Shearing a Wolf’s Wool

Lots of writers do lots of write-y things with words. Some of them are good, some are bad, and some are just plain evil. The ones that are hard to detect are what the Bible calls “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” These are leaders, thinkers, and wordsmiths who cloak lies in truth-y language. However, once we learn the rules of solid biblical interpretation, the wolves lose their wool.

Once such wolf is Morgan (MA) Guyton. He writes at various places on liberal “Christian” issues, often twisting text after text to suit an agenda. In other pieces, he denounces the importance of a theological faith and decries belief in penal substitution. He also likes to twist the Bible to defend homosexuality.

Tuesday, Guyton posted “Six scriptures I would use to address Kevin DeYoung’s 40 questions for rainbow flag-waving Christians,” a sort of response to the aforementioned first piece by Rev. DeYoung. He first lauds other pro-sodomy responders (leaving out this excellent response by Douglas Wilson) before launching into his torturing of six biblical texts. 

This is the Word of God, let me remind you, that Guyton is handling. Let all the beasts of the field be silent before Him. We’ll take them in Guyton’s ordering, but with a more open Bible and a less “open” mind:

1.  Matthew 9:13: “Go and find out what this means: ‘I desire mercy not sacrifice’”

As will become a theme in our examination of these texts, Guyton has conveniently taken this one out of context. In Jesus’ quote of Hosea 6:6, He addresses the Pharisees’ fear of contamination around obvious sinners. True enough, and Guyton is right to call for association with and around sinners:

If Jesus’ interpretation of Hosea 6:6 summarizes God’s basic demand for humanity, which I think it does, then what God most wants from us is our radical hospitality for other people, not our willingness to make sacrifices to show how much we “glorify” him.

But this is what makes wolves so hard to spot: Guyton implies that this “mercy” removes the naming of sin as sin. But Jesus doesn’t shy away from naming these obvious sins; He never does. This is part of His “mercy.” A quick trip back to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) or ahead to His diatribe against divorce (Matthew 19) shows us just how serious sexual immorality is to Jesus, and how seriously He loves us out of those sins.

Homosex is no less than, but is equal to and worse than, other forms of sexual immorality. It is serious enough that Jesus gave His own blood to save us from (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

Hosea 6-7 has a more colorful explanation in the near context, one which Guyton conveniently forgets. In 6:5, God says He has already “hewn them [Ephraim and Judah] by the prophets… slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light.” God has already delivered the law to His disobedient Israel, and judged them for it. How did they disobey? He calls their temple a place of “whoredom..defiled” in 6:10, and names them all “adulterers” in 7:4. Clearly, sexual immorality is in view.

What Jesus means then, in desiring mercy to sinners and not sacrifice, is that we are wrong when we think removing ourselves from others’ pain and sin looks good to God. This sinful arrogance is no holiness. What He doesn’t mean is that holiness is of no issue, or that there are no more sins. “Mercy,” Mr. Guyton, does not mean the removal of law or of repentance.

Jesus is the most supremely merciful human being (and God) to ever live, and he both ate with these sinners and called them to repentance from their very real, very present sins (parallel in Luke 5:32). In other words, sodomy is still wrong under this text.

2. Genesis 2:18: “It is not good that the man should be alone.”

Here Guyton begins more subtle appeals to the prima facie position that homosexuality is natural, normal, and allowable. He picks a doozy of a text to work from, the very place where God gives the man a woman for special companionship. After quickly tossing aside the creation account as “allegorical story” rather than “historical event,” Guyton is free to interpret as he pleases. He sees the main point of the text not as God giving himself glory, but rather “to provide the man with companionship.” Conveniently, to Guyton, the gender of said companion matters not. He then clarifies his meaning:

Now it’s true that our culture’s idolatry of marriage and the nuclear family (largely orchestrated by evangelical Christianity) has left us with a very diminished imagination for how companionship and community can occur between people, but if we’re using Genesis 2:18 as a moral guide for us, then it’s not good for gay people to be alone just so that fundamentalists can have an easier time interpreting their Bibles.

Notice the lengthy ad hominem against evangelicals. In other words, it is a bad historical tradition, not this text, that teaches one man-one woman marriage. But to say that this passage even allows for Adam-to-Adam companionship in marriage is to make an argument against the text. 

