way back when I was dating my wife.
Hmmm, how the definitions have changed.
Jean, I thought you at least agreed that Bible exposition involves the historical setting in which it was written. You can insult me if you wish, but you look rather foolish.
I challenge you to find a solid exegetical commentary on Jesus’ words that does not mention the rabbinical controversy of His day, to which He was asked.
Now you all make sure to read erunner’s link there. It is sort of relevant.
You may wish to view this abstract in light of a concrete approach of two lesbian women.
The married lesbians I personally know all left husbands after having years of sexual relations that also produced children with them. So I guess my counsel might be a little different than yours…….
I hope people don’t pass over my link because of the Fox News connection. This is chilling stuff. Even though it’s only dealing with Houston right now I’m wondering how soon before it spreads. The idea of going over the sermons of local pastor’s is outrageous.
Hi Michael, all is well with us thanks. Havent talked in a few years, hoping everything is right in your world as well. How is the Junior Tony Hawk doing with is skateboarding? I probably shouldn’t have commented being as this is a biblical discussion and I am sans the bible these days.
My brother-in-law is a homosexual. I “led him to faith” about 36 years ago. He led worship at tims and went on to record and put out a Christian album that was very good. He moved away to Nashville and then New York for a total of 22 years. He surprised the family when he moved back here to California quite close to us.
Over the years he drifted from and then renounced his faith and came out as gay and very anti-christian. His published music since then reflects his views.
He was very close to my wife and I before he left and we are close now seeing him a lot. He and I have spoken about Christianity and homosexuality and have agreed to disagree. Nothing has been mentioned since his return.
We treat him with love yet I know we will once again dialogue as we each have deep conviction in our differing outlooks on life.
Those of us who oppose homosexuality know how to interact with homosexuals in love without being homophobic. We aren’t Westboro caricatures. It’s difficult when someone so close renounces his faith and speaks so strongly against it. I will never change my views for a changing culture and a liberal christianity that is becoming more like the world. That doesn’t mean I don’t care for or love those whom I differ with.
I always have an issue when people want to play down the homosexual and the church bit. I am sure I sound like a broken record, but…
So, what do you do with the guy who shows up at the church, been there a couple of months and all this time he has been bringing his mistress with him. Everyone knows the wife and kids and the broken family he has left behind.
Any issue with sitting him down, having a serious talk and telling him, repent of your actions, dump the mistress or do not come back. Is that a cultural narrow mind?
“In every divorce there are two parties: the one seeking the divorce, and the one who is not – the victim.
There’s a third category: Both parties want a divorce and neither is the victim. But let’s set that scenario aside and address Papiaslogia’s scenario: the “victim” of divorce.
“‘Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’” When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.’”
In Mark X, Jesus clearly prohibits re-marriage by the spouse wanting the divorce. However, This passage is not clear regarding a spouse who is divorced against her will.
Let’s turn next to see what Luke records Jesus saying (from Chapter XVI):
“’Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.'”
If we read “divorced woman” as including the victim (which I would argue is the most natural reading), then that re-marriage as well is prohibited.
Let’s read Paul’s commentary on Jesus (from 1 Cor XIII):
“‘To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.'”
Let’s check the Blue Letter Bible Study Resources that Papiaslogia provided me at #90:
“BELIEVER & BELIEVER: Divorce is not right. If divorce occurs, reconciliation must be sought (the alternative is to remain in an unmarried state). If the divorcing party does not seek reconciliation, he/she should be brought into the order of church discipline. If there is no repentance, the divorcing party should be ex-communicated as an unbeliever (i.e., treated as a heathen and tax-collector) and so the situation would change to…”
The extra-biblical shenanigans regarding ex-communications is creative, somewhat analogous to the annulment shenanigans played by RCC. But hey, are any of the churches here using the ex-communication strategy?
So, in conclusion, what the Bible teaches about divorced believers remaining unmarried is clear (at least to my simple mind and the resources I consulted). Divorced believers are commanded to remain unmarried. According the biblical ethic employed by pastors who refuse to marry homosexuals, I don’t see how they can marry previously married believers if they believe in the authority of Scripture.
