Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tyranny or Religious Bigotry?
...by Pastor Lars Larson, PhD

I am always honored when my friend Lars Larson submits an article for post here at COT. He is a faithful man of God, an excellent church historian, and expositor of God's Word. It is a joy to welcome this latest installment from him and I highly commend it to you.

This article is a good example of how thoughtful Christians should engage and converse with our postmodern culture. It is biblically without compromise, culturally applicable, straightforward, and practical.
His words call for a decisive response and seeks no neutrality of ideals.

May his words encourage and strengthen you further in your service to the Lord Jesus Christ.


Yours for the Master's use,

Steve

2 Cor. 4:5-7


A milestone was passed recently, which has accelerated our society on its downward path of moral decadence and tyranny. The state legislature forbid the citizens of Massachusetts to vote on the most significant moral and cultural issue facing our society—should the institution of marriage be redefined. Our “leaders”, elected to secure and preserve our rights, have acted on behalf of a vocal, affluent, and influential few. Claiming to defend the right of a minority, they robbed the right to vote to the majority. They have violated the foundational principle of democracy--society governed by the majority of voters. The actions of the legislature are tyrannical. The legislature does not believe that a society has the right to govern itself in all matters. They must use judicial and legislative means to deny citizens their influence to affect society and to impose on them the values of others. They have reshaped our laws and culture into that which we are opposed, into that which we consider, that our grandparents and their parents before us would have considered, evil, immoral, and degenerate. And we are now on a course that will continue to accelerate away from that we have known, now that the voters have been rendered impotent to affect the course of their society.

I understand why they acted in this way. They were afraid of the citizens’ vote if they were permitted to govern themselves. They know that many of us believe that the institution of marriage is not just a political and social institution, but a religious one. To us it is sacrilegious to redefine marriage. We have the conviction that God established the institution of marriage. We look to the Lord Jesus when He taught on the nature and the permanence of marriage between a man and a woman:

Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and He said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. (Matt. 19:14ff)
Although Massachusetts’ residents have been subjected to propaganda and policies that promote sexual license in their schools, the media, in the “entertainment” industry, and by the courts, Christians who believe the Bible have retained a traditional view of marriage and homosexual behavior. We continue to believe that sexual relations outside of marriage, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are immoral acts which God will judge. “Fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). Granted, people have always done these things in private, but a threshold is crossed when society approves of them (cf. Romans 1). Homosexual behavior is sin; therefore, homosexual marriage sanctioned by society is sin and will result in the forfeiture of God’s blessing and the certainty of incurring His wrath. God has established clearly His law upon which He judges people:
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion. Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you… You shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you …, lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. (Lev. 24:18-21ff)
God said that He would judge His people Israel as He had done the other nations for these sins. God’s ways among nations are the same today as they were when the above words were penned, for God does not change.

Do not think that we desire to demean or bring harm to those who are involved in the sins mentioned above. We desire God’s richest blessing upon them. But we are convinced this will not occur until they first repent of their sin and turn in faith to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Ours is not a message of bigotry and advocacy for the ruin of people, for we desire their salvation. The Bible teaches us that we should regard and treat all persons with respect and dignity because they have been made in the image of God. But God does not want us to dignify every moral action or choice that people make. The heart of the Christian message is that we are all sinners, failing to reflect the glory of God’s image in our lives, but that God through His Son redeems us from sin. Christians will continue to believe and live knowing that God created sexual relations to be the beautiful and righteous expression of love between a husband and wife. They will continue to believe and teach that all sexual activity outside of marriage is sin from which people should turn and seek forgiveness and new life through Jesus Christ. These values will not change for us. We will continue to proclaim them. I will not be surprised, however, when those in authority attempt to use their power to silence us.

That is what tyrants do.

32 comments:

donsands said...

Sin is relative they say. And Satan blinds the eyes of those who are perishing to believe this.
But the Gospel is the power that can penetrate a blind person, and give him sight. The Holy Spirit does this. And He uses the feet of His children to deliver the good news.

This was a good post. Just the right balance of compassion and righteousness.

My heart is heavy for America. Not so much for me, but for my grandsons.
The Gospel is the only possible power in this nation to turn the tide of sin.
Lord grant us courage to preach and live Your truth. Amen.

SJ Camp said...

Good to have you commenting here Don... Your thoughts and insights are always appreciated. I couldn't agree more with you...

Our hearts should be heavy for America.

She is a pagan nation and her only hope is the gospel. The gospel is not the hope for the culture; the Lord did not come to save "cultures" as some pomo's are imagined to think; but He came to save His people--His chosen ones whom the Father gave Him before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4-6; Titus 1:1-12; 2 Tim. 1:9). The gospel, however, IS the only hope for "Americans."

As Paul said, "I do all things for the sake of the elect." May that be our hearts cry as well.

Thank you again dear brother...
Steve

Joel said...

Absolutely excellent. Being American makes it easy to take for granted that our culture will be a Christian one, simply because so many Christian assumptions used to underlie it. We must never forget that we're still strangers in a strange land, even one that has a lot of Christians. No matter how much we may want to interject Christian morality into our government, it will never actually be a Christian government. The only real Christian rule we'll ever see will be at Christ's return.

BlueDeacon said...

While I'm no fan of "gay marriage," this focus on it misses the point. For centuries Western culture has promoted marriage for the sake of personal fulfillment rather than its true purpose of building, maintaining and strengthing families and communities, and even Christians marry often out of lust (which is why the divorce rate in the church is so high). Thus, using Scripture to say that gay marriage is prohibited smacks a bit of hypocrisy.

