Our news cycle moves so fast that to bring up the Indiana RFRA law might already seem like yesterday’s news. Some readers already feel like saying, “C’mon, man. That is so last week.” Nevertheless, before the country moves on to its next diversion, I think it would be good for us to think about the meaning of last week’s dust-up over religious liberty.
For starters, last week was more than a “dust-up” to those of us who belong to the religious minority known as evangelicalism. It wasn’t the apocalypse. Nor was it even worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as what happened to our brothers and sisters in Kenya. Still, it was a signal moment in our national life. It was a moment that revealed how profoundly this country has changed in its attitudes about homosexuality, how out-of-step evangelicals are with the new sexual orthodoxy, and how willing many Americans are to punish evangelicals for their transgressive beliefs.
We saw two Republican governors back away from state RFRA laws that would have been completely uncontroversial just ten years ago. We saw a national media snarkily dismiss our first freedom in the Bill of Rights with scare quotes or as “so-called” religious liberty. We saw politician after politician either unwilling or unable to make a coherent case for religious liberty. And we saw countless talking-heads denigrate religious liberty as a euphemism for bigotry and discrimination. Frank Bruni even said that Christians should be “made to take homosexuality off of its sin list.” It is no surprise that Nicholas Kristof says that “evangelicals constitute one of the few groups that it’s safe to mock openly.”
In short, religious liberty took an epic beating last week. And the focus of the attack seems to be on evangelicals. Evangelicals are beginning to feel open disdain from our cultured despisers, who find our ancient faith to be freakish and out of step with post-sexual-revolution America. There is no “silent majority” for Christians to appeal to for succor. Evangelicals are a bona fide minority when it comes to our commitment to Jesus’ teaching about sexuality. It’s not merely that people don’t like our views. It’s also that people don’t like us because of our views. In fact, a recent poll has found that there are more people who view gay people favorably than there are that view evangelicals favorably.
I would suggest, however, that the heart of this controversy is not really about religious freedom. The heart of it is really about something much deeper. It is the same spiritual battle that has been unfolding since Genesis 3. Light has come into the world, and people love darkness rather than the light because their deeds are evil (John 3:19). God has revealed his purpose for our sexual lives—that all of our sexual experiences are to be enjoyed within the covenant of marriage. People by and large have rejected God’s purpose and are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). They believe that anyone who continues to cling to God’s purposes is a threat to sexual liberty—which is perhaps the defining freedom of post-Christian America. In fact, they hold anyone who remains committed to the biblical vision—and to its consequences for their public lives—to be a threat to the common good.
To put a fine point on it: Evangelicals believe that homosexuality is a sin while the rest of the culture does not. The heart of this conflict is a moral conflagration between those who insist that “gay is good” and those who contend that it is not. And the latter is what our culture cannot abide. The idea that “gay is not good” is viewed as morally retrograde and bigoted, irredeemable and intolerable, uncivilized and incompatible with democracy. Any defense of such “bigotry”—even if that defense is a claim of religious liberty—must be vigorously and ruthlessly dismantled. “Gay is not good” must be destroyed. The Indiana RFRA controversy is just one phase of a larger effort to make Christians “take homosexuality off of its sin list,” as Frank Bruni put it. That is our controversy boiled down.
If that is what this really is all about, you can see why evangelicals are wondering about what might be coming next. We are wondering how far the cultured despisers are willing to go to punish us for living out what the Bible teaches about sexual morality. Today, they are willing to see Christians fined and run out of business for refusing to participate in gay weddings. What will be next? Ever-increasing fines? What if someone fails to pay the fine imposed on them by law or by a court? Jail time? How far are they willing to take this?
Discerning how far they are willing to take this to punish Christians is something that everyone needs to think very carefully about. Why? Because there are always going to be believers who are willing to go to the mat for God’s word. Or to put it in biblical terms, there are always going to be Christians who are willing to take up their cross and follow Jesus (Matt. 16:24). How much pain are the sexual revolutionaries willing to inflict on Christians to make us submit?
