Although I disagree that Justification was the main concern, this is a good article.
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses concerning clerical abuses and indulgences on the church door at Wittenberg. This famous event is often considered that launching point for the Protestant Reformation.
The chief concern for Luther and the other reformers was the doctrine of justification. It was, to use Calvin’s language, the main hinge on which religion turns.” And the doctrine of justification is no less important today than it was 500 years ago.
There are five key concepts every Protestant should grasp if they are to understanding the reformer’s (and the Bible’s) doctrine of justification.
First, the Christian is simul iustus et peccator. This is Martin Luther’s famous Latin phrase which means “At the same time, justified and a sinner.” The Catechism powerfully reminds us that even though we are right with God, we still violate his commands, feel the sting of conscience, and battle against indwelling sin. On this side of the consummation, we will always be sinning saints, righteous wretches, and on occasion even justified jerks. God does not acquit us of our guilt based upon our works, but because we trust “him who justifies the ungodly” (Rom. 4:5).
Second, our right standing with God is based on an alien righteousness. Alien doesn’t refer to an E.T. spirituality. It means we are justified because of a righteousness that is not our own. I am not right with God because of my righteousness, but because “the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ” has been credited to me. “Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling; naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace; foul, I to the Fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die” wrote August Toplady in the old hymn. We contribute nothing to our salvation. The name by which every Christian must be called is “The Lord is our righteousness” (Jer. 23:6).
Third, the righteousness of Christ is ours by imputation, not by impartation. That is to say, we are not made holy, or infused with goodness as if we possessed it in ourselves, but rather Christ’s righteousness is credited to our account.
Fourth, we are justified by faith alone. The Catholic Church acknowledged that the Christian was saved by faith; it was the alone part they wouldn’t allow. In fact, the Council of Trent from the 16th century Catholic counter-reformation declared anathema those who believe in either justification by imputation or justification by faith alone. But evangelical faith has always held that “all I need to do is accept the gift of God with a believing heart.” True, justifying faith must show itself in good works. That’s what James 2 is all about. But these works serve as corroborating evidence, not as the ground of our justification. We are justified by faith without deeds of the law (Rom. 3:28; Titus 3:5). The gospel is “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:30-31), not “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and cooperate with transforming grace and you shall be saved.” There is nothing we contribute to our salvation but our sin, no merit we bring but Christ’s, and nothing necessary for justification except for faith alone.
Finally, with all this talk about the necessity of faith, the Catechism explains that faith is only an instrumental cause in our salvation. In other words, faith is not what God finds acceptable in us. In fact, strictly speaking, faith itself does not justify. Faith is only the instrument by which we embrace Christ, have communion with him, and share in all his benefits. It is the object of our faith that matters. If you venture out on to a frozen pond, it isn’t your faith that keeps you from crashing into the water. True, it takes faith to step onto the pond, but it it’s the object of your faith, the twelve inches of ice, that keeps you safe. Believe in Christ with all your heart, but don’t put your faith in your faith. Your experience of trusting Christ will ebb and flow. So be sure to rest in Jesus Christ and not your faith in him. He alone is the one who died for our sakes and was raised for our justification. Believe this, and you too will be saved.”
Often even when towns laid in ruin after a bombing raid from the Germans, the British in World War II drew great comfort from seeing Winston Churchill raise his two-finger symbol: the sign for victory. In a similar way, when things seem dark, Jesus Christ holds out His own victory sign to His people: the symbol of an abandoned cross and empty tomb.
It’s easy to feel impatient about the small part we play in God’s Providence. If we are students of the Great Commission, then we sense the immensity of our mission from God even as we realize our own frailty. It seems things are not progressing as fast as we would like.
Many Christians in America are right now feeling very discouraged about the next four years. Neither of the two presidential picks from the two major parties are anything to get terribly excited about. Laurence Vance of LewRockwell.com assessed a good bit of the problem fairly well recently when he wrote:
Prediction 1: If Romney wins, in four years we will have a higher national debt, and still have a drug war, a police state, troops in 150 countries, and a national security/warfare state.