SJ Camp said...

bluedeacon
I'm not certain of your point here. How is this article hypocritical when speaking of gay marriage? Help me understand your position further...

Actually the purpose of marriage for the Christian is to glorify God mirroring the relationship between the Father and the Son (Eph. 5:22ff).

Practically, it is the cornerstone of all society--the family (as being one man, one woman and in most cases, with children).

Gay marriage, even if monogamous is not approved of biblically. It is foreign from Scripture. Most Americans and lawmakers today (70% in most cases) when having to vote on gay marriage by state referendum reject it categorically. So even among most nonbelievers gay marriage is not embraced at all.

FYI, on two things: 1. the divorce rate among believers is high not because of marrying out of lust, but because of a lack of forgiveness (most couples divorce for irreconcilable differences); 2. the Apostle Paul does say in 1 Cor. 7 that it is better to marry "than to burn" (a reference to lust).

Thanks for your thoughts...
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

gigantor1231 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gigantor1231 said...

Bluedeacon

So Mr. Blue, you say that deriving a doctrine with regards to the issue of gay marriage from the word of God is hypocriscy. By your words you establish your premise based on western culture and the divorce rate in the visible religous realm (I say religous realm here because the numbers with respect to the divorce rate within the the 'church' is based solely upon a random cross cut of people that go to a local congregation. Since being a Christian is a heart issue and not visible to your eye, the data you use is skewed by the fact that it is not truly known who is a Christian and who is not. The unsaved attend churches right along with the saved and so what you are seeing is a cross cut of a sub culture that exists in the world, and that is just a reflection of the world itself and not the church!) . You say;

"For centuries Western culture has promoted marriage for the sake of personal fulfillment rather than its true purpose"

and

"Christians marry often out of lust (which is why the divorce rate in the church is so high)."

To be honest with you your argument is weak, as a matter of fact it is smoke. Your judgement of this issue seems to based solely on your emotion and nothing else.
The fact is this, man is dead apart from Christ, he can do no good and all that he does is sin before a righteous and just God! No matter how you cut it homosexuality is a abomination to God. Yes, sin is a abomination to God in general, but homosexuality strikes at the very core of the natural order that God has ordained for man and that is to be united as one with a woman, not a man. Common sense should tell you how heinous homosexuality is, 1. It can bear no fruit other than feeding ones lust and desires.
2. Life can never come from the homosexual life style.
3. It is entirely self destructive in its nature.
Even the un Godly evolutionist can see this, in the order of things with respect to random selection, homosexuality is a mutation that has no chance of existence apart from being parasitic and growing only by preying on the weakness of others. In other words, if culture is morally strong then homosexuality simply dies just as 99.9% of all mutated organisms die.
As a Christian I base what I believe on the word of God because it is the only thing that has proven itself to be consistent and concrete in a fastly decaying world. Also, the Bible is the perfect word of God, and if basing what I believe in God's word is hypocriscy then I will be a hypocrite in the world until my dieing day. What do you base what you beleive upon Mr. Blue? If not the scriptures then what?

Adam Cummings said...

This new "vote" shouldn't surprise me, I suppose. :( Interesting.

BlueDeacon said...

Thank you for responding, Steve.

The problem with the original commentary is that Dr. Larson actually brings up not one but two, separate, issues here, which tends to muddy things a bit -- he complains about "judicial activism" while slamming gay marriage, a common tactic of ideologically conservative evangelical Christians (I worded that phrase carefully because, though I am an evangelical, I'm not ideologically conservative). Anyway, just suppose a majority of Massachusetts voters approved a ballot measure to allow homosexual marriage and a court struck that down; I'm sure he'd be very happy about that bit of "judicial activism."

And as for gay marriage itself, I said what I did because, in my view, most heterosexual couples get together for the same reason homosexual couples do -- physical attraction. You had mentioned that Christian couples divorce often because of "irreconcilable differences," but in my way of thinking those should have been ironed out in the courtship phase. In a way, I think we're addressing both sides of the same coin. That's not a problem that can be addressed simply by speaking out against homosexual "marriage"; we Christians need to rethink how we do marriage.

FWIW, the Scripture condemns homosexual behavior only on the basis that it's something that God's people do not do -- that is, it's a manifestation of rebellion against Almighty God. The context of all the passages on homosexual activity should make that clear. Going beyond that, as many believers and most "Christian" culture have done, actually begins to scapegoat gays and actually causes much of the "world" to be sympathetic. You said that over two-thirds of Americans and lawmakers oppose it; that said, I'm sure that percentage is way down from even a generation ago were polls taken then.

Here is a piece I wrote on the subject three years ago:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04066/281767.stm

Terry Rayburn said...

Steve,

Your point about unforgiveness being the main cause of so-called "unreconcilable differences" is a really important one.

Bluedeacon,

You make two good points in your Post-Gazette opinion piece,

1. One is that marital love should go beyond just the physical to "...doing whatever is best for the other person..."

2. And secondly, we aren't doing that too well as a nation.

But you have two problems in the piece.

1. You speak admiringly of "arranged" or "sensible" marriages as "...not for the sake of personal fulfillment but to maintain and strengthen families and communities; in many cases there were economic components to matrimony as well."

So far, so good. But you add to that, "Homosexual marriage thus was not only nonexistent but unthinkable."

Bingo. And that's the point. Not only is homosexual practice itself immoral, it doesn't "maintain and strengthen families and communities", as you put it.

Thus it's not only a Christian view (and we have our right in a free society to voice our political opinion to influence lawmakers), it's a socio-political view which even "non-believers can believe in" (apologies to David & Bacharach).