And talk about out of context! Guyton doesn’t even finish the verse, let alone the rest of the chapter. This is deception of a supreme grade. What the text says next (!!!) is that God “makes” a “helper fit for him [Adam].” None of those words are accidental.

What actually happens in the biblical text is that God gives the man a companion, who is specifically and importantly a woman. God even fits her for him. This is no accidental connection in the text. One man-one woman marriage is the precise application of this text according to verse 24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

“Man, his, his, his wife, one flesh.” These are all words Guyton has excised from his “bible” in lieu of a more palatable interpretation. This is precisely what wolves do.

3. Mark 2:27: “The Sabbath was made for humanity, not humanity for the Sabbath.”

The context of Mark 2 shows that Jesus is discussing what is good and lawful for the Sabbath. The Pharisees (to Guyton, these are often Bible-believing evangelicals, as we will see) charge Jesus with law-breaking. So he jumps to proof-texting:

This is precisely where the fault-line is between Christians like me and the fundamentalists. They need for there to be some Biblical laws that have no other explanation than “because God said so” or “for the sake of God’s glory.” If every law has an explanation in terms of its benefits for humanity, they think it takes away God’s sovereignty and leaves us with nothing more than secular humanism.

This seems like quite a leap. To Gutyon, if Jesus says the Sabbath is for humanity, then all of our understandings of God’s laws are also thrown out the window! 

The problem is that the author again “forgets” the second half of even one thought: “So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” The point isn’t that Jesus is a LGBTQ-approving humanist; the point is that He rules and reorients everything to Himself. This has always been the point of marriage (see Genesis 2 in Ephesians 5, for instance), Mosaic law (the “tutor to Christ” in Galatians 3), and our bodies in general (Genesis 1:27f referenced in 1 Corinthains 6:20).

Apparently Guyton is uncomfortable here with translating the word anthropos as “man,” but that’s a separate – though related – line of questioning.

4. Romans 14:14: “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.”

It’s hard to get more ridiculous than #2, but this one sure does try. The text speaks of church members arguing over food (14:2) and day-observance (14:5f). The “nothing in itself is unclean” doesn’t refer to sexual license, because Paul summarizes it as “eating and drinking” in verse 17. 

Guyton doesn’t think so: 

Nothing is unclean in itself, but many things are unclean because of how our mind covets idols instead of God.

In Guyton’s terms, as long as we can maintain “our attentiveness to the presence of God in our lives and our ability to experience the bliss of union with Christ,” anything is permissible. Christian experience (Theme alert!) is the new rule of faith, not Scripture. If you can say you still love and experience God, Guyton teaches, go lay with anyone – man, woman, child, relative, animal – you please.

That might sound overstated, but it’s exactly the outcome of Guyton’s teaching.

5. 1 Corinthians 7:32, 35: “I want you to be free from anxieties… I say this for your own benefit not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.”

The soft wool of a wolf is when he says he follows sheep-flavored rules of interpretation. So Guyton nods along, “The best way to build a sexual ethic from the apostle Paul’s teachings is to look at Paul’s explicit rationale when he is directly offering prescriptive teaching about sexuality (1 Corinthians 7).” The problem is that this text isn’t the chair text; Ephesians 5 is. Ephesians 5 is gives the highest and clearest meaning to marriage: the glory of Jesus Christ in the church, His bride, a whore made a glorious woman. This text is driven by questions from the Corinthian church (7:1), but that still doesn’t allow it to be queerly twisted.

Guyton disagrees: “I believe that any Christian conversation about sexuality should use 1 Corinthians 7 as a foundation.” Thus, the author’s willful inattention to Ephesians 5 is why he can write things like: 

When Paul talks to the Corinthians directly about sex, he doesn’t say that marriage is the way that they will show the world how Christ loves the church or anything like that. He offers marriage as a “concession, not a command” (1 Corinthians 7:6) “because of cases of sexual immorality” (v. 2). In 1 Corinthians 7, marriage is fundamentally a question of social pragmatism.

with a straight face. Paul doesn’t teach that marriage is the paradigm for Christ’s love for the church?!? Have you lost Ezekiel 16, Hosea 1-3, Ephesians 5, and Revelation 19 from your “bible,” Mr. Guyton? What utter nonsense.