Prediction 2: If Obama wins, in four years we will have a higher national debt, and still have a drug war, a police state, troops in 150 countries, and a national security/warfare state.
I would add that regardless of who wins, it is very unlikely that either candidate would make any progress on eliminating the federal subsidization of abortion, the legalization of abortion, or the federal protections of sodomy.
It’s at moments like these when many Christians get depressed and are tempted to lose hope of advancing Christ’s Kingdom. We are tempted to run away or hide in the hills, to abandon the fight, to become mere spectators from a safe distance. If we stop caring about the setbacks, we reason, then maybe it won’t hurt as much when they come. We pick an eschatology to fit our surrendered outlook. Our attitude is summed up in a poem one of Teddy Roosevelt’s friends wrote while he was at Harvard, an Ode to Complacency:
We deem it narrow-minded to excel.
We call the man fanatic who applies
His life to one grand purpose till he dies.
Enthusiasm sees one side, one fact;
We try to see all sides, but do not act.
. . . We long to sit with newspapers unfurled,
Indifferent spectators of the world.
We lose the gusto to excel in the work of the Lord because we have forgotten that it is the workof the Lord, not the work of us. If the advancement of the Kingdom depended on the heart and hands of such feeble ones as us, we would have good cause for depression. But it doesn’t. Having begun our walk with God by faith in the work of Christ, we somehow have thought that we would take it from here. Salvation was something Jesus did, but the Great Commission is something that we do, we have mistakenly assumed. The Apostle Paul rebuked this notion in Galatians 3:3. In a sense, it is true that we are performing the Great Commission, but we are not accomplishing the Great Commission. Jesus is accomplishing that because “all power is given unto [Him] in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). We are vessels, 2 Timothy 2:21 tells us, but we are neither the oil that goes into the vessels nor the hands that carry the vessels.
“It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). So even our work, to whatever extent it is holy and effective to the advance of God’s Kingdom, is accomplished not by crafty politicking and scheming, but by the power of the work of God in the redeemed saint and through him.
After facing many setbacks in his life, Robert E. Lee observed in 1870:
“The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.”
This is why at American Vision so much of our ministry involves pointing Christians back to history to see the hand of God in the past so they have hope for the future. How often has it seemed that the people of God were nearly defeated, only to rebound to enjoy great victories?
I have sometimes wanted to ask the Lord, “God, don’t you know how I would be able to glorify you more if you just took away this impediment? Don’t you know that I would be able to advance your kingdom in greater ways if you would just remove this obstacle?” The Apostle Paul wrote of a similar struggle in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 when he told about his “thorn in the flesh” God had sent that led him to depend more on the grace of God. “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
God doesn’t need our feeble efforts to advance His Kingdom. He is gracious to use feeble instruments as He wisely chooses. He is far more interested in conforming us to the image of His Son.
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
God is far more interested in glorifying His name as He blesses us than He is in having me help Him. He is not so impoverished that He would need to call on me to advance His Kingdom. God owns the cattle upon a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). He is so glorious that He can advance His Kingdom even through so impoverished a vessel as me. He will handle history.
Oh, for grace to have the perspective of Joseph! That servant of God was somehow able to grasp the essence about which General Lee wrote. He could see God’s over-riding purpose in his personal setbacks. “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:19-21).
So we observe that God controls the advance of history in spite of our setbacks and even through our setbacks. This providential power is amazing enough to consider, but then add to that the wonder that he works through feeble vessels such as us in His history. He does this not by pressing us into a monolithic organization (such as an institution like the Roman Catholic Church) nor by drafting us into a Holy Civil Empire because “there is power in numbers,” but by going inside our hearts, and transforming that heart so that we might “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
The wonder of God in history is that He will never allow the human race to ruin the advance of Christ’s Kingdom. America may pass like Rome but Christ’s Kingdom will increase. An evil man may stand in the White House, but Christ won’t leave His Great White Throne. He will indeed even work through His elect in things so simple as teaching our families the Word at home, loving our wives, honoring our parents, providing for our homes, witnessing to the lost, and discipling new saints. These things involve an on-going surrender to the Lordship and wisdom of God.