2. Secondly, you conclude that until the concept of true love is "more universally understood, 'gay marriage' isn't worth screaming about."

That's like saying, "until proper raising of children which results in upstanding adult ctizens is more universally understood, 'bank robbery' isn't worth screaming about."

This makes no sense. If homosexual practice (and therefore marriage) is immoral, and if it's disruptive to "maintaining and strengthening families and communities" (the point you yourself made), then it's crazy to wait until all us hererosexuals perfect our love before we oppose homosexual marriage.

SIDENOTE: I always recommend D.A. Carson's Exegetical Fallacies for a great discussion of the Greek words for "love". He will convince you not to put too much emphasis on the word agape, a wrong practice popularized by C.S. Lewis.

Blessings,
Terry

donsands said...

"we Christians need to rethink how we do marriage."

Scripture is clear, that a man can not have sex with another man.
And nature itself tells us it's wrong. Romans chapter 1

Sodom and Gommorah was judged by God in a fierce way. His fury came down upon them.
These men wanted to have sex with the angelic beings.

Sodomy is an abomination to God.

The Body of Christ needs to speak this truth in love. And in our day it will take courage to do so, because it's so unpolitically right to do so.

Our culture has turned things upside down. So much so, that they now say if a young boy starts to think he may be a homosexual, then we are to tell him to not fight it. In fact we are to say, "If you marry a woman, then that would be abnormal for you".

"Evil is good, and good is evil". The writing is on the wall, and it couldn't be any more clear.

Forgive me, if I intruded, but I am very concerned about this particular sin.
My brother died with AIDS.

SJ Camp said...

Thanks to all for this most excellent discussion here... I appreciate the tone and the truth of what is being expressed.

Don
I am so sorry to hear of your brother's loss. I have worked in the AIDS issue since 1988 and it has been slow ministry among evangelicals to see more involved and caring for dying people.

Did your brother come to know the Lord before his passing? Thank you for what you shared here...

Terry
Carson's "exegetical fallacies" is a favorite of mine too. Excellent point brother--blessings.

Blue
Good to hear you clarify and work through your thoughts a bit more on this article and issue. I don't think that Lars is an ideologue--but a concerned pastor applying the sound truths of Scripture to this issue.

One question: if you believe that homosexuality "is a manifestation of rebellion against Almighty God" then how is opposing gay marriage not being consistent with that biblical mandate?

I agree with you that the tension between judicial activism and ones own political proclivities can muddy the evangelical waters; but that notwithstanding, I believe what Lars was contending for was not a certain point of view on this issue, but the constitutional right for people in their district/state to not be deprived of their voting privileges on issues like this. Their voice was silenced--

IOW, the judges robbed the good people of Mass. their rights to be heard on this issue in order to play politics armed with nothing but their own agenda. Every time this issue is put to the public for a vote it is defeated by an overwhelming majority. Even in the liberal state of Oregon, it was defeated by a 2 to 1 margin. The judges know this and by their actions circumvented the process to force their own bias on the body politic.

I am certain you are outraged at this practice as well aren't you?

Lars is such a man of integrity that I think he would have written the same thing with the same passion even if the judges decision was one that favored his own world-view. He is a brother of principle not politics.

Campi
2 Cor. 4:5-7

donsands said...

Thanks Steve.

I don't think Tommy was a believer. I was with him a day before he died and I spoke with him about the Lord. He was quiet.
Then the nurse came running in and made me leave.

Up to this time in the Hosice, he basically had his own beliefs in God. He was a Catholic growing up, and an altar boy, and a lot of religion, but did the Gospel ever pentrate his heart? I don't know that for sure.

I appreciate your asking.
Have a wonderful Lord's Day.

BlueDeacon said...

We need to understand one thing: Just because something is unpopular doesn't make it wrong or right. Steve mentioned that gay marriage referenda have consistently gone down to defeat; however, as most people don't share the same Scriptural concerns that we do we can't continually depend on "popular uprisings" to defeat them. Three years ago I was attending a Christian college student convention and the main speaker said that she managed to publicize a conceived gay-themed cable TV channel; the outcry was so great that it ended up being pulled -- but only temporarily, because it's on my system now. Besides, gay rights advocates know full well that two generations ago that very same argument was made to justify the denial of civil rights for African-Americans (that's my ethnic/racial background, BTW), especially in the South, which is why they remain unbowed.

As for my "gay marriage" op-ed, I think some of you missed my point. Really, the problem is, and has been for several hundred years, that we in the West choose partners often based primarily on physical attraction, which is where the very concept of "gay marriage" becomes a possibility. Deal with that issue and gay marriage goes out the window. To Terry, I say this: Bank robbery is a crime everywhere, but homosexual conduct isn't and perhaps shouldn't be.

gigantor1231 said...

BD

The issue really is not the majority or popular vote here, the issue is design and order. God created man and women to function together in unison, producing a picture for man kind as to who He is and what His nature is like, at the least it reflects man and womans unique ability to procreate and bring life into the world, homosexuals will never have this in a natural way. Homosexuality and Gay marriage reflects a picture of the world and the order and operation that it sets as natural, it reflects the flesh and death. Even natural selection in darwinianism has determined that homosexuality is irrational and self destructive, it is a dead end and leads to the destruction of the species by disease or simply by the inability to reproduce.
The popular vote of worldly people is a reflection of that understanding as well as the knowledge that there is a higher power to be called to account by.
Physical attraction did not spawn the issue of gay marriage, sin is what spawned the issue of gay marriage and sin is what will maintain it. It was born out of the flesh and will continue to be kept alive by the flesh.
You see Blue, men love darkness and they hate the light, and the church will never be able to change that, only Christ can! Until then this is a issue that will never go away on this earth in our time frame! Addressing social issues will not remedy this or any other ill in society, the pure un adulterated gospel and the acceptance of it is the only hope for man kind, the sooner you understand that the sooner you will be able to help. PS homosexuality is a curse, if you believe the Bible that is!

donsands said...

marriage: joining of a husband and wife.