There are hermeneutics which might be employed, such as “redemptive-movement” and/or “progressive revelation” to try to get to an interpretation which would permit re-marriage by divorced people. If you want to take that journey, we can certainly explore the possibilities.
What I find interesting (and hopeful) about Jesus’ teaching is that he wants people in his kingdom to live right now in the pre-fall state that God originally intended for his image bearers, thus his reference all the way back to Genesis 2. The redemption that comes through Christ is greater than I can get my arms around, but every once in a while He gives me a glimpse and when He does I’m left in awe and joyful thanksgiving.
The progression I’ve seen in Christians who come out, or embrace who they are, or whatever, is as follows.
“Are you still a Christian?”
“Well, I still believe, but according to the Bible, I’m not.”
Some, after time think they are rejecting the faith, when they are really rejecting other Christians. This confusion can be clearly seen in many people, covering a range of topics, even politics. It can lead to hatred of others and self.
Others cling to their faith, with some finding liberal churches who welcome them.
Them there pesky gay folk want to get hitched, but them there hetros don’t…
Jim, as his progression took place he wasn’t around us as in the past so in a sense I believe there was some sort of progression. But the end of that has landed him in a place where he despises the faith and has almost a hatred for most believers who aren’t family. I’m not quite sure what anchors him but I hold out hope that he will come back to the faith. So I guess he’d have to be born again a second time…?
Michael @ 105: I don’t believe I have said anything ‘snarky’… that is, ‘rude, sarcastic, irreverent’. If so, I apologize.
I believe that the Holy Spirit instructs quite well, Michael. Therefore, I am walking you through the ‘four bases’, so that you can work within your hermeneutics with the insights that the Holy Spirit gives to you.
I am not trying to persuade you of anything, other than (perhaps) to give the Holy Spirit ample opportunity to instruct you. I also admit to persuading people to give a complete, clear, and concise statement (of whatever they happen to believe).
The ‘four bases’ concept normally helps a person view the issue from a dozen angles, and to listen to the Holy Spirit. It is tool… and perhaps, this tool will simply not be of use to you.
Please let me know if you accept my apology, and let me know if wish me to continue.
The pain divorce has caused our culture compared to that caused by gay marriage is beyond compare.
Jean @ 113: Loved reading your logic flow! Well written.
I noticed you used the Genesis ‘Garden of Eden’ argument. Then, you also leaned towards Jesus urging people to ‘live within the pre-fall state’.
I normally see the Garden argument used as a point of departure, and not as a point of destination. That is, the Garden shows the Fall of Man, and there is no returning to the Garden.
I think you are offering the ‘pre-fall state’ as a destination. Can you elaborate on your thoughts?
T’s had a tough road but he’s on the mend…took second in his first competition back.
You’re always welcome here…
Apology accepted .
I don’t really need a “tool” to hear the Holy Spirit as He is pretty loud in the text and through the brethren who have gone before us.
Feel free to continue…
From my point of view, Rick and Kay Warren have unwittingly thrown their son, Matt, under the bus…pointing out his pain as a disease alone.
Why is there such an insistence on conflating the issues here?
because one thing is wrong doesn’t mean that another wrong thing becomes right…
It’s simply the emphasis that is screwed up. For example, I’d love, love to see CC pastors preach against divorce with the same zeal as they do against gay marriage. But it’s not even close. Fact.
And that pisses me off on more than one level.
Last time I checked I wasn’t CC… 🙂
I wasn’t talking about you….You’re so vain. 🙂
I basically choose to talk about neither….being how insignificant they are in the larger narrative of Scripture and that I’ve only 30 minutes to preach the Gospel. 🙂
I think discussion on a topic on a blog should not be confused with what one preaches, or in what amounts. That’s the funny thing about these discussions. There is always the assumption that the pastor who speaks out on these things on this blog has some sort of a double standard just waiting to be discovered.
To MLD’s point – the only person we specifically asked in my entire term to find another church was adultery related…of the hetero variety. And the mistress didn’t even have to come in the doors.
To Neo’s point, as I said, what I am seeing is the harm caused by divorce more and more is homosexual related (as I sound like a broken record)
Your question is well timed and very exciting. What I believe Jesus is teaching us in the divorce passages has an even deeper meaning than the surface issue of divorce. Part of Christ’s reconciling work not only reconciles people to God, but also reconciles people to each other.