It is with the assurance we have that God governs in the affairs of men that we can boldly echo the resolute remarks of D.V. Cooke in his poem How did you die? Duty is ours. The outcome is God’s. He cannot be defeated.
Did you tackle the trouble that came your way
With resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,
Or a trouble’s what you make it.
And it isn’t the fact that your hurt that counts,
But how did you take it?
You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that?
Come up with a smiling face,
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there—that’s disgrace!
The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts,
It’s how did you fight—and why?
And though you be done to the death, what then?
If you battled the best you could;
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or it comes with a pounce,
And whether he’s slow or spry,
It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,
But only, how did you die?”
Here is a suggestion on what it means to be fully Reformed. I am not saying I totally agree with it.
“To be reformed means:
1) to confess with the orthodox churches the consensus of the first five centuries of Christianity, including:
- a) Classic theism: One omnipotent, benevolent God, distinct from creation.
- b) Nicene and Chalcedonian Trinitarianism: one God in three eternally existent persons, equal in power and glory.
- c) Christ, the God-Man, the one mediator between God & the human race, incarnate, crucified, resurrected, ascended, & coming again.
- d) Humanity created in the image of God, yet tragically fallen & profoundly in need of restoration to God through Christ.
- e) The Visible Church: the community of the redeemed, indwelt y the Holy Spirit; the mystical body of Christ on earth.
The one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.
- f) The Sacraments: visible signs and seals of the grace of God, ministering Christ’s love to us in our deep need.
- g) The Christian life: characterized by the prime theological virtues of faith, hope, and love.
2) to confess with the Reformation churches the four great “Solas:”
- a) RE the source of authority: Sola Scriptura.
- b) RE the basis of salvation: Sola Gratia.
- c) RE the means of salvation: Sola Fide
- d) Re the merit of salvation: Solus Christus
3) to confess with the Reformed churches the distinctives of the Reformed faith:
- a) In salvation: monergism not synergism. God alone saves. Such monergism implies T.U.L.I.P., the Five Points of Calvinism from the Synod of Dordt:
T = Total Depravity
U = Unconditional Election
L = Limited Atonement, or, better, Particular Redemption
I = Irresistible Grace
P = Perseverence and Preservation of the Saints
- b) In worship: the Regulative Principle of Worship “Whatever is not commanded in public worship is forbidden.” God alone directs how he is to be worshiped in the assem- bly of the visible church.
- c) In the Visible Church: Covenant Theology & Covenant Community. The Church is the New Israel, incorporating believers among Jews and Gentiles alike. Infant Baptism ordinarily follows from this understanding. Sacraments are not merely human observances, but acts of Jesus Christ, marking out the visible church.
- d) In life: Life is religion: there is no sacred/secular destinction. As such Christians have neither jobs nor careers; they have vocations (callings). Every calling is “full time Christian service,” because every Christian is a full-time Christian.
4) finally, in everything, as Christians everywhere joyfully affirm: Soli Deo Gloria. ‘To God alone be the glory.’
Byron G. Curtis
Assistant Prof/Biblical Studies
Kevin DeYoung makes up for his post on dug issues the other day, with this cool post where he interacts with a Liberal on the homosexuality issue. Kevin Deyoung is in normal type while the Liberal is in bold.
“On Tuesday afternoon, CNN ran an article on its Belief Blog by Catholic priest (sort of) Daniel Helminiak entitled “My Take: What the Bible really says about homosexuality.” The article is amazing for including so many bad arguments in so little space. A quick trip through the piece will show you what I mean. Helminiak’s writing will be in bold and then my response will follow.
President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage, like blood in the water, has conservative sharks circling for a kill. In a nation that touts separation of religion and government, religious-based arguments command this battle. Lurking beneath anti-gay forays, you inevitably find religion and, above all, the Bible.