There's no such thing as homosexual marriage.
It's an absurd notion.

Two men having sex. Or two women having sex is wrong. Nature declares this.

Do you concurr with this bluedeacon?
Just wondering.

ps And homosexual rights cannot be compared to skin color. I don't see them even closely related.

BlueDeacon said...

The issue really is not the majority or popular vote here, the issue is design and order.

Within this discussion, that's not exactly true because that's not how Dr. Larson's commentary started out -- it was about a court decision.

Two men having sex. Or two women having sex is wrong.

If you want to go all the way, all sex outside of a covenant relationship is wrong if you want to take a utilitarian Biblical view. However, theologically you would have problems isolating that as sin, for Romans 14:23 says that "everything [emphasis mine] that does not come from faith is sin." Anything that a non-believer does, even though he or she may mechanically obey the law of God, is ultimately irrelvant because he or she doesn't recognize Jesus as LORD. Besides, when the Scripture was being written gays were running rampant all over the Roman Empire; in fact, I've heard the singles pastor of my church estimate on several occasions that 70 percent of Rome comprised practicing homosexuals. If that be true, that would explain why Paul said what he did at the beginning of the Epistle to the Romans.

And homosexual rights cannot be compared to skin color. I don't see them even closely related.

The only reason they are at all related is that many of the same people opposed both for some of the same reasons, even using Scripture. In addition, court desicions overturning racist laws faced great opposition at the time, which is why Dr. Larson actually was skating on thin ice.

gigantor1231 said...

BD

Dr. Larson did start out his discussion with respect to the court decision but he did it that way to address what is happening in this nation, that is the moral decay of our country via our judicial and legislative system! The body of his argument was with respect to the truth, the word of God. I have quoted directly from what he said and it is obvious that the point that he is driving at is that this nation is in danger of being judged by God because of its exponentially increasing spiral into un Godliness.

You said;

'However, theologically you would have problems isolating that as sin, for Romans 14:23 says that "everything [emphasis mine] that does not come from faith is sin." Anything that a non-believer does, even though he or she may mechanically obey the law of God, is ultimately irrelvant because he or she doesn't recognize Jesus as LORD.'

The passage that you quote is in refference to the beleiver that is weak and considers it a sin to eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols, and a assortment of other issues that have to do with the faith of the weak believer. This passage has nothing to do with the non believer at all!
Those that are apart from the lord are dead, just as we once were;

Eph. 2:1,2

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Eph 2:3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Because those that are dead in their trespasses practice sin by the nature that they inherited from Adam and Eve as a result of the fall. They are still held without exscuse because God has placed inside of every man a moral compass called the conscience. That conscience is still sensitive to what is right and man still has the will to act and not be as evil as he could possibly be. So while all have sinned and fallin short of the glory of God, those that are not saved are under the law and the saved are under grace.
The homosexual is dead and in sin and those of us born again and filled with the Holy Spirit need to let them know that they are in sin and their actions are an abomination to God as well.

According to what you say it sounds like you beleive that the Bible is nothing more than a work of man, you said;

'that would explain why Paul said what he did at the beginning of the Epistle to the Romans.'

following the logic that you have just applied here I assume that you think Paul would not say the same thing today. You err in this assumption and I would have to question your understanding and knowledge of the scriptures.
2Peter 1:20 states;

20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (2 Pe 1:20-21). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

the words "carried along" mean that it was God moving through men to write his word. In other words you do not read the words and thoughts of men in the scriptures but you read the exact word of God, you have the mind of Christ in print. God simply used men as His writing instruments, He controlled every stroke, jot and tittle.
If you look at the word of God from the perspective that it is a man made document, then I can see why you have the line of thinking that you do, hence why you take your stand with the religous humanist with respect to homosexuality. Am I safe in making this assumption, or do you hold to the scriptures as they are written?
The Bottom line is, we as Christians need to continue to do all that we can to repel the encroachment of the world upon the body of Christ and the only way to do that is to take a pro active role and proclaim the truth, the full Gospel to all non believers. If we do not do this we deny that mandate that God has charged us with to proclaim the truth. The truth in this case is that homosexual marriage is a matter of men choosing to deny God and cling to that wich is evil. Man without Christ is utterly depraved and homosexuality is a direct result of that depravity.

The following are quotes from Dr Larson post. They are the body of what he was driving at in this address.


'We continue to believe that sexual relations outside of marriage, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are immoral acts which God will judge. “Fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4).'

'Homosexual behavior is sin; therefore, homosexual marriage sanctioned by society is sin and will result in the forfeiture of God’s blessing and the certainty of incurring His wrath. God has established clearly His law upon which He judges people: (Lev. 24:18-21ff)

'God said that He would judge His people Israel as He had done the other nations for these sins. God’s ways among nations are the same today as they were when the above words were penned, for God does not change.'