So, Paul can write: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female—for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Thus, in Christ, Christians should live the way God intended male and female to live – in marriage two become one. Similarly, God created mankind in His own image, male and female He created them. Thus, Christians condemn slavery, even though you don’t find that prohibition explicitly in the Bible, because all men and women are made in God’s image.
Jesus is saying, don’t wait for my second coming, the kingdom of God is at hand, get started making it a reality right now in your ordinary lives. In that way, His kingdom people will let their light shine. “Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.”
Amen and Amen!
Thats awesome. If he loves wheels you might check out your local Junior Roller Derby league.
And Steve, pretty sure no one thinks Michael has a double standard to discover, he doesn’t mince words.
“There is always the assumption that the pastor who speaks out on these things on this blog has some sort of a double standard just waiting to be discovered.”
We’re all (every one of us) hypocrites. So how about we keep things real?
We’re all (every one of us) hypocrites. So how about we keep things real?
Speak for yourself. I’ve got several hundred hours of my beliefs about God and His word on the table for free, public consumption. Anyone can see what I think about any passage I’ve taught, and anyone can see the extent (if any) I stick to hobby horse theology.
I too don’t “mince words” – we are at a time in history in this country where riding a fence and mincing words is not an option. And yet, as I said, one should not confuse the content of blog commentary here, with the content of what my messages each week might consist of. Anyone making that assumption needs to listen to a few to be corrected of it.
Jean, you insinuated I was guilty of “rank hypocrisy” already earlier today….and you were wrong on that charge as I showed you clearly.
If you can point out one double standard in my ministry teachings, how I pastor and lead the church, or my words here, then feel free. And please do not deflect into some sin nature discussion. This isn’t about the reality of our universal need for Jesus, our universal struggle with the flesh, and our failings more often than we desire.
That is not hypocrisy by any understanding of the word, and if it is your standard then every single preacher, and for that matter Christian, better just shut up on any and all moral issues, including the ones you hold dear since sinless perfection escapes us all.
But until you can duly point out that double standard, you are making false accusations of an insulting manner that are unfitting of Christ. ,
Just keeping things real…
“Because Jesus is clear that believers who divorce cannot remarry.”
Jean, adultery is very bad and many times leads to divorce but it certainly doesn’t disqualify everyone from ever marrying again. I think the issue lies with treating divorce the same as separation. The distinction is that a “separation” does not free the spouse to remarry since they are still legally married. Marrying such a person would be a perpetual act of adultery until such time a divorce took place since they have not legally divorced from their previous spouse. With the same reasoning, two gays getting married is a perpetual act of sexual immorality and has no chance of it ever being redeemed.
Jean @ 130: thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’ve not approached the Genesis arguments as a connection to Galatians. So, I will have to think about it over the next few days, and allow the Spirit some time to show me something new.
Andrew, my exercise in showing the Bible’s teaching on divorce was to demonstrate the hypocrisy of pastors who say one thing about same-sex marriage, yet officiate heterosexual marriages which are prohibited by the Bible.
One a side note, if what God has joined, let no man cast assunder, then does civil divorce disolve marriage in God’s eye?
Jean, I don’t believe all these heterosexual marriages are Biblically prohibited as you say. Regarding your side note, you are elevating the institution of marriage above the parties within it. When you do that, you are becoming nothing more than a pharisee.
Andrew, I asked a question. I didn’t elevate anything.
Regarding your beliefs, I don’t deny you those, No one ever claimed that Jesus’ teachings are easy. I have problems with my own unbelief.
“…then does civil divorce disolve marriage in God’s eye?”
I think the Roman Catholics have this one right.
When God joins a man and woman in marriage, in some way this union is not just about the man and woman; God’s involved too. The Bible teaches that “a threefold cord is not quickly broken”. One thing is clear about marriage in the Bible: God only joins together people of the opposite gender. Whatever society or a church might call the union, biblical marriage, the union in which two become one in the covenant that God seals can only be between male and female.