In a separate post on the same text, Guyton elaborates: 

So to me, the burden of proof for a Christian who wants to maintain an opposition to homosexuality is to demonstrate why and how monogamous same-gendered sexual intimacy clutters people with anxiety, contradicts good community order, or hinders devotion to God. These are not just proof-texts; they are more than speculative translations of obscure Greek words or mentions in passing of what Paul thinks is “unnatural.” They are reliable ethical principles for a community’s sexuality that Paul presents as such.

There is no “burden of proof for a Christian who wants to maintain an opposition to homosexuality,” and, even if there were one, it certainly isn’t demonstrating how sodomy is bad for our minds, communities, or personal faith experience. The place to look, Mr. Guyton, is in Scripture. Lots of texts, omitted from your false exposition, speak clearly.

Furthermore, say this text, however, even allows homo-practice is to make yet another argument from silence, and a particularly obvious one. Paul covers the gamut of known, lawful situations for marriage and for singleness. He nowhere covers sodomy, because it isn’t in his purview of Christian marital or singleness arrangements. In this text, that might sound like an argument from silence, except that he makes it quite plain in Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6. 1 Corinthians, in case he lost his place, is in the chapter immediately before. 

6. Matthew 25:40 “Just as you have done to the least of my brethren, you have done for me.”

Here comes an appeal to pity. Guyton calls this verse an extension of Hosea 6:6 (dealt with in #1 above), summarizing with, “The way that we honor God’s sovereignty insofar as queer people are concerned is by treating the queer people in our lives as though they are Jesus and asking them to pray that Jesus would live in our hearts also.” He again conveniently “forgets” the context.

The context of Matthew 25:31-48, the famed “Sheep and Goats” passage, is the professing church. Note that the kingdom is prepared for the sheep “from the foundation of the world” (25:34) and that the sheep loving, feeding, and housing the poor is done to “My brothers” (25:40). “Queer” people, to use Guyton’s term, are excluded until they repent (1 Cor. 6:9-11). So this text doesn’t work for that purpose.

Secondly, the goats are the ones who refuse to love Christians (25:41-48) and go to “eternal punishment” (25:46). Unrepentant homosexuals hate the Word of God, and, if they do come to a “Christian” “church”, either hate Him actively, or hate Him implicitly by remaking Him in their own image.

It is a lie, a dirty, dirty trick, to use this text to promote loving homosexuals apart from repentance, when their very lack of repentance is the warning for which this passage was written. In other words, unloving, unrepentant LGBTQ men and women, whether they attend “church” or not, are goats. They are not sheep, not brothers; the unrepentant are goats.

Concluding Questions for Mr. Guyton…

  1. What does “call sinners to repentance” mean in Luke 5:32? Did Jesus call sexually immoral sinners, like the prostitute, to turn away from sexual immorality, or not?
  2. What bearing do Genesis 2:18b (which you forgot in your exposition) and the end of the passage (2:24-25) have on your interpretation of Genesis 2:18a?
  3. Does the Sabbath being made for man mean that sodomy was made for man? If so, how does sodomy picture Christ and His church, as taught plainly in Ephesians 5?
  4. Does Romans 14:14 also teach that bestiality is permissible for Christians, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their experience of God and the bliss of union with Christ?
  5. If a believing community were to approve of consensual incest, would this be permissible under your interpretation of Paul’s sexual ethics from 1 Corinthians 7?
  6. What does the phrase “My brothers” mean in Matthew 25:40? What about in places like Matthew 12:50 and Matthew 18:21f? Could it possibly mean “everyone” in any of those passages?
  7. What place does the word “repentance” have in any of these texts? How exactly is sodomy not a sin to be repented of?

…and a Charge

Mr. Guyton, if you can write things like, “When I use these criteria [1 Cor. 7], I find pedophilia, incest, polygamy, bestiality, promiscuity, pornography, and adultery to be out of bounds, while monogamous straight and gay companionship are legitimate,” then you are a wolf without question. I am praying for your very soul as I write this, and these words are surely harsh. I pray the Lord waken you from death in your sins. He is life, He is truth, He is good. Repent of your unbelief in His Word, the person of His Son, and turn to Him.