'Do not think that we desire to demean or bring harm to those who are involved in the sins mentioned above. We desire God’s richest blessing upon them. But we are convinced this will not occur until they first repent of their sin and turn in faith to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Ours is not a message of bigotry and advocacy for the ruin of people, for we desire their salvation. The Bible teaches us that we should regard and treat all persons with respect and dignity because they have been made in the image of God. But God does not want us to dignify every moral action or choice that people make.'

I would really like to know where you derive what you write and what you believe from. Do you hold to the word of God alone or do you subscribe to a plethora of beliefs apart from it?

BlueDeacon said...

Dr. Larson did start out his discussion with respect to the court decision but he did it that way to address what is happening in this nation, that is the moral decay of our country via our judicial and legislative system!

Which I believe was his first mistake, because as I said before, "judicial activism" and "gay marriage" represent two separate issues and ought to be addressed as such. You may remember that within the last year or two an amendment to the U. S. Constitution establishing a marriage as "one man, one woman," to circumvent possible upcoming court rulings, was proposed but failed in the Senate -- not on the grounds of support for gay marriage, as some folks charged, but that in this country such matters were traditionally left to individual states. The problem with any number of conservative Christian "culture warriors" is that, when it comes to addressing such "moral" issues, they tend to focus only on the end result but fail to consider the necessary process and prevailing political philosophy to find a way to get there. As a result, they end up having little if any impact and making a ton of enemies in the process.

The homosexual is dead and in sin and those of us born again and filled with the Holy Spirit need to let them know that they are in sin and their actions are an abomination to God as well.

My objection is: Why limit this discussion to homosexuals? You make it sound as though they are especially condemned or dangerous when the Scripture makes no such distinction. I mean, really -- if a person is sexually celibate but without Christ, what does his or her celibacy mean? Nothing, in the eternal scheme of things.

gigantor1231 said...

BD

I think what you see as a mistake is Dr. Larson using a living illustration to communicate the over riding truth that is occurring in our culture today. That is this, this nation is under the hand of God and it is in the process of being judged and will be judged in a more severe manner in the future.
I do not see his post as a attempt at political activism or a move to change the culture as a whole. As he explained, the only hope for mankind as a whole and the united states and the homosexual to be more specific, is a forsaking of their sin, that they love, and acceptance of Christ as Savior. We as Christians understand that the world will hate us, and we know that they will hate us no matter how we present the truth of the Gospel, Christ for warned us of this. We do not go out trying to make enemies they naturally exist. We fully understand the cost and the methods we need to employ to accomplish the will of God.

With respect to addressing the homosexual alone with regards to their sin, I am speaking to that issue alone here on this blog because that is what the topic is. I am certain that you understand this.

You sound like you are very post modern in your beliefs, and if that is a fact you should re think your position because you are on the wrong side of the issue.
When I say the wrong side I do not mean mine or some conservative Christian agenda, I mean the side of the truth, the side of God! Most likely, and I only say this based upon what I have read from you, you have other very liberal and post modern points of faith that you cling to.
I would like to see you support what you believe from the word of God because that is where truth exists and apart from the framework that the scriptures set forth there is no truth, as a articulate Christian you should be able to readily do this. Your liberal opinion and ambiguity with respect to the issue of homosexual marriage and homosexuality is very obvious. It seems to be that you see what the Bible presents as commands as merely suggestions that can lead to a higher quality of life, not life as opposed to eternal seperation from God. That is why I have asked you to clarify where you stand with respect to the word of God, I would like to see if there is any common ground between us.

donsands said...

"If that be true, that would explain why Paul said what he did at the beginning of the Epistle to the Romans."

What the Apostle wrote is God's holy Word.
God condemns homosexual behavior, and even nature itself says it's perverted.

blue,
You detour around the truth too much for me.
You are too much work for me.
Gigantor can take over. he's doing a fine job. I agree with him.

BlueDeacon said...

I think what you see as a mistake is Dr. Larson using a living illustration to communicate the over riding truth that is occurring in our culture today. That is this, this nation is under the hand of God and it is in the process of being judged and will be judged in a more severe manner in the future. I do not see his post as a attempt at political activism or a move to change the culture as a whole.

As an "outsider," to me that's quite obvious that it was precisely what Dr. Larson was doing. And if this nation is to be judged, there's a whole lot more than homosexuality to be addressed, because ancient Israel was consistently disciplined for two reasons: 1) Failure to worship God properly and 2) Systematic abuse of the poor and powerless. Christians have deliberately overlooked this reality because it's easier to blame someone else (not to mention raise a ton of cash for a campaign).

With respect to addressing the homosexual alone with regards to their sin, I am speaking to that issue alone here on this blog because that is what the topic is. I am certain that you understand this.

Sorry, but that's simply not true, and your insistence on such won't make it so. The real issue is the "culture war" which we lost a long time ago and the authority we Christians have forfeited because, frankly, we ourselves became arrogant. There is a reason why we're losing ground -- since 1980 we have failed to "act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God" (see Micah 6:8).

I would like to see you support what you believe from the word of God because that is where truth exists and apart from the framework that the scriptures set forth there is no truth, as a articulate Christian you should be able to readily do this. Your liberal opinion and ambiguity with respect to the issue of homosexual marriage and homosexuality is very obvious.

Au contraire -- in fact, my position is actually far closer to the Scripture than yours. Because, you see, there's never been a nation that has been "judged" primarily because of its sexual practices. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed primarily because of their arrogance, selfishness and love of money and pleasure (see Ezekiel 16:49 and 50, plus read the chapters in Genesis when Lot settled in that city in the first place) -- and (I learned this only recently) God was also going to take out the cities that Lot had escaped to.

BlueDeacon said...