Jean, I try to get my beliefs from Jesus. I really don’t have this tremendously hard time understanding them. Keeping them is not easy but I don’t see this huge hypocrisy thing going on with pastors who officiate marriages of previously divorced persons. Of course, pastors should understand the circumstances and counsel them the best they can. There is absolutely no comparison to this with marrying two gays. None at all! Regarding your question of civil divorce, Jesus did allow for it in certain circumstances. Now what I think is even more fascinating is a divorced person who later becomes and believer and than marries another believer. I believe God blesses this union as a Christian marriage but you seem to be saying that the divorced person is still married to that old non believer that they haven’t heard from in possible 20 years. This makes no sense at all. Its kind of like what Jesus said about the sabbath. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. Could it possible be marriage is the same thing? God said that it was not good for man to be alone. Yet you seem to be telling us that a divorced person is to remain alone all their life even if their ex remarries. This sounds very legalistic and Pharisaical and not Biblical and not what Jesus is talking about.
This is why real Christian pastors need to get out of the marrying game – stop being agents for the state. Let everyone, homo or hetero go down to the city clerk and do what the marriage license requires … just like when the state licenses me with my real estate license or my NMLS – just like my dog getting his license etc.
If you are a Christian come for a blessing ceremony and the reception. Luther never wanted to marry people. Once a year he would have the married couples come and he would bless their marriage on the church steps.
Michael @ 120: Your comment concerning the use of ‘tools’ interests me. From your statement, you are satisfied with personal revelation upon reading the Bible and reading what deceased brothers/sisters have written? Am I understanding you correctly?
I suppose I come from quite a different world-view. Allow me to reveal some of my heart:
I want to know all the paradigms, logic systems, and approaches to the scripture that are used. If the Bible is supra-cultural, then the Bible should be able to withstand analysis by all tools – Analytical, Logical, Eastern Aikido and Western adversarial, Legal Evidences (preponderance vs beyond any reasonable doubt), Ancient Cultural analysis, and yes, personal revelation.
What if I posted a nuanced well-rounded doctrinal statement on X subject? Then, what if I posted the method called ‘four bases’ that shows a reader how I (and they) may create a doctrinal statement? In the first case, I have given the hungry reader a fish; in the second case, I taught them one method by which they could catch their own fish.
I have changed…. I don’t want to preach or teach ‘what to believe’ – I did that for years. Instead, I want to teach people ways/means to think, to reason, and to explore the depths within the Bible. It is teaching the paradigms that deeply matters for the next generation – unless I believe that Christianity is personal salvation plus rote memorization; or believe it is submission to elders/pastor/pope, attendance/Eucharist, and rote memorization.
– Take, for example, the tool called ‘definitions’. Not really the Greek vs Latin… but rather a simple tool that says ‘first, define your terms’. Did you notice the shift in definitions from Jean’s approach to the term ‘hypocrite’ (universal; nature of man) to Steve’s approach to the same term (not universal; specific to a documentable double standard)? Yet, both definitions help to frame very valid discussions.
– Take, for example, the two tools ‘Bible-based reasoning’ and then ‘legal-based reasoning’. Did you see that shift in tools for Andrew @ 134? I know both tools; I hear both points. Given that I lean towards Bible-based reasoning over use of legal-based reasoning, I favor the quoted statement. Ah… but see, I have now shown how my weighting of evidences influences my conclusion to the reader… and thus, the reader has opportunity to learn ‘how they may think or reason’ more than just my conclusion.
But what shall I pass to the next generation? A series of conclusions? I pray not. May my Lord Jesus give me the wisdom and the skill to pass on to the next generation the method, the paradigm, and/or the logic by which I arrived to that conclusion.
Peace to you upon your days ahead. Hope to post in a few days Sincerely; Caryn
MLD, Do you ever officiate marriages at your church?
A few things,
1) All my examples were between 2 believers;
2) I was not saying what I believe they should or could do, only what I believe the Bible says; and
3) I left open the possibility that a hermeneutic might be available which could show an ethical trajectory to a more lenient approach based on, but finding fulfillment beyond, the Bible. Such an approach would be controversial to conservatives. I personally have not explored this avenue in the context of divorce.