To be sure, as the heat turns up there will be those who fall away. The prosperity charlatans, for example, likely won’t follow Jesus when they discover that doing so means they can’t have their best life now. But after the apostates have been exposed, a remnant will remain who will not bow the knee to Baal and who will not betray Christ’s word no matter the cost. We will go on gathering together, preaching the gospel, loving our neighbors, and striving for the common good. And no amount of fines, bullying, social marginalization, jail time, or poverty will change that.
So the cultured despisers need to look long and hard in the mirror and ask yourselves this question: How far am I willing to go with this? Because you are going to have to go all the way. And when you’ve done your worst, the Christians are still going to be here holding fast to the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). America is a flash in the historical pan. Christianity is not. We will outlast you. Mark it down. And in the final analysis, the “wrong side of history” will be to Jesus’ left, and you don’t want to find yourself there (Matt. 25:33).
Very good Denny. Very hopeful. In a similar vein, Rod Dreher recently wrote in an article entitled, The Joy of Resistance, “There will always be people who are sick and tired of living by lies. Our task is to find each other, and figure out where we can go from here, together, to keep the truths we hold about God, the meaning of life, of what it means to be fully human, from disappearing.”
Thank you for consistently placing sometimes alarming cultural trends in a genuinely biblical light. As my Pastor (and your friend) Tommy Nelson has said many times: “I have read the end of the book, and we win.”
Thank you, Charles. I appreciate that good word, brother!
I think your attempt to pinpoint the “heart of the controversy” misses the mark. The real problem is that the church has never had to deal with homosexuality in the context of a democracy. In the past, the church dealt with openly gay people by burning them at the stake, cutting off their genitals, ostracizing them, funneling them into reparative therapy, or ignoring and marginalizing them (all real “solutions” throughout history).
The church is now forced to face homosexuality in the context of a democracy, where members of society who were once marginalized are demanding equal treatment and dignity. For the first time in history, the church is being held accountable by society for it’s response to homosexuals. You might see this as dreadful, by I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to clarify a truly Christian response to a group of people who have been horribly mistreated or ignored in the past.
Denny, consider that even your post from March 24th, “Q&A with a same-sex attracted pastor” is the result of a more nuanced position on homosexuality. Could an openly “same-sex attracted” person be a pastor in the 1500’s, let alone the 1980’s? This is a capital “O” Opportunity for the church to show what Christ is all about, and every time we reduce a group of people to a political issue, we squander it big time.
Sort of what I’ve thought recently. Where were the united voices of our outspoken outrage upon those occasions back in the day when “people group X” was mistreated and abused, whether culturally and openly, or individually and privately? As the old tyranny of state-wielding Christianity meets its end, the new tyranny of those who were once oppressed by it is now dawning. (We may recall a similar but slower transition, in the opposite direction, that developed during the 300s.)
Denny wrote: “It was a moment that revealed how profoundly this country has changed in its attitudes about homosexuality, how out-of-step evangelicals are with the new sexual orthodoxy, and how willing many Americans are to punish evangelicals for their transgressive beliefs.” That’s right. The sunset of Christendom’s proverbial Manifest Destiny is the painful opportunity to watch the sunrise of a “Jesus People” without a land to possess (nor “take back!”).
I think the biggest issue with Denny’s paragraph about “how profoundly this country has changed in its attitudes about homosexuality” is that it assumes there was once a time when Christians and Americans had a correct attitude about homosexuality.
When was that? What century, what decade, what year??
What do you propose is the “correct attitude” toward homosexuality?
Hi IKE LENTZ,
I much agree with you where you wrote this: “This is a capital “O” Opportunity for the church to show what Christ is all about, and every time we reduce a group of people to a political issue, we squander it big time.”