But if you will not repent, please at least be honest with your family, church, ministry, and writing audience that you do not believe the Bible on its own terms. Resign from whatever posts you have that are associated with Christ, and stop trampling His name to advance your unbelieving interpretations.

You are tearing at the body of Jesus, for whom He gave His life. He will not take it lightly on the last day.

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A Party for Pedophiles

A few years back, I remember my dad’s 50th birthday party. Oldies music blared as we sat around dimly lit, circular tables in a country club ballroom (the best kind!). The random assortment of friends and family danced late into the night. We enjoyed honoring Dad.

What would have been odd is if we gathered that night to praise someone’s sin. “Thanks for coming, everyone, to honor Bob the Drunk. He’s been getting liquored up for the last 30 years, and that’s something to celebrate.”

Keep this in mind until the end. 

In recent days, years, and decades, the LGBTQ agenda has pushed forward in the West on all fronts: television, movies, music, literature, education, news, stealth organizations, etc. Two Fridays ago, they rejoiced, with the President, in the passing of a no-holds barred approach to same sex marriage mirage. (Doug Wilson, to my knowledge, coined this term; and it applies without qualification.)

Without touching the legal issues surrounding the case, it is important to think through the issue biblically. Understand, first of all, that we have all been told several lies surrounding the issue:

  • Sodomy is no different than any other sin. (False.)
  • Homosexuality is laughable, but not condemnable. (False.)
  • Sodomites can be likable and friendly. (Irrelevant to morality.)
  • Marriage is a fundamental human right. (Not in the way you mean it.)
  • Each individual is able to define marriage as he or she likes. (No, God does.)

By the time we have finished strolling through that boiling cauldron of fecal matter, it’s hard to discern the truth. So the rest will be a wake-up call, one you might even think feels “rude.”

What all LGBTQ issues boil down to is this: is sodomy a specially damnable sin that the Bible clearly speaks on, or isn’t it? The relevant texts are many (Genesis 19, Leviticus 20, Jeremiah 16, Matthew 19, 2 Peter 2, Jude 1), but we will focus on Romans 1:24-28 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, [25] because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. [26] For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; [27] and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. [28] And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. [Romans 1:24-28]

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effiminate, nor homosexuals, [10] nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. [1 Corinthians 6:9-11]

In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul is already addressing a church that is “deceived,” much like today’s church. And what are both of us deceived about? This list of damnable lifestyle sins. To review:

  • Fornicators – those who practice sexually immorality
  • Idolaters – those who practice worshipping idols
  • Adulterers – those who practice unfaithfulness to a true spouse
  • Effiminate – sometimes translated, “male prostitutes”
  • Homosexuals – those who practice same-sex sexual relations
  • Thieves – those who practice stealing the property of others
  • The Greedy – those who cultivate hearts of lust for material goods or money
  • Drunkards – those who practice alcoholic overindulgence
  • Revilers – those who practice insulting others and God
  • Swindlers – those who practice tricking others out of money

Each of these is specially damnable. That means they are sins of ongoing practice that exclude humans from God’s kingdom. Those are the words of the biblical text. Any person practicing thievery, drunkenness, adultery, or homosexuality who claims to be a Christian is not a Christian. He or she will not enter God’s kingdom. There is no wiggle room left in this text.

But lots of LGBTQ-supporting folks who claim to be Christ’s will say, “That’s a long list, and Jesus saves from all of them. Why is same-sex attraction ‘especially’ damnable?” To that particular objection, we offer three reasons:

  1. Sodom is no joke. Genesis 19, 2 Peter 2, and Jude 1 all speak of the reprehensibility and terror of homosexuality, by way of connection. Sodom and Gomorrah, for those who don’t read closely, were burned with fire and sulfur from the Lord for their sexual immorality, part of which was certainly homosexuality. It wasn’t merely “gang rape,” as many will say, but a lifestyle of sexual promiscuity of all types and forms, including homosex. Peter and Jude go on to use this as an “example” to lustful men of our day. Sound familiar? It’s what this post is doing now.
  2. Homosex tortures marriage. “Torture” is no understatement. Consider Jesus’ words in Matthew 19 and parallels, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Note the connection between creation order and marriage. Not only does homosex deface marriage, it changes our understanding of what it means to be made “male and female.” 
  3. Sodomy is an abomination. Before we do the whole “that was the Old Testament, man, come on” dance, think about other OT texts you treasure and point to: creation, prophecies of Christ, Psalm 23, the Proverbs. We don’t get to pick and choose which passages are true. When God commands death for man-to-man relations in Leviticus 20:13, that word is inspired, too. Homosexuality is here paralleled with adultery, various forms of incest, and bestiality. All of them appear in one paragraph, and all of theme deserve capital punishment. Thus, when Christians compare sodomy to incest and bestiality, we are repeating the words of our Maker.