We now face religious jingoism, the imposition of personal beliefs on the whole pluralistic society. Worse still, these beliefs are irrational, just a fiction of blind conviction. Nowhere does the Bible actually oppose homosexuality.
These two paragraphs perfectly depict how many see any Christian opposition to homosexuality or gay marriage. We are undercover (or not!) theocrats trying to impose our personal preferences on the rest of the country. But the charge of legislating our morality is not as simple as it sounds. For starters, the government legislates plenty of morality already—morality about killing, stealing, polluting and a thousand other things we’ve decided are bad for society or just plain wrong. Moreover, the arguments being made in favor of gay marriage are fundamentally about morality. That’s why you hear words like justice, love, and equality. Most gay marriage advocates are making their case based on moral categories, if not religious and biblical.
What’s more, the pro-gay marriage side would like to see the state reject a conjugal view of marriage in favor of a new, heretofore unknown, definition of marriage. And in insisting upon the state’s involvement, they want this new definition to be imposed on all. We may not all have to like gay marriage, but the government will tell us what marriage means whether we like it or not.
In the past 60 years, we have learned more about sex, by far, than in preceding millennia. Is it likely that an ancient people, who thought the male was the basic biological model and the world flat, understood homosexuality as we do today? Could they have even addressed the questions about homosexuality that we grapple with today? Of course not.
Here we have an example of progressive prejudice, the kind that assumes we have little to learn from the benighted masses who lived long ago. Whether they thought the world was flat has nothing to do with whether ancient people can teach us anything about sexuality. Such a tidbit is thrown in, it seems to me, as a rhetorical cue that these people were as dumb as doorknobs and can’t be trusted. More importantly, Helminiak distances himself from an orthodox understanding of biblical inspiration. Instead of approaching the Scriptures as the word of God, his first step is to position the Bible as a book by ancient people who don’t know all the things we know.
Hard evidence supports this commonsensical expectation. Taken on its own terms, read in the original languages, placed back into its historical context, the Bible is ho-hum on homosexuality, unless – as with heterosexuality – injustice and abuse are involved.
That, in fact, was the case among the Sodomites (Genesis 19), whose experience is frequently cited by modern anti-gay critics. The Sodomites wanted to rape the visitors whom Lot, the one just man in the city, welcomed in hospitality for the night.
The Bible itself is lucid on the sin of Sodom: pride, lack of concern for the poor and needy (Ezekiel 16:48-49); hatred of strangers and cruelty to guests (Wisdom 19:13); arrogance (Sirach/Ecclesiaticus 16:8); evildoing, injustice, oppression of the widow and orphan (Isaiah 1:17); adultery (in those days, the use of another man’s property), and lying (Jeremiah 23:12).
But nowhere are same-sex acts named as the sin of Sodom. That intended gang rape only expressed the greater sin, condemned in the Bible from cover to cover: hatred, injustice, cruelty, lack of concern for others. Hence, Jesus says “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 19:19; Mark 12:31); and “By this will they know you are my disciples” (John 13:35).
How inverted these values have become! In the name of Jesus, evangelicals and Catholic bishops make sex the Christian litmus test and are willing to sacrifice the social safety net in return.
There is really only one argument in the foregoing paragraphs: the sin of Sodom was about social injustice not about sexual immorality. No doubt, there were many other sins involved, as Helminiak rightly observes. But there is no reason to think homosexualityper se wasn’t also to blame for Sodom’s judgment. For example, Jude 7 states that Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities “indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire.” Even the NRSV, translation of choice for the mainline (and the version Helminiak seems to be using), says “pursued unnatural lust.” Clearly, the sins of Sodom lived in infamy not simply because of violent aggression or the lack of hospitality, but because men pursued sex with other men.
The longest biblical passage on male-male sex is Romans 1:26-27: “Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another.”
The Greek term para physin has been translated unnatural; it should readatypical or unusual. In the technical sense, yes, the Stoic philosophers did use para physin to mean unnatural, but this term also had a widespread popular meaning. It is this latter meaning that informs Paul’s writing. It carries no ethical condemnation.
