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April 08, 2014

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Surrender how, exactly?

If surrender merely means "stop fighting for the legal definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman," then maybe. It would all depend on what the alternative legal definition would be. If the government completely gets out of the marriage definition business, then perhaps that's the least bad option available. If the government goes beyond allowing same sex marriage, and starts defining marriage to include close relatives, animals, inanimate objects, more than two partners, or other nutty combinations, then we'd have good reasons to keep fighting hard.

If surrender means "stop proclaiming what the Bible clearly teaches about heterosexual marriage and homosexual conduct," then the answer must be a clear and unequivocal NO. I'd much sooner face the wrath of the homosexual mob than face the wrath of God.

Since now the vast majority of our country now supports this sort of behavior, I say, let them eat their cake and have it too. If God gives the idolator over to this kind of behavior, then let them have their way. They are going to do damage to us and our society, true. There will be bad consequences. Maybe we can somehow get the government to quit defining marriage or something like that and just stay out of it altogether.

The only instance that we must try and change is the one of an adoption. We must do everything in our power to make sure that children are protected in this scenario. Gay couples should never, no way be allowed to raise children. It's complete madness. I think it's complete madness even if you think homosexuality is moral. That's what we should be focusing on right now. Do what you want, but leave the children out of it.

Now that's politically. We should make public statements politically and all that that we think certain sexual behavior is immoral. But at a smaller level, at the one on one level, when we disciple people who are not Christians or when our co-workers ask about this or when it's appropriate, we should acknowledge that God's word teaches that this behavior is immoral, just like we would about anything else. We shouldn't "marry" people of the same gender in our churches. And we should disfellowship those that are unrepentant of their behavior or refuse to acknowledge their sin in our churches. This is a good question and one I am interested in hearing he answer to.

"This is my Father's world
O let me ne'er forget
That thought the wrong seems O so strong
God is the Ruler yet."

Regardless of whether the battle in America or any other nation is lost or won in this regard, it does not mean we should turn from what is right and proclaim what is wrong. God is ultimately in charge, and He designed marriage, so turning that aside and making our own definition is a rejection of God's authority, and a sin.

So should we just be quiet? Who then will proclaim the truth about marriage? Even if the legislators and courts choose the wrong, we can still convince individuals, and call them out of a destructive way of life, and into one that is much better! I think we need to be very careful HOW we continue the fight, and make sure we are showing love and compassion for the people we are engaging with, while at the same time not wavering from the truth. This can be hard, especially when a commitment to the truth is perceived inherently as hateful, instead of loving. Just because it is hard does not mean we should give it up, however. We need to work HARDER to love our brothers and sisters with same-sex attractions, while keeping our commitment to the truth. Because they can gain something far greater than "tolerance" and "acceptance" - they can gain Jesus, and there is no greater prize.

maybe everyone should "pray" for "god" to convert all gays to straight. it's worth a try right? "god" has the ability to do this right? (with all of his/her/it's infinite power and wisdom). don lemon (cnn) said that he prayed for "god" to convert him to straight. but hey, maybe it's worth a try

moose,

The goal isn't for everyone to become "straight". The goal is for people to come to Jesus, which is a far greater prize.

maybe atheists should "reason" to "convince" all dims to become bright. it's worth a try right? atheistic "reasoning" has the ability to do this right? (with all its scientific scienciness). francis thompson (the hound of heaven) said that he tried to hide from god in his mind so that he could be bright. but hey, maybe it's worth a try.

First of all, I think this is a litmus test for the "churches". God will separate the wheat from chaff over this issue. "Churches" will and should split over this; obviously, Christianity cannot condone these unions; that's an impossibility that the world doesn't seem to understand. Part of what this is about is Christian marriage. That "marriage" is not what we're talking about here. This is about the worldly, pagan "marriage" and is why the issue is unwinnable. The pragmatist in the country who does not care simply sees it as a right to have the title-sadly, the courts see it that way, too. I agree with many apologists that this does open the door to the slippery slope that any pervert can use the same arguments to subvert and get government approval. However, the only barrier that I see that can withstand the encroachments on Christian liberties, (as in the case of the New Mexico photographer), is the angle that the government is forcing people to sin. That's Babylon and the fiery furnace. We will stand against that and that may be a better framing.

It cost John the Baptist his head when he mentioned Herod's adultery with his brother Philip's wife. We should expect trouble for making clear the Bible's admonitions against sodomy. The government obviously sanctions it and is moving towards protecting it.

We should however become wise as serpents and harmless as doves, not casting pearls before swine, so to speak, taking "free speech" risks unnecessarily, or where a fruitful harvest is doubtful.