You detour around the truth too much for me. You are too much work for me.

Well, if you actually read the Scriptures in the context in which they were written instead of reading things into it that just aren't there, you wouldn't complain about my comments. But, you see, the early church never participated in any culture war because it knew it had no power to change things, so it concentrated on preaching and living the Gospel and eventually wore out the Roman Empire. Thus, the only way we can truly be effective witnesses in this wicked world is to do the same.

But because we have not consistently lived up to our ideals but sought worldly power and authority anyway, we simply don't have the ear of the nation and world. This fight against "gay marriage" actually has us fighting with the world on its terms, and we can never win that fight.

gigantor1231 said...

BD

'if this nation is to be judged, there's a whole lot more than homosexuality to be addressed, because ancient Israel was consistently disciplined for two reasons.'

I never insinuated that this nation is being judged, or will be judged for the issue of homosexuality alone, and by the way, if you read in Romans 1 and 2 you will see that the sin of homosexuality is the judgement of God, He is allowing men to be let loose to their own passions and desires, because knowing the truth they suppress it and deny the reality of who God is! You have yet to respond to this and verify if you agree with the passage, that homosexuality is God's judgement. Here is the passage just for clarity. If it is not in context then please support what you say with a cogent argument, Romans 1: 18-32

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 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. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ro 1:18-32). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.



I see that you took Mr. sands to task with regards to taking scripture out of context, perhaps you could at least have the courtesy to back up that accusation. I was curtious enough to you to show you how you pulled Romans 14:23 out of context, as I said the context of the passage is toward the believer, the weak believer to be more specific, you were trying to apply it to those that are seperated from God. The issues of the unbeliever just does not apply there.
You might also take into consideration that he has a more personal qualification to speak to this issue than most, due to the fact that he had a brother who was a homosexual and unfortunately he died of aids. I do not detect any angst from Mr. Sands with regards to the homosexual, but like most of us here he wants to see them redeemed by coming to Christ.
You seem to be under the impression that we are on some crusade against the homosexual. Perhaps this is simply because, as you said, you are a outsider, you have not been on this blog before. Homosexuality is just one among many issues that we discuss here and to be honest with you it is not even close to being the top of the list. The top of the list would probably be the clear exposition of the truth in a relatively intellectual yet understandable manner. Primarily the main truth we focus on in almost every discussion is the nescessity of the clear presentation of the Gospel, something that has been under assault lately, by those that are post modern and or emergent in their beliefs.

I find it interesting how you seem to be more than willing to attack the body of Christ and expose it's shortcomings. To be honest with you, you are wrong in doing this because you and I and everyone else in here do not know who the church is in it's entirety. We know what the description of the church is, and we know what the fruits that those that are in the church are to bare, but those that are of the body of Christ are those that know him inwardly and their hearts are his. What you speak of as the church is the religous institution in America and that is populated with both un believers as well as believers. You seem to be unwilling to give credit where credit is due and recognize the vast majority of believer that do far above and beyond what you think should be done. I will admit, however, that the true church of Christ, those that are his seems to be inordinantly small, however in Mt. 24:14 it says that many are called but few are chosen. It is mired down in many ways by materialism, not unlike the church of Laodicea was. I pray all the time that God will raise up his men and women in this country, proclaiming his Gospel at what ever the cost. I do not nescessarily disagree that those that are lukewarm will be encouraged by God's fire to serve him in a more serious and dedicated manner! Along with this, of course I look to my own inadequacies, and try to find more things that I can do to serve the Lord and reach the lost, above all, as Paul, I would hope to claim to know Christ and him crucified more than anything else and I might decrease that He might increase.

You said;

'in fact, my position is actually far closer to the Scripture than yours. Because, you see, there's never been a nation that has been "judged" primarily because of its sexual practices.'

If your position is closer scriprurally then please produce the contextual and relevant scriptures that support what you are boasting to being closer in. I have no problem with the truth if you truly have it, and as I said, as articulate as you seem to be you should have no problem in producing these passages. Consider yourself challenged to prove what you say, please do not respond with rhetoric but produce the word of God and cut it straight!

I have said it before and I will say it again, I never said that this nation will be judged because of it's sexual practices alone. If I did say that then show me where I said it and I will gladly turn from that statement. What I have said, a number of times is that, homosexuality is the judgement of God in and of itself and I supported that with the scriptures from Romans. Actually I could contexutally produce many more than that but it appears that you do not believe that the bible is relevant in this area. Do you believe that the Bible is the genuine Word of God? Please make it a priority to answer this question, it is important in that I would like to understand more clearly where you base your faith, and what shapes your beliefs and opinions.

BlueDeacon said...

I never insinuated that this nation is being judged, or will be judged for the issue of homosexuality alone, and by the way, if you read in Romans 1 and 2 you will see that the sin of homosexuality is the judgement of God, He is allowing men to be let loose to their own passions and desires, because knowing the truth they suppress it and deny the reality of who God is! You have yet to respond to this and verify if you agree with the passage, that homosexuality is God's judgement. Here is the passage just for clarity. If it is not in context then please support what you say with a cogent argument, Romans 1:18-32

You overstate it, grossly. In the culture in which Paul was writing, homosexual conduct was so rampant (far more so than our day, BTW) he could hardly avoid it, and I have already given you the context -- it was a sign that people rejected the sovereignty of God and the LORDship of Christ. But just because we have an outbreak of homosexual behavior does not mean this country is going to hell in a handbasket. The Scripture does not speak to that.