I recall the contents of the famous Letter to Diognetus written in the 2nd Century A.D., which describes the behavior of Christian people in some detail, and therein is recorded that they experienced persecution and yet ‘repay the insult with honor’ and that they ‘are reviled but bless’
. . . which I take to mean that they are patient with those who attack them, and are not pulled into a conflict with those who persecute them, but respond with Christ-like humility and an absence of ill-will. Specifically, I speak of this portion:
“They love all men and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned. They are put to death and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich. They lack everything, yet they overflow in everything.
They are dishonored, and yet in their very dishonor they are glorified; they are spoken ill of and yet are justified; they are reviled but bless; they are insulted and repay the insult with honor; they do good, yet are punished as evildoers; when punished, they rejoice as if raised from the dead ” (an excerpt from Mathetes’ Letter to Diognetus, 2nd Century A.D.)
IKE, your words ‘what Christ is all about’ reflects a strong hope in the inspired power of the Church to make Christ present to those in need of Him. I share your hope, as do so many in the Church.
Christiane, thank you for directing our attention to this. Here is another quote of similar emphasis:
Athenagoras writing to the Emperor:
“You allow us to be harassed, plundered, and persecuted – the mob making war upon us only because of our name….
“The injury we suffer from our persecutors is not aimed merely at our money, or our civil rights, or our honor, or anything of less importance. After all, we hold these things in contempt — although they appear of great importance to the masses –… [allow me to interject here: as the sun of man-made Christendom sets, many of its vocal defenders are holding their money, and civil rights, and honor to be of utmost importance, held in highest regard]
“…for we have learned not only not to return blow for blow, or to bring to court those who plunder and rob us, but to those who strike us on the one cheek to offer the other, and to those who take away our shirt to give also our coat – for when we have given up our property, they plot against our very bodies and souls….” Athenagoras, Plea On Behalf of the Christians 1:2b-4
Athenagoras adds later:
“What, then, are those teachings in which we are brought up? ‘I say unto you, Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; pray for them that persecute you; that you may be the sons of your Father who is in heaven, who causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.’ Allow me here to lift up my voice boldly in loud and audible outcry, pleading as I do before philosophic princes. For which of those [cultural elite]…have purged their souls so that, instead of hating their enemies, they love them? And instead of speaking ill of those who have reviled them (to abstain from which is of itself an evidence of no mean forbearance), to bless them; and to pray for those who plot against their lives? …But among us you will find uneducated persons, and artisans, and old women, who, if they are unable to prove with words the benefit of our doctrine, yet by their deeds they exhibit the benefits that arise from their persuasion of its truth: they do not rehearse speeches, but exhibit good works; when struck, they do not strike again; when robbed, they do not go to law; they give to those that ask of them, and love their neighbors as themselves.” Athenagoras, Plea on Behalf of the Christians 11
I think these kinds of things may be what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
I was surprised when I saw your post on this because I actually wrote on the same topic today as well, and I felt the same way you did, that it already feels like old news. But I think you’re right on that it is bigger news for evangelicalism than what it’s being made out to be.
If you care to read it, my post is more from the angle of religious freedom vs anti-discrimination and the importance of protecting people from being forced to violate their consciences: http://xaqmatthews.blogspot.com/2015/04/thoughts-about-anti-discrimination-and.html
I could buy this argument if conservative Christians in other countries were facing a similar situation. I just returned from spending a few weeks in Zurich for work. Switzerland doesn’t have same-sex marriage, and there is no major push for it. And while the prevailing culture in Switzerland is similar to that of cognitive elites in this country, the Swiss professional classes don’t have anywhere near the antipathy for conservative Christians as their American counterparts.
This is not just a matter of light and dark, as appealing as such a narrative may seem. In Switzerland, conservative Christians never fomented a Culture War. Instead, they engaged with their would-be opponents and reached a reasonable compromise on a number of cultural issues. For the most part, these compromises have held over the years.