I've lost friends and family for condemning divorce and remarriage. (I believe it is an adulterous legal union, also fully sanctioned by the state.) The same will no doubt happen as I continue my opposition to homosexuality and SSM.

The best route in the future would be to preach Christ, repentance from gay converts, while condemning the practice where it seems good will follow. I realize that the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord and that He has placed this nation on a slippery slope.

We shouldn't retreat, but we should be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.

I am a leader in a left-leaning technology organization - the Brendan Eich/Mozilla case hit home personally. I now must consider whether my Christian worldview, which is a guiding light in my present career, will limit my future in this particular field.

Most at work know I'm a follower of Jesus, and when asked about my views on same-sex marriage (by those who support it), I take a tactful approach. I don't shy away, but begin with Greg's caveat: I ask if they support diversity and tolerance before offering my opinion. Then, if they don't like what I say, they're careful with their response to avoid appearing intolerant and narrow minded. This often leads to substantive discussion.

Don't retreat, but don't lead with your chin, either.

Paul,
"I am a leader in a left-leaning technology organization - the Brendan Eich/Mozilla case hit home personally. I now must consider whether my Christian worldview, which is a guiding light in my present career, will limit my future in this particular field."

As a Christian in academia, I have to say (entirely without any rancor directed at you) "welcome to my world". I have been blessed to find work at a Christian college, given today's academic job market, but I have had to accept the reality that I will likely never find work outside of the "Christian ghetto".

Charles,

I take your comments as encouragement.

Can you say more about what you mean by, 'I have had to accept the reality that I will likely never find work outside of the "Christian ghetto"'?

The scriptures contain accounts of obedient people and nations who were subsequently blessed by God. We also find accounts where rejection of God’s laws forfeited His blessing, and even brought a curse upon the people. My belief in the reality of these accounts impels me to defend traditional marriage and values. If, for example, there really were Biblical cities destroyed by God for homosexuality (Sodom and Gomorrah), then I have a great interest in how much the society I live in embraces homosexuality.

The question is… DOES God place a protecting and preserving hand over a nation that keeps His laws, and remove it when a people rejects them? If so, then society’s insistence on sanctioning homosexuality will, given time, literally bring destruction to THIS nation.

@ moose

What on earth does this comment have to do with the topic?

I don't see anything in Scripture that gives us any indication that it is acceptable for Christians to simply give up and stop speaking and fighting for righteousness, in whatever area it may be!

In contrast, I see plenty about not becoming weary in well doing, not being discouraged by the world, etc.

When it comes to this issue, we are talking about the entire unraveling of our society. Unless we are planning to cut ourselves off from society entirely and live on some isolated compound in the middle of nowhere - which is not what God wants for His people, since we are supposed to be salt and light in the culture - then I don't see how we can be silent on this issue.

If the left wants us to shut up about same sex marriage, they should stop firing people from their jobs for opposing it. That sort of thing makes Christians believe their livelihood is at stake and they must oppose same sex marriage if for no other reason than to be able to keep their jobs.

The family precedes civilization and the family requires a mother and a father. This is one of those issues for which "retreat" is equivalent to "suicide". It simply is not an option.

Christians should certainly not stop voicing their beliefs and "proclaiming what the Bible clearly teaches," but the question is about tactics. Maybe Christians should stop focusing on the political realm and instead do more in the area of social welfare. Instead of passing laws (or campaigning to stop others from passing laws), Christians should take action to minister to those in need. Build up your church communities. Build up your charitable institutions and educational programs. Use "soft power" instead of the force of law.

@John Moore:

Are (a) political activity and (b) helping the needy mutually exclusive interests?

If not, then why exclude one and not the other?

Are Christians called to avoid political activity?

If so, why are you advocating a political position? (advocating for the avoidance of politics as you suggest is not a politically neutral position - it advocates a particular political strategy.)

Is there truly any neutral political ground?

Good day, sir.

Just a pragmatic perspective here . . .

There was a time when abortion was considered the unwinnable issue. After all, it was legal (post-1973). Why bother fighting it? Why not just focus on changing hearts and minds and not those pesky laws?

Yet there were those who continued to fight. And now, I look around and see libertarians, atheists, secular humanists, and a host of other folk taking the pro-life position--not based on biblical worldview, but rather on 40 years of evidence that abortion on demand did not usher in the Utopian society it promised. Not saying we've "won" on abortion, but I do sense a shifting tide here, especially among the young. And there's no question that more pro-life laws have been passed in the last two years than in the previous decade. (http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/more-pro-life-laws-passed-in-last-two-years-than-in-the-previous-decade-pro)

So in one sense, there is no such thing as an "unwinnable" battle. It just may take a very, very long time to win it.