Homosexuality is particularly deviant, defiant, and well-loved in today’s culture. But, do not fear, little flock; God is not mocked. 

Last week, a sister in our church claimed she would have “no problem” going to a homosexual wedding ceremony. I was surprised. Maybe she doesn’t know what she’s saying, I thought. I asked a few questions about what she meant, and it became clear that she understood her words.

“Then would you go to a 10-year celebration for an adulterer? Or a con artist? What about a pedophile?”

“Ew, no, of course not.”

“Then you’ve been fooled. Homosexuality is worse.”

There Ain’t No “Man Sauce”

I was talking to my students the other day about the Christian doctrine of manhood and womanhood, found preeminently in Genesis 1:27:

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

What we learn here is at least three key points:

  1. God is the creator of man, and He gives us a God-centered meaning. We are not self-created nor self-determining. From the beginning, autonomous humanity is a contradiction in terms.
  2. God created male and female in His own image. Both male humans and female humans glorify God by their respective designs. Men and women are different by design and yet united in their purpose to glorify their Creator.
  3. God created male and female persons from the beginning. God never thought of Adam as an gender-less being, only later to add on the “man sauce.” God never thought of Eve as an androgynous person, later deciding to dip her in a “lady potion.”

The fact that God created two genders, alike in purpose but different in design, means that from the beginning He conceived of us as gender-centric humans. All that we are, in the personhood-identity sense, is wrapped up in our identity as either male or female, but not both and not neither.

To put a point on it, God never thought of you as X person and later decided you would be a man or a woman. He always conceived of you as either a man or a woman because your gender is intrinsic to your personhood.

Our world would avoid an army of confusions if we understood that gender is not an afterthought, not an add-on. It is essential as males and females made in the image of God.

The Wrong H-Word

On days like today, I’m thankful for the clarity of Scripture. The Bible makes no “if”s, “except”s, or “only-when”s about it: unrepentant homosexuality is a damning sin.

But, when the pagan President of the United States invites a high-profile (celebrity?) pastor to pray at his highness’ inauguration, the homosexual crowd seizes the opportunity to use “anit-gay” sermon quotes to publicly break the pastor’s well-profiled bones. Before fracture is finished, the pastor runs away.

I understand not wanting to be lied about in public, but for the words of Scripture? Christians have to hold on better than that. Jesus said, “You will be hated by all for My name’s sake.”

Christians who run away fear the H-word “homophobe” more than “Holy One.” God is holy, and His holiness is more fearsome than the slanderous blurbs on ABC News.

The holiness of God doesn’t excuse homosexuality, and it doesn’t excuse cowardice, either. Calling homosexuals, thieves, adulterers, and coveters to repentance is brave, loving, and absolutely necessary for salvation. Those who fail to do so may find themselves joining unrepentant sinners in eternity:

    But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8 ESV)

How to Test Yourself

Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” One way we can begin to understand our own darkness, foolishness, and disease is to ask a few questions:

  • Does your heart right now witness to you that you have left God’s goodness for other things?
  • What thing in your life do you love most?
  • What is the one thing you would keep if you had to lose everything else?

These questions get to the root of who and what our hearts love most. As 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “The LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” The Bible describes people who do not love God most as:

  • blind
  • deaf
  • foolish
  • hypocritical
  • lost in the world
  • full of darkness
  • without hope
  • wicked
  • ignorant
  • God-less
  • dead

Some of the things that come out of these peoples’ hearts are:

  • greed, stealing, swindling
  • lies
  • slander
  • racism
  • prejudice
  • unjust practices
  • lust, sexual immorality, adultery, homosexuality
  • hatred, anger, violence
  • divisions, strife
  • grudges, unforgiveness, bitterness, rivalries
  • envy, jealousy
  • drunkenness, drug abuse, gluttony
  • love of money
  • love of people’s approval
  • love of self
  • love of music or sports or shopping or power

Do some of these describe your heart?