In contrast, conservative Christians in the US have tended to eschew engagement, and have instead rushed to embrace hyperbolic rhetoric and to stake out unreasonable positions. We have unnecessarily vilified our so-called opponents, opting to foment conflict instead of pursuing engagement. Our tactics have often been dishonest, if not downright shameful. We are not necessarily despised because of what we believe. Rather, we are despised because of how we have acted. If we had taken the tack of conservative Christians in Switzerland, I suspect that we would not find ourselves in the difficult circumstances we face today and in the near future. Whether we want to admit it or not, we made this bed, and now we’re going to have to lie in it. We should not be too quick to conclude that this chastening is not of the Lord’s doing.
I think part of the problem is that conservative Christian interests are wrapped up in the hard-right economics and hard-right foreign policy of the Republican party. I have noticed the increasing animus towards Christians from the left and a lot of it comes from Christian support of policies that are viewed as actively harmful by at least 50% of the population. This may explain why causes like religious liberty that used to be bipartisan are no longer supported by all Americans.
I guess what I’m suggesting is that the Culture War was not the wisest way to address these issues. When these issues become escalated to that degree, it’s typically impossible to resolve them except by some kind of winner-take-all outcome. That’s a basic principle of game theory. And, on these issues, the drift of the culture was apparent, so a winner-takes-all solution in favor of evangelicals was never going to happen. Therefore, a winner-takes-all victory for the secularists was ensured as soon as evangelicals voluntarily decided to “go all populist” on these issues.
Simply put, evangelicals have not advocated for their positions on cultural issues in a way that makes much strategic sense. Our approach to these issues has been the cultural equivalent of Pickett’s Charge.
James, I think the major part of the problem is that you and others are equating “religious liberty” with the Right to Discriminate. While your side may not recognize the difference, the majority of Americans do.
The reaction in response to the original version of Indiana’s new RFRA law suggests that most people are comfortable with religious liberty insofar as religious practitioners exercise their religious liberty in a manner that doesn’t directly impose burdens onto others. In the minds of most Americans, the right of individuals not to be unduly burdened by others’ conduct (e.g., by being refused service at places of public accommodation) trumps the exercise of religious liberty.
Doreen, I expressed analysis and not a position in my response to Ryan. I think it’s irrelevant that you yourself make a distinction between religious liberty and the right to discriminate. The ones who feel discriminated against don’t care about a right to religious liberty and if they do it’s only up to the point at which their own liberties are violated.
I support clearly defined and limited religious liberty laws that would cause the least disruption in the marketplace.
Doreen, I freely admit that religious liberty laws are intended to create carve-outs in the law that will favor the interests of social conservatives over the equal treatment of a minority interest group.
RE: Ryan – Totally failed to recognize the situation. Switzerland is a very (read VERY) small country with a very (read VERY) homogeneous culture. To compare someplace like Switzerland with someplace like the USA is ludicrous.
Switzerland is homogeneous? That would be news to the Swiss. Zurich and Geneva are as culturally different from each other as San Francisco is from Atlanta.
Besides, I don’t see how it’s size is a relevant. My point is that the Culture War was entirely optional and largely unwise. Perhaps greater cultural heterogeneity would have made coming to an agreement on these issues more difficult. Even so, that doesn’t mean that the Culture War was necessary.
I think the biggest difference is that conservative Christians in the US are social populists, while conservative Christians in Switzerland are not. In that sense, Swiss conservative Christians and Swiss secularists both share certain elitist presuppositions about culture, which makes it easier for them to come to amicable compromises on certain issues.
Evangelicals also think premarital sex is a sin. This is arguably even more at-odds with the culture than the belief that homosexual sex is a sin. There have been very few consequences as a result of this disconnect, besides evangelicals being mocked and/or despised as “uptight” and “judgmental” by those outside the group.
There are still some who purport to be Christians who are nevertheless inveterate racists. They don’t believe in interracial marriages. They attend churches that refuse to perform interracial marriages. They may even attend churches that refuse to admit non-whites as members. To my knowledge those churches are still tax-exempt. (I’d be interested to hear if they’re not.)
So outside of being thought of as hateful (and, thus, immoral) by most people, and the associated social consequences thereof (e.g. not being hired by someone who views you as a hateful bigot), I can’t get on board with the doomsday predictions.