Andrew – I am not a pastor so I don’t officiate anything.
MLD, I chatted with another guy called MLD a few months ago with same pic and moniker that told me he was a pastor at a Lutheran church. Is there more than one of you?
I am the one and only. Anyone else would be too embarrassed to impersonate me. 😉
There is another Andrew that posts here. Probably just a coincidence.
Jean, the thing is several people here have tried to correct your error on divorce and remarriage. It is an error that can cause great harm in the lives of innocent people if you are ever in a position of leadership, counsel or trust on the subject – with someone looking to you for a Biblical analysis of their personal situation. I have seen people hurt badly by bad counsel in this area – innocent spouses who literally were told by pastors they would have to wait for their adulterous, remarried husband to some day divorce his wife, AND decide he wanted back with the first wife in order for that cheated-on child of God to ever enjoy marriage again in the eyes of God. Thus these women actually pray for the destruction of the new marriage in hopes they may one day be allowed marriage themselves. That is NOT what Jesus endorsed.
Because divorce is such an important and relevant issue, when I was in pastoral training I specifically had to research and write a minimum of 25 pages just on the words of Jesus we are speaking about here. It had to include the Greek, the rabbinical controversy I mentioned earlier which you dismissed so quickly with an added snark of “professor”, interacting with the various views throughout church history and making a case for or against these views with proper Biblical support. Now, does that mean I alone have the only answer – No. But it does mean I’ve studied the issue to the extent that most random commentators on blogs have not.
And the reason is because I take my role so seriously. Then, later in the day you say everyone is a hypocrite.Once more, that is not at all what Jesus said or the word teaches. Jesus used it as a serious charge of rebuke, even equating those he called by the word with the future damnation of hell. It is hardly only a synonym for the human condition. So again, you are wrong, and wrong in a way that is quite serious as a charge against your brothers and/or sisters.
Now, believe it or not, I’m writing this in hopes it is a teachable moment. In hopes that maybe on both counts you might drop such comments until at least going back and doing some more study.
This is why real Christian pastors need to get out of the marrying game
MLD, does this mean you will advise your grandchildren to go to a judge, then go on the honeymoon? When should the marriage be consummated before God. When the pastor brings them together? The pastor sure can’t bring them together BEFORE the judge does his thing in your world. So they are married, but not married in the eyes of God?
What a blessed thing it is to preside over the wedding of two young Christian people, faithful to the Lord, staying pure during their engagement, who then are able to be brought together, legally and spiritually, in a Godly, Christ-honoring ceremony, consummated that night.
Once more I sit amazed at how the church and its leaders, as well as the entire Body of Christ, are advised by counsel such as yours – all because the world has so greatly screwed up what marriage is supposed to be all about.
Steve – you missed a step. I said go to the licensing people first and do all the state licensing stuff, If you are a Christian come to the church, to your pastor for a blessing ceremony and the reception.
This is where you would wear the white dress, have the flowers and do all the things that cost $25,000.
So, consider the time between city hall and the church to be the betrothal period. 🙂
You may be amazed at my attitude, but then I may be amazed that you would want to work as an agent of the state. Which are you, a pastor or an agent of the state? Do you sign the death certificate at a funeral?
It may be time that we pastors separated the civil responsibility from the sacred.
Let the government fulfill their interest in licensing whatever they please to adjudicate.
We can have sacred ceremonies that honor God and his creational intent as revealed.
Those who want to have uncreated unions can do as they please and harvest as they will.
Dread – I support a two marriage society. Let the state have its marriage and divorce laws, and let the church have hers.
Our problem is people want all the honor and blessing of a church wedding but do not want to be held to the church’s standard for divorce…choosing instead to run to the state.
MLD – “state licensing stuff” – that is what is done now. I am sure your pastor does not marry anyone who does not have a license. You moved your argument again (or did not answer my question).
As far as looking at it as being an agent of the state (your usual bombast). You guys have your schools don’t you. And I guarantee those schools meet all the state requirements and your administrators have done all that the state demands in order for those degrees to actually mean something in the real world.
But we don’t complain about it. We gladly work our schools within the state system. We want our kids to have education that covers both what you would call the secular and the sacred (we see both as one work in God’s kingdom.)