Whether God has changed you to life or you are still dead in your sin, your heart witnesses to you that many of these things describe your heart apart from Jesus Christ. For some of you, several of these characterize your life right now. Before we move on, take a moment to let the ugliness and sin in your heart weigh on you. Think over how awful it is that we hate the One Who made us for Himself. Think about how perfect and good He is and how evil and ugly we are before Him.

Jesus says in Mark 7:20-23, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” How defiled we are! How our hearts lead us away from God!

[Excerpted from Gospel Root and Fruit, tentative title, forthcoming]

What It Looks Like to Trade Evil for Good

To my shame, I have been tempted to remain in a dishonest, shameful job just to make another paycheck. God corrected and instructed me through Thomas Watson’s excellent book, The Godly Man’s Picture, where he writes:

The godly are of a brave, heroic spirit. . . They will not enrich their purses by enslaving their consciences. (p. 200)

But there have been times that I have not known how to distinguish the evil of the world that surrounds me. How do we become brave when we don’t know what we’re fighting? So the King of Wisdom uses passages like Isaiah 5:20:

Woe to those who say the evil is good and the good is evil,
Who get darkness for light and light for darkness,
Who set bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Isaiah here uses three phrases to say one thing, further reinforcing and applying the same truth each time.

  1. Evil for Good“: This makes us think of ethics, morals, and values. Simple matters of good vs. evil come up first. Some things are so plainly good and evil that only the insanely demonic cannot recognize them. But this judgment of “woe!” is not only for these things…
  2. Darkness for Light“: The nature of trading darkness for light tells us that many of these evils will be perpetuated in the shadows. It is incumbent upon us, then, to be able to discern the light from the darkness, even in the shadows. God demands our discernment, for the wicked will take evil, hide it in the darkness, then shine a flashlight on part of it to make it look “good.”
  3. Bitter for Sweet“: Not only may evil be hidden in the darkness and called “light,” and the good taken out of the light to be called “evil,” but good and evil may be wrongly seasoned. At this third level, after pure essential righteousness/unrighteousness and then how each is perceived (the level of perception), we now arrive at how issues are brought to bear on the spiritual “taste” or immediate senses.

    The wicked will not only take evil and lighten a piece of it (“Women’s rights!” rather than “Child murder!”) but will also try to make this evil taste sweet rather than bitter (“Isn’t it a good thing that we stand up for women? You should, too.”).

Taken together, these three images show that there is no end to the brazen and nuanced wickedness of men. Will we never cease to lie to Nth degree about God’s righteousness? Will we ever continue to murder justice and exalt its murder?

But thanks be to God, who has won the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ, who knew the good from the evil as soon as He came of age (Isaiah 7:14-17), died for such wicked sinners, rose from death, and will return to right it all at the end.

Open Wide the Closets of Darkness

John Mark Reynolds says that “coming out of the closet” is a good thing. Here’s why.

Bravo, North Carolina

In the world, democracy is rare. In a republic, democracy is often forgotten. So bravo to North Carolina, for electing officials who will let the people define marriage for our state constitution next May.

Let us pray that our state gets it right.

Feelings, Free Speech, and the Gospel

Another strange set of events has emerged recently in the Chicago, IL, suburb of Naperville, where Nequa Valley High School administrators tried to force all of their high school students to participate in the school’s upcoming “Day of Silence” for gay rights.

They were shot down, however. In accordance with the 2006 U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th District decision that the school could not force students to change their “Be Happy, Not Gay” T-shirt message, last week’s ruling forbade school officials from forcing students to remain silent.

Shannon Sullivan, executive director of the Illinois Safe School Alliance, said she sees the ruling as narrow.

“It is based on the same principle that allows students to wear ‘Day of Silence’ t-shirts in school,” she said. “We would certainly not limit the students’ rights to wear those.”

But Sullivan, whose organization leads the “Day of Silence” effort in Illinois, called such opposing slogans on t-shirts intolerant.

“It tells people not to be gay, and people are gay,” she said. “I do think a consequence of wearing a shirt like that is hurting other people’s feelings.”