And do you know why? Because judgment begins at the house of God -- that is, with the church. In fact, the context of the half-dozen references to homosexual behavior, with no exceptions, is that it's something God's people are to refrain from because it's identified as "worldly" -- which means that it was apparently common, or at the very least not unknown, in other cultures or tribes. Look them up if you don't believe me.

As such, I have no desire to get into a "culture war," even after nearly 30 years of walking with Christ. However, the way the issue is framed on this particular thread insures that God's true intent will be missed. What will happen if homosexual behavior is outlawed? Nothing -- because it deals only with externals, and people will just find another way to sin.

You ask, what do I base my opinions on? Scripture, pure and simple, but without the cultural baggage that comes from power-hungry "American conservative evangelicalism," much of which is so un-Biblical that it takes a miracle of the Holy Spirit for anyone to see truth. Bottom line, using Scripture to scapegoat homosexuals, which is exactly what you're doing, speaks of pride, arrogance and idolatry -- and I don't need to tell you what God says about that.

Joel said...

Because judgment begins at the house of God -- that is, with the church.

True to some extent, Bluedeacon. (Excellent name, BTW! You must be a sax player.)

However, in a society where the individual has the franchise, it's still our duty to use what political power we have in a Godly way. You're absolutely right that we can't stop sin altogether. But that doesn't absolve us of the responsibility to do as much as we can.

Legislation is the least of our tools for combating sin; our best weapon is godly behavior in our own lives. But where we have political influence, it's incumbent on us to promote Christian morality.

You suggest (if I understand right) that our support of traditional marriage should begin with the church. That sounds very good, but history has shown us that when the secular culture begins to accept a given behavior, churches will follow one by one. Contraception is a good example of that: until the 1930s or so, all churches regarded it as sinful. Today, only a handful do (aside from the biggest church, and look at the sneering people do at us over-breeding Catholics). Divorce-and-remarriage used to be discouraged in most churches; today it's blase.

So although it's true that homosexuality needs to be dealt with within the Body (and especially in my own church, alas!), it's also pragmatic for Christians to try to improve the secular culture so as to avoid having sins seep into our church lives.

BlueDeacon said...

Joel -- Good guess as to the origin of my nickname; I do indeed play the sax. Praise God that I can do so in church on a regular basis. (However, I really was a deacon in my previous church.)

However, in a society where the individual has the franchise, it's still our duty to use what political power we have in a Godly way. You're absolutely right that we can't stop sin altogether. But that doesn't absolve us of the responsibility to do as much as we can.

I have no problem with that, per se; I strongly support laws banning abortion, for example. I object, however, to the concept that there are certain people we need to take out in order to "save our nation" (read: Maintain our special privileges) because, if we're honest, we all at one time belonged to an "out" group. Besides, I've spent much of my life being persecuted by other Christians -- part of that was racism -- and thus I have no patience with people who make those kind of comments. That's why Dr. Larson's article set me off.

You suggest (if I understand right) that our support of traditional marriage should begin with the church. That sounds very good, but history has shown us that when the secular culture begins to accept a given behavior, churches will follow one by one. Contraception is a good example of that: until the 1930s or so, all churches regarded it as sinful. Today, only a handful do (aside from the biggest church, and look at the sneering people do at us over-breeding Catholics). Divorce-and-remarriage used to be discouraged in most churches; today it's blase.

This is why I place a great deal of emphasis on the early church's "separation" (I use the term carefully) from the world. The early church had virtually nothing to do with the surrounding culture because it knew just how corrupt it was. But I see the problem as the church in many cases trying to join the world and subtly rejecting that separation (because it desires the "praise of men"; consequently, as you said, the culture likewise has indeed infiltrated the church. I know a guy who believes in "theonomy"; while that sounds good in theory, in fact he thinks just as worldly as the people he criticizes, violating the Scriptures he says he believes all the while.

That said, evangelism works when, and only when, people understand that Jesus offers something different than what the world does -- and that includes "culture wars." Put another way, much of our political action over the past nearly 30 years has actually compromised the message of the Gospel, and over the past couple of years more and more Christians are beginning to see that. It's no accident, for example, that Joel Hunter quit the Christian Coalition before he was even inaugurated as president -- he had asked if the group would broaden its agenda from abortion and same-gender marriage, and when he was told that decision couldn't be made right away he stepped down.

Joel said...

(However, I really was a deacon in my previous church.)

LOL! As it happens, a couple of years ago I started preparations for the diaconate at my own church. I had to drop it when my last baby was born, as my time was needed at home. But I had planned at the time to chronicle the training on a side blog called "Deacon Blues."

The early church had virtually nothing to do with the surrounding culture because it knew just how corrupt it was. But I see the problem as the church in many cases trying to join the world and subtly rejecting that separation (because it desires the "praise of men"; consequently, as you said, the culture likewise has indeed infiltrated the church.

I'm not sure that's an altogether bad thing; separation ceases to be practicable in any given culture when Christianity becomes the majority religion. What that does is it forces Christians to make more distinctions between "the world" and "the Church" than are necessary when the world sees the Church as merely lion food.

gigantor1231 said...

BD

'In the culture in which Paul was writing, homosexual conduct was so rampant (far more so than our day, BTW) he could hardly avoid it, and I have already given you the context -- it was a sign that people rejected the sovereignty of God and the LORDship of Christ.'