It’s funny – what you want is what the RCC does (which I think is right). So, tell your people that if they divorce improperly they are excommunicated and cannot receive the communion. No law stops you from doing such.
If your people won’t follow that, then perhaps they aren’t as Christian as you may think they are or want them to be.
There is an attitude difference we have in working with the state. Although we would prefer to be left to our own (remember Lutherans come from state run countries.) we can also see benefits in working with and through the state – and what a great witness.
As some get all wolfed out over the city of Houston wanting to collect sermons – I saw one Lutheran response “I think I will start every sermon with the word homosexual or homosexuality just to get it flagged and the promptly move on to my sermon. Just think each week someone in the government agency will be forced to read my sermon. Since we believe that the word of God is a transforming and saving force on it’s own, no telling what would come out of it.”
I think that is much better than “burn down city hall!”
MLD – You just reversed yourself. You started by talking about getting out of the marriage business, not being an agent of the state, yada yada, and now this.
All I really wanted to show is how impractical your marriage idea is in 2014 in America. Once the judge makes you married, you are married in the eyes of God and the state. If you don’t believe that, just ask around your Lutheran church if any members might not have had a church wedding and tell them God does not recognize their marriage. What you proposed is like a ritualistic “vow renewal” except you propose it very soon after the marriage and not 20 years later.
We both can talk about how we wish things were concerning marriage, but we live and minister in the here and now. This is not theoretical to me as I have already heard of pastors “getting out of the marriage business” which I think is a shame given God is the one Who ordains the institution. And it doesn’t say much for their care of the sheep either.
I’m not a big retreat guy. And your Lutheran buddies are not the only ones who would welcome their sermons getting flagged as you no doubt saw me already write on my facebook last night.
Lots to do today. Talk with you later…
Steve, my comment was to those who think that the state is intruding on marriage in the church. if that is your feeling, get out of the marriage business and just do weddings. Look at my comment as you complaining what the state does, but then you assist them in the process.
I have no fears about the government over stepping it’s bounds – because that is the tension the church has always lived under.
I will look at Facebook to see what you wrote.
From Michael’s #1 Thought:
>>>In my desire to be someone who is as gracious as possible, I almost became one who would sacrifice… “suppress”… the truth in order to be at peace with men<<<
Almost, but you didn't go over the cliff.
I am glad to read this post.
The danger, which you almost succumbed to [but didn't] is to look out upon the world, see the wickedness out there, and wring one's hands because one also sees wickedness among Christians. "We are just as bad." Maybe, but we are called to be a light in the darkness.
There is a modern notion that if we Christians demonstrate enough self-loathing, sinners will find us winsome and maybe not hate us as much as we appear to hate ourselves. Yet this is not what attracts sinners to Christ, it is the person of Christ Who is attractive and He should be proclaimed without apology.
I’ve now spent over a decade in the dirty undercurrent of American evangelicalism.
The idea that we’re holier than the culture is laughable to me…the abuses of and lust for power, the sexual sins that are covered and dismissed, the scores of wounded who have turned their backs on the church from all of the above make me very hesitant to talk about the sins of the culture.
It appalls me that we are so reticent to clean up our own house but crusade as if the end was near against the sins of those outside it.
The only reason I wrote this was because I’m teaching it in our local body…and the Holy Spirit convicted me to speak clearly and publicly to this matter.
I’ve now spent over a decade in the dirty undercurrent of American evangelicalism.<<<
Maybe time to re-focus because I believe this is warping your view of the Bride of Christ.
Perhaps…but the disease is so widespread at this point I don’t believe it can be ignored.
The local body refreshes me…and I think change is in the wind.
I am having a bad time of expressing my thoughts today, but here goes…
As bad as the Church is, the culture is running headlong in a direction that it wants all of us to join in or be marginalized.
Our job is to only proclaim Christ.
On a private EO forum we are discussing whether or not people are more hard-hearted today and resistant to the Gospel than in times past. Opinions are about evenly divided. Many say it’s always been like this and offer examples from history of both cultural wickedness and wickedness within the Church.
Is history cyclical or is it a linear timeline leading up to something Big?