Far we have fallen from the days when sodomy was a crime. Next, the Safe School Alliance will tell us that we can’t condemn drunk drivers and pedophiles because, “People are drunk drivers and pedophiles.”

Our country suffers from a severe confusion between sinner and sin. A sin is a sin, no matter how many times or how loudly we try to call it “good” or “different.” But as believers in Christ, we are empowered and called to love the lost, calling them to repentance (Matthew 9:12, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31f), and that includes rebuking and correcting their sin (Leviticus 19:17, Proverbs 24:25).

We must name sins and hate them in order to love the sinner in any true way. Sinners need Jesus, perfect, crucified, risen, and reigning. Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance,” (Luke 5:31). We need Him precisely because we are sinners.

If we become afraid to call out sins like homosexuality and abortion, how soon will we be unable to to condemn cheating, lying, and adultery? When will everyone just be “okay” without Jesus?

Maybe our theology is already there.

Chik-Fil-A Isn’t the Problem; Homosexuality Is

A recent skirmish over a Pennsylvania Chik-Fil-A’s support of a marriage seminar forces us to ask the question: who exactly is at fault when opposing sides square off over marriage?

First, the two sides are roughly these:

  1. One Man – One Woman (“traditional” marriage) – this side says that our country’s traditional definitions of marriage as one man to one woman must stand. Homosexual marriage is thus excluded.
  2. Any Two People (gay “marriage”) – this side says that any two consenting people may get married under the law and have the same marital privileges. Homosexual marriage is thus included.

Next, the corollary conclusions from the existence of the question:

  • There is a right definition and a wrong definition of marriage.One definition must be right and the other wrong. There is no in-between. Postmoderns may say that we can all just hold hands, remind ourselves to tolerate it, and all will be well – but the question won’t go away.
  • Both sides believe there is a right and a wrong answer. When this issue comes out, all of the lip-service to subjective truth goes silent and voices shout for absolutes.
  • There is a growing divide between Americans on family-related issues like this. We can’t just say a word like “marriage” anymore and expect everyone to understand it. It must be defined, refined, and re-defined over the course of our history.
  • Christians are called to be a light in the darkness on this and many issues. Individuals, churches, schools, and seminaries may prefer to run from the offense of preaching the gospel faithfully (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, for instance), but then they no longer bear the name of Christ faithfully. Kevin DeYoung says, “But every generation in the church has some parcel of truth to defend and this is the plot for the present generation.”

All of that is prologue to the Chik-Fil-A story, which again forces us to ask – is Chik-Fil-A wrong, or the gay rights movement? Are conservative Christians to blame for all of the opposition toward homosexuals, or is there something else going on?

First of all, according to The NY Times, Chik-Fil-A wasn’t so much opposing homosexuality as they were supporting one man-one woman marriage.  Even so, we’ll resign that point to make the stronger one – in no other case would there be newsworthy stories about a group opposing shameful, criminal activity:

  • Would the media censure and disparage Mothers Against Drunk Drivers for picketing a bar known to send drunks onto the highway?
  • Would the liberal bigwigs talk smack about the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence for speaking out against wife-beaters?
  • Would Parents Against Pedophiles get nasty emails because they protested the weak sentencing of a convicted child molester?

You might be aghast at these examples – drunk driving, domestic violence, pedophilia? Aren’t these some of the worst of crimes, those that tear apart lives, families, and communities; those that make us sick to our digestive tracts? Homosexuality is no different.

Let me repeat that: Homosexuality is a sin, a shameful activity, and a crime against God’s order. You can do the biblical research yourself; God’s Word and His order are clear and true.

When we’ve listened to the only true Authority – not man and his faulty “wisdom” – we’ll see that Chik-Fil-A isn’t the problem here. Homosexuality is.

Wake Up to the Gender-Bending, Parents

Some people think that we don’t need to teach middle school and high school students what the Bible says about manhood and womanhood. They find these topics unnecessary, divisive, and intrusive.

When we read articles like this one, however, we’re hard-pressed to argue that the world isn’t inundating our children with lies, deception, and outright gender-bending.  As the author says, “And in this endeavor, dear parents, the [public] schools are no longer your friend.”

HT: Hermonta Godwin

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