Compare the passage on male-male sex to Romans 11:24. There, Paul applies the term para physin to God. God grafted the Gentiles into the Jewish people, a wild branch into a cultivated vine. Not your standard practice! An unusual thing to do — atypical, nothing more. The anti-gay “unnatural” hullabaloo rests on a mistranslation.
Besides, Paul used two other words to describe male-male sex: dishonorable(1:24, 26) and unseemly (1:27). But for Paul, neither carried ethical weight. In 2 Corinthians 6:8 and 11:21, Paul says that even he was held in dishonor— for preaching Christ. Clearly, these words merely indicate social disrepute, not truly unethical behavior.
This line of reasoning is also common among revisionists. There is little to say in its favor, however, and Helminiak’s argument—that para physin “carries no ethical condemnation”–is particularly weak.
1) He makes the rudimentary error of forgetting that words have a semantic range of meaning. Just because Paul used “against nature” or “dishonorable” in non-ethical settings (sort of), doesn’t mean those words and phrases cannot carry ethical weight in another context. It’s like suggesting that if FDR once said “this soup is terrible” and later said “what the Nazis are doing is terrible” that he couldn’t possibly mean anything more than “what the Nazis did was kind of strange and not my personal preference.”
2) The context in Romans 1 tells us how to understand para physin. Paul has already explained how the unrighteous suppress the truth about God seen in nature and how they exchange the glory of the immortal God for images of created things. In both cases Paul contends that people believe a lie which prevents them from seeing things as they really are (1:25). Then in the very next verse he singles out homosexuality as “contrary to nature.” He is not thinking merely of things that are unusual, but of acts that violate the divine design and the ways things ought to be. For Paul, the biological complementarity of the male-female union is the obvious order of things. A male-male or female-female sexual pairing violates the anatomical and procreative design inherent in the one flesh union of a man and a woman. That Jewish writers of the period used comparable expressions to describe same-sex intercourse only confirms that this is what Paul meant by the construction.
3) Even more obviously, we know Paul considered same-sex intercourse an ethical violation, and not simply something uncommon, because of what he says in the very next sentence. Helminiak conveniently cuts off Paul’s thought halfway through verse 27. Notice what Paul goes on to say: “Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error” (NRSV). When you read the whole verse, Helminiak’s “non-ethical” argument becomes implausible. Paul thought homosexuality not just unusual, but wrong, a sinful error deserving of a “due penalty.”
In this passage Paul is referring to the ancient Jewish Law: Leviticus 18:22, the “abomination” of a man’s lying with another man. Paul sees male-male sex as an impurity, a taboo, uncleanness — in other words, “abomination.” Introducing this discussion in 1:24, he says so outright: “God gave them up … to impurity.”
But Jesus taught lucidly that Jewish requirements for purity — varied cultural traditions — do not matter before God. What matters is purity of heart.
“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles,” reads Matthew 15. “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”
Or again, Jesus taught, “Everyone who looks at a women with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Jesus rejected the purity requirements of the Jewish Law.
In calling it unclean, Paul was not condemning male-male sex. He had terms to express condemnation. Before and after his section on sex, he used truly condemnatory terms: godless, evil, wicked or unjust, not to be done. But he never used ethical terms around that issue of sex.
Helminiak’s argument seems to be: Paul said homosexuality was an impurity; Jesus set people free from the purity requirements of the Jewish law; therefore, homosexuality is not wrong. This reasoning is so specious that it’s hard to know where to begin. Jesus did recalibrate the purity laws, but Mark 7:19 makes clear that the episode in question was about declaring all foods clean. Jesus was not saying for a second that anything previously called “unclean” or “impure” was now no big deal. Helminiak again connects words in a facile manner, suggesting that because Jesus fulfilled certain aspects of the ceremonial code, now anything described with the language of impurity cannot be condemned. Nine times in his epistles Paul references “impurity” and it is always in the context of vice and immorality (Rom. 1:24; 6:19; 2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 4:19; 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1 Thess. 2:3;4:7). Besides all this, Jesus explicitly lists “sexual immorality” (in the passage Helminiak quotes) as one of the things that defiles a person. The Greek word is porneia which refers to “unlawful sexual intercourse” (BDAG), especially, for the Jew, anything condemned by the Law of Moses.