J M

P.S. I would reduce my geek cred if I did not mention that the most valuable lesson I took from years of Star Trek: The Next Generation was that resistance is NEVER futile.

John, arguing for the man/woman definition of marriage is a social welfare issue. The destruction of marriage will lead to many more people being in need (see here for more on this).

Also, you'll note that changing the definition of marriage is the side that requires the force of law. Whenever a government seeks to remake a natural institution by adding an unnatural requirement to that institution (such as adding a race requirement to marriage, for example – see here), the force of law is required to create something new.

We're fighting against the illegitimate force of law to remake a pre-political institution.

To me this is a no-brainer. In Tactics, Greg Koukl asks for a clarification on equal rights: "I have a right to half your income." Says who? Where do rights come from?

Being clear on the nature of rights is important to civilization and to salvation. We don't have intrinsic positive rights to anything from government; why think marriage is one of those things? Rights can only be justified in virtue of a theoretic framework.

And there is no good framework that justifies why new types of partnerships need rights to something no one was talking bout twenty years ago.

To indulge the idea that rights will and should expand limitlessly will lead to civilizational collapse, and more significantly, the dangerous delusion that the cosmos, or God, owes us things we're not entitled to.

Amy writes: "John, arguing for the man/woman definition of marriage is a social welfare issue."

Can you show that gay marriage has been demonstrably harmful for either its participants or any children raised by them, generally speaking? Good luck. Most studies have shown the contrary.

Marriage for gay couples is far preferable than a life of casual flings and hookups. It provides emotional and financial stability and support for the couple as well as for any children who are being cared for by them.

What you're arguing against is single parenthood and divorce as well as the rearing of children by incompetent parents (regardless of their genders).

"Where do rights come from?"

This isn't resolved by a religious worldview. Christians used to uphold the idea of a theocratic monarchy. Do you think John Calvin was interested in the "rights" of the Anabaptists he expelled from Geneva or the "heretics" he had burned alive? Christian Reconstructionists like RJ Rushdoony advocated the punishment of any "non-orthodox" religious expression (although who defines heterodox is anyone's guess).

James, there are plenty of studies out there that examine the effects of children growing up without a father or without a mother (and yes, this is also a problem for single parents). It's demonstrably harmful. See here for some examples. This is also going to cause numerous legal problems if the government is going to try to make same-sex unions the same as opposite-sex unions (something that can only be done with much legal interference - see that link).

I have a horrendous headache right now, so I apologize that I'm not able to take the time to give more details about why changing the definition of marriage to be an intense emotional bond between people rather than the joining of a man and a woman will further erode the institution of marriage. For now, I just point you again to the link I gave you above for some of the problems the break down will cause.

Alo writes: " I'd much sooner face the wrath of the homosexual mob than face the wrath of God."

I see this sentiment a lot on religious blogs. Perhaps you all don't realize how nutty it sounds.

I'm not even sure what's being said. Are you afraid God is going to punish you because two guys down the street are getting married?

First of all, this makes God sound like the drill instructor from Full Metal Jacket who punished his entire unit with push-ups when a sole individual was unable to keep up.

Further, why would He tolerate them shacking up but not getting a civil marriage license? Is it the government's sanctioning of their relationships that enrages Him so?

We know what the Bible says about idolatry. He had entire towns leveled (men, women, children and even the stupid cows) because its members followed "false gods". If this is the way God really feels and operates, aren't we obliged to outlaw Mormonism, some practices of Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy as well as most Asian religions? Perhaps our Constitution which protects these faiths is an affront to God and we should just return to a theocratic monarchy or a government where a group of clerics decides what the laws are.

I think you're misunderstanding, and that is why it sounds silly. He's not talking about someone else's sin - each is accountable for his own sins. He's talking about his own sin if he were to start supporting that which is against God's created order, calling what is evil "good" and what is good "evil". If I started campaigning for SSM, I would be going against my conscience on this issue, which is informed by the clear word of God. For me, that is a sin.

Make sense now?

"If I started campaigning for SSM, I would be going against my conscience on this issue, which is informed by the clear word of God"

So again, isn't our current form of government which tolerates and even rewards "idolatrous" and/or heretical faiths like Mormonism, Catholicism and Buddhism an affront to your God? Didn't He supposedly destroy idolatrous nations in Scripture? Shouldn't you be campaigning to make Christianity the official religion of the United States and to have all of its laws reflect what you believe is God's law?

Look, I'm not saying you have to "like" gay marriage (or interfaith marriage or even interracial marriage). You're entitled to your own beliefs. The question is to what lengths you think these beliefs should be codified into law and why.


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