Since none of us on that forum believe history is cyclical because we believe it is a story with a beginning, middle and end, the question becomes Where are we on the timeline? Are we near the end, where we must expect things to be really, really bad and then, The End, or are we still swimming around someplace in the middle where we can expect more centuries of ups and downs, revivals and apostasies?
My opinion is that America (and the West) is going down the tubes and a vibrant Christendom will arise someplace else on the globe. We are approaching The End but that has always been the case.
Our job is only to proclaim Christ? Paul tells us to make it our ambition to lead a quiet life, mind our own business, try being self employed,be financially independant burdening no one. Helping those financially. So that some will be won over to the faith. On another note, I dont think any of us are minding our own business these days, but are rather busy bodies and gossip hounds, and we justify this in being the christian neighborhood watch police.
I believe that history is cyclical with a beginning, middle and end. Think of it as a stretched out Slinky
Hey John – mind your own business. 😉
John, sorry if my statement got you upset, as maybe I didn’t express it clearly.
I did preface it “I am having a bad time of expressing my thoughts today, but here goes…”
(Sigh) Some days are just not worth it.
Mld, the pot calling the kettle black 😉
I don’t mind my own business. My business is to mind other people’s business. Something about I am my brother’s keeper. 😉
You are one of the true pillars here of this great christian gossip column aka blog, called pp. And we all love it 😉
1. Michael — I was heartened by this post just as I was disheartened by your discouragement of my leaning toward civil disobedience over the uncreation marriage trend.
We cannot be silent and we must not be complicit. Saying no to people’s compulsive desires may be unpopular but it is not hatred nor even unkind.
2. Steve and MLD you guys keep me here I agree with you more than I disagree and find you guys say things so well I have no need to speak half the time. We disagree on numerous dogmatic matters but not in essence. I applaud you both.
3. Hey Houston… my sermons are online and you can have them all. I will not recant… even if I myself THINK I was wrong… because you do not have the authority to silence me, time to fill the jails, dissolve and restart churches, abandon properties and in general tell you that we will answer to God but not the mayor or ministers of your intimidation.
4. Never thought I would see a day like this…
5. Thought Ebola was a political scare now I think it is the Black Death… hope I am wrong again.
We may be witnessing the end of Christendom in western first world countries, which traces its roots back to the Edict of Milan in 313 AD. Christendom provided a kind of sanctifying effect on society, in the form of social order, positive cultural and family values, justice, morality and the like, as a result of the influence of the Christian church at large, which many of us here remember, miss and wish to recover.
Like Israel, which in the OT tended to stray from God when things were going great, and only repented after experiencing God’s judgment, the western churches (particularly Protestant) went a stray in many ways at the high points of their influence – here I’m thinking in particular of the mainline Protestant churches in the closing decades of the 20th century, followed by the evangelical churches.
If this hypothesis is approximately correct, then the church may have to adjust its worldview to function in a fashion more in common with the early church pre-Constantine, rather than with a worldview where it’s views are by default respected and/or deferred to. This environment might be a wake up call to repentance and renewal for a remnant church. This repentance might be what the Holy Spirit is waiting for. This repentance and renewal might be what Michael means when he says that change is in the wind
Mark Driscoll Resigns
He basically said “I am not a crook but some of you think I’m a jerk so I resign.”
Agree. There was not much if any contrition there. There was almost defiance and indignation.
I think his teaching made him a crook – or should I say his form of teaching was criminal.
But the people will pickup and find a Driscoll clone and stay far from Jesus.
A lot of Cardinal fans here in Iowa. Many getting nervous about the Giants series. Any prognostications from the OC?
Once the Dodgers & Angels are out no one pays attention.
My office plays “The Real McCoys” reruns on the TV now instead of the playoffs.
That’s just snobbery 🙂
In KC, the game is on in the conference room TV.
Kinda hard to not get swept up in the Royals right now. 🙂
I always thought Iowa was Cubs country. It seems their Triple A team has always been there and when I run into Iowa people at Arizona Spring Training they are always Cubbies.
Iowa is split between Cubs and Cardinals, Bears and Packers, Hawkeyes and Cyclones.