It is simply not true that Paul, or Jesus for that matter, never considered homosexuality an ethical matter. To cite just one more example: in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10 Paul uses a rare Greek word, arsenokoites, which is a compound from two words found in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. Paul thought the prohibition against homosexuality in the Old Testament was still relevant and the sin was still serious.
As for marriage, again, the Bible is more liberal than we hear today. The Jewish patriarchs had many wives and concubines. David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, and Daniel and the palace master were probably lovers.
The Bible’s Song of Songs is a paean to romantic love with no mention of children or a married couple. Jesus never mentioned same-sex behaviors, although he did heal the “servant” — pais, a Greek term for male lover — of the Roman Centurion.
These are wild assertions without any corroborating evidence. Whatever one thinks of Leviticus 18 and 20 for today, it’s obvious that the Torah considered homosexual activity an abomination. It’s absurd to think that any ancient Israelite would have any celebrated David or Jonathan or Ruth or Naomi or Daniel if they were homosexual. It is the worst kind of special pleading and reader response to conclude against all exegetical, theological, and historical evidence that any of these Old Testament heroes were gay.
Likewise, there is no evidence to suggest that the centurion’s servant was his lover. The leading New Testament lexicon (BDAG) gives three definitions of pais: a young person, one’s own offspring, one who is in total obedience to another. If the word somehow means “male lover” in the Gospels, we need evidence greater than Helminiak’s bald assertion.
Paul discouraged marriage because he believed the world would soon end. Still, he encouraged people with sexual needs to marry, and he never linked sex and procreation.
Were God-given reason to prevail, rather than knee-jerk religion, we would not be having a heated debate over gay marriage. “Liberty and justice for all,” marvel at the diversity of creation, welcome for one another: these, alas, are true biblical values.
The link between sex and procreation did not have to be articulated by Paul because it was already assumed. God’s design from the beginning had been one man and one woman coming together as one flesh. This design is reaffirmed throughout Scripture, not least of all by Jesus (Matt. 19:4-6) and by Paul (Eph. 5:31). An important aspect of this union is the potential blessing of children. The prophet Malachi made clear that procreation is one of the aims of marriage when he said about a husband and wife, “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring” (Mal. 2:15).
None of this proves the case against gay marriage as a government injunction (though that case can be made as well). What careful attention to the Bible does show is that the revisionists do not have a Scriptural leg to stand on. From the first chapter of the Bible to the Law of Moses to the New Testament, there is no hint that homosexuality is acceptable behavior for God’s people and every indication that it is a serious sin.
This is why I appreciate the candor of honest pro-gay advocates like Luke Timothy Johnson:
The task demands intellectual honesty. I have little patience with efforts to make Scripture say something other than what it says, through appeals to linguistic or cultural subtleties. The exegetical situation is straightforward: we know what the text says…I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good. And what exactly is that authority? We appeal explicitly to the weight of our own experience and the experience thousands of others have witnessed to, which tells us that to claim our own sexual orientation is in fact to accept the way in which God has created us. By so doing, we explicitly reject as well the premises of the scriptural statements condemning homosexuality-namely, that it is a vice freely chosen, a symptom of human corruption, and disobedience to God’s created order.
Of course, I disagree with Johnson’s approach to the authority of Scripture and his liberal deference to experience. But I commend him for acknowledging what should be plain: the Bible really really calls homosexuality a sin. A sin that can be forgiven in Christ like a million other sins, and a sin that can be fought against by the power of the Holy Spirit, but still a sin. That’s what the Bible says. And as the CNN article demonstrates, it takes a lot of contorted creativity to make it say something else.””
Check out this post on Barack Obama’s support of same sex marriage by Joe Carter.
The original link is down because it got so many views, but you can find the text here http://www.dennyburk.com/the-blasphemy-of-barack-obama/ .