You must live in a ivory tower somewhere because in the city I live in homosexuality is as rampant as it was in Rome if not even more so. Our state just passed a law allowing public sex acts for the sake of artistic purposes, on the college campus I attend they had a special booth set up for people to go watch men having sex, and at one of the local colleges here they close down the campus so the students can have 4 days of bebauchery, drugs and orgies and they are openly proud of it. I just went to meet a lady tonight who has a son who is gay. Like I said, you must live in a ivory tower because it is rampant in the city I live in as well as other cities that I have been in. When I was in Munich Germany in 1976, they were in the same position that I see the USA in today, perhaps we are just trying to catch up.

I think we should call you the 'sound bite deacon' because after being thirty years of being a Christian you have not learned to read the word and correctly discern context and exposit the truth. Here is what you said;

'And do you know why? Because judgment begins at the house of God -- that is, with the church.'

Wow, sounds like you are really speaking with some authority but really what you are doing is holding to the form and denying the truth. Let's look at the passage and see what the true context is!

1 Peter4:12-17;

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (1 Pe 4:12-17). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Perhaps it is not obvious to you but Peter tells the believers to rejoice in this type of judgment because it is the type of judgment that makes us stronger. It is not the same type of judgment for those that do not "obey the Gospel." You once again have pulled this passage out of context, do you actually read these things before you say them? Or is it "Context According to the Opinion of Blue Deacon."

I don't think you read this part from Romans either!

Romans 1:24;

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,

You see, BD, "God gave them up" in other words he turned them over to their own passions and desires!

Isn't this a pretty strong statement from Paul, He is saying God did this, he is not giving a opinion here, these are strong and authoritative words. Did you read this part?

Romans 1:26,27;

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.

Once again, BD, God is turning them over to these things. This is serious stuff!
And lastly,

Romans 1:28-32;

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. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Paul is saying again that God gave them up to this type of sin.

You said;

'the context of the half-dozen references to homosexual behavior, with no exceptions, is that it's something God's people are to refrain from because it's identified as "worldly" -- which means that it was apparently common, or at the very least not unknown, in other cultures or tribes.'

It means that it is apparently common, what a bunch of bilge. If you teach in a church I hope they have deliverance sessions for the spin that you put on things!

'As such, I have no desire to get into a "culture war," ' to much O Reilly or some liberal blog brings this on I suppose.

'You ask, what do I base my opinions on? Scripture, pure and simple, but without the cultural baggage that comes from power-hungry "American conservative evangelicalism," much of which is so un-Biblical that it takes a miracle of the Holy Spirit for anyone to see truth.'

From what I have seen here you pick and choose little pieces of scripture that you think will enhance what you want to say. Do you do the same in your life, BD. Pick and choose and throw out what you do not like?

'Bottom line, using Scripture to scapegoat homosexuals, which is exactly what you're doing, speaks of pride, arrogance and idolatry -- and I don't need to tell you what God says about that.'

I think you better take a good look in the mere because you have a log in your eye, probably why you have such a hard time reading the bible for what it actually says.

Just for the record, I love the people who are homosexual and I reach out to them when I can. I want to see them come to Christ so they to can spend eternity with Him.
You have made a point of becoming personal in this blog and that is fine, it is unfortunate that you spin everything you say. From the article you wrote and I read I imagine you do that with many things you communicate. As for your attacks on the church, I know that there is one they call the accuser of the brethren, do you see any similarities between what he does and what you do or do you see yourself as some type of modern day judge?

gigantor1231 said...

BD

Just to clarify something! You said that I 'grossly over state' the judgement of God with respect to homosexuality, homosexuality is a judgement it is a sign that God has turned his back on man. This is a fact, not a overstatement!

By the way, I think you probably play the fiddle! Sounds to me like you are playing it now!

BlueDeacon said...

I'm not sure that's an altogether bad thing; separation ceases to be practicable in any given culture when Christianity becomes the majority religion. What that does is it forces Christians to make more distinctions between "the world" and "the Church" than are necessary when the world sees the Church as merely lion food.

It probably never occurred to the early church that it would indeed become a majority religion. That said, when Constantine embraced Christianity -- as much for political reasons as anything else -- that created its own set of problems, not the least of which was theological.

From what I have seen here you pick and choose little pieces of scripture that you think will enhance what you want to say. Do you do the same in your life, BD. Pick and choose and throw out what you do not like?

No, Gigantor, I do not and never have. But you clearly do, as do a whole lot of Christians, reading into Scripture their own cultural biases and ignoring the historical context in which it was written -- and as a result, also considering your consistent insults on this blog, I have no inclination to argue with you further.

gigantor1231 said...

BD

LOL I apologize if what I said seemed harsh to you but
I guess I am not surprised that you can not take what it is that you dish out! You are associated and have been inculcated into the left media, so, no shock here.
I really have no truck with you at all, just thought that I would communcate with you in same tone as you communicate with me and all us "power-hungry "American conservative evangelicals," after all we are, as you said, "using Scripture to scapegoat homosexuals," and, as you said, it "speaks of pride, arrogance and idolatry -- and I don't need to tell you what God says about that." Problem is that I am sure this is what you say to everyone that does not hold to the left liberal agenda.

Cultural bias is what you bring into the mix BD, it is obvious you see who you are as some sort of victim of everyone else and so your writing is salted with your bitterness.

I produced the scripture that you say that I took out of context and you still would not look at EXACTLY what it said and respond to EXACTLY what it said. You are the epitomy of the liberal media, you only take what you want to be truth and present it as you see it, everything around you is subject to you and fact is what you fabricate of it! How can anyone even trust your opinion on music when you will not honestly portray and give a explanation for what is put right in front of your face? So scurry off and avoid dialogue, I suppose that is all you can do when what you have said here is simply based on smoke, mirrors and denial, denial, denial!