But here is the text of the article:
Earlier today you made a statement that will go down in history as one of the most audacious ever made by a sitting President.
And no, I’m not talking about your admission that you supports gay marriage. The only thing surprising about that revelation is that you decided to stop lying about your position before the election.
No, I’m referring to the fact that you’ve made one of the most theologically ignorant claims in modern history:
This is something that, you know, we’ve talked about over the years and she, you know, she feels the same way, she feels the same way that I do. And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I’ll be as president.”
Considering that you once defined sin as “being out of alignment with my values,” it’s not surprising that you quickly gloss over all that “Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf” stuff (presumably Jesus died on the cross to save us from our misaligned personal values, right?). But your implying that Jesus supports same-sex marriage—and there really is no other way to interpret your statement—is nothing short of blasphemous.
No, Mr. President, Jesus does not support same-sex marriage. Even a liberal Christian like you should not be able to make such an historically and theologically absurd claim with a straight face. The history of Christian thought on sexual ethics from the time of the stoning of Stephen to the Stonewall riots has been consistent that engaging in homosexual behavior is strictly and clearly prohibited by God’s Word.
Indeed, Mr. President, you’ve embraced a position that even the godless pagans of antiquity would have considered too radical to for decent people to champion. Admittedly, we now live in a culture so morally obtuse that we can look to barbarians and heathens as moral exemplars on the issue of marriage, so maybe we shouldn’t blame you for not tacking with the political winds. Also, you’ve never been one to exhibit moral courage, and it would have required more than you could muster to stand against your party’s big-money immoralists in an election year.
Nevertheless, to imply that Jesus would support same-sex marriage is contemptible. I realize it probably won’t hurt you come election time—too many Christians are more concerned about saving your seat in the Oval Office than they are with slander against our Savior—but I encourage you to repent of your blasphemy.
Please, Mr. President, for once in your career set aside your magnificent ego and humbly admit that you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m praying that you’ll do the right thing and admit you were wrong. If not, you’ll discover that God and history are harsh judges with long memories.”
I don’t know what happened to Trayvon Martin. I will not pretend to know the details of the case or what really happened that night. I will wait for the Jury to render a verdict before I really analyze the issue. I do not know if George Zimmerman was telling the truth. I do not know what kind of man he is. Regardless of what happened that night, it pains me that Trayvon was killed.
However, the left, in the words of Rahm Emmanuel, knows “”You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” The left is using this tragic incident as a pretext for acquiring more power to itself to use for unrighteous purposes.
Many states have what are called “Stand your ground” laws. Basically, if somebody breaks into your home you can shoot them as long as they are not running away. These laws are based on the very idea of property ownership, if we own our home/land we have a right to defend ourselves and our families against hooligans who would harm or kill us.
Democrats in congress however, seizing this tragic incident, and even naming this amendment after Trayvon, are attempting to push through a bill in congress that would essentially force states to overturn laws that allow them to use deadly force against intruders. Instead people would have to “retreat” when somebody breaks into there home.
The State, is assuming the role of God.
1. It is acting on the assumption it owns all property in the nation and can determine the rules for how people defend themselves on it. But only God owns all property(Psalm 24:1), and we can see from the 8th and 10th Commandment that God has delegated parts of the earth that he owns to property owners, that they may temporally , but legitimately own. To both tax peoples property and to tell people they cannot defend themselves on it is to transfer the ownership of the property away from it’s rightful owner to the “god-state”.
2. This, like all forms of autonomy, punishes the Law Keepers and protects and exalts the Law Breaking. As socialism always does, reversing the tide of God’s Law, it punishes the Innocent and Exalts the guilty. We can see this in Abortion, Welfare, and now on this amendment.
3. The unconstitutional system we have now makes this feasible. Today the Federal Government is sovereign over the states and has the power to coerce them. This is not the constitutional way, we are supposed to have a limited federal government, with states rights. Today we have a massive federal government that “lords it over” the states. This is not how America was intended to be run.
Another day, another advance of power for America’s “god-state”.