What you’re seeing here is perhaps the ending of the love story social conservatives had with a mythical United States of America. 20 years ago we didn’t have gay marriage but we had plenty of other kinds of societal sins and evils. Now that the spectre of legalized gay marriage is upon America the blinders have come off.
I think what’s freaking out evangelicals is the shift by those outside evangelicalism from viewing certain of its teachings as “too restrictive” and/or “quaint” and/or “nutty” to viewing them as actively hateful and thereby immoral. And treating evangelicals like pariahs because they hold those views.
“I can’t get on board with the doomsday predictions” What would it take to get you on board, buddy? Obama has an executive order that the federal government won’t do business with anyone who “discriminates” presumably for any reason. Gordon College student teachers have been banned from being student teachers in the Lynn school system because they asked the administration to carve out an exception for religious objections? Can you deny that the goal of this movement is to shut folks who disagree out of society?
Way too alarmist. The problem is that you totally ignore the many pro-equality Americans of faith. You don’t speak for “Christianity,” you speak for yourself. This is as absurd as the anti-gay “strategy” of driving a wedge between blacks and gays which ignores the many Blacks who support equality as well as Black lgbt! As a Christian gay man, I’m not interested in “destroying Christianity” and I don’t see our patriotic movement for equality trying to do that. I think it’s time for you to take some deep breathes and focus on Matthew 7:12.
somewhere between ‘Gay is good.’ and ‘Gay is not good.’
there is a place that says:
‘Gay is a human person with a God-given soul who has been born into this world no more imperfect a sinner than the rest of us’;
and in that place, there is unending prayer for the mercy of God on our common human weakness and our fears . . . and there is undiminished hope born out of a great longing for loving-kindness like that of Our God.
I believe that such a place exists, because I believe in the saving Person of Jesus Christ. And I believe that Christians are always drawn to such a place by the Holy Spirit when they no longer have the need to deny or look away from their own sins and failings.
There is a major flaw with your argument. There is no “between gay is good and gay is not good”, because gay is not good. Homosexuality is a sin.(see The Bible). True, no sin may be worse than another, and we all have sin. True, all humans need the mercy of God. We need His mercy to lead us to repentance from our sin. Homosexuality, like all sin, is something that needs to be repented of, like adultery, lying, fornication, etc. The first word of the gospel is “repent”.
thank you for responding . . .
my comment was not ‘an argument’; it was instead an honest affirmation of my strong faith in Christ . . . if I wrote it in a way that was confusing, I am sorry.
I stand by my statement that someone who is gay is a human person with a God-given soul who has been born into this world no more imperfect a sinner than the rest of us.
We all of us will be brought to the trial, so our Christian prayer is ever for God to ‘lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’.
The sacred Scriptures call for us to stand with the publican who prayed ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner’.
What I must never do is this:
having realized that there are some who are burdened in ways they did not choose, seek to point the finger at them because I am not carrying that specific burden myself
. . . I am imperfect in my own way enough, so I need to be humbled and, like the publican in the temple, not dare to raise my eyes in pride, much less my finger in judgement.
I think Denny is wrong with his interpretation that homosexual acts are always a sin. It is an exegetical debate. So I think the baker was also wrong in her understanding, but she was simply following what she had been taught. But I also think she has the right to be wrong in her understanding. What happens often when a suppressed minority becomes free is an overreaction and I think in this case the state overreacted in a big way. Now comes the time to try to back down and save face.
“Homosexuality as a sin is exegetically debateable…” only in the sense that the sky is green and the grass is blue.(Rom. 1:24-28,Lev.18:22,1Cor.6:9) People have a proclivity to minimize the seriousness of all sin. Let’s put the cards on the table. Homosexuality is a sin. It is evil. It is an abomination. It is cosmic treason against a Holy God. But, not just homosexuality…all sin. Lying is an abomination and a damnable evil as well. All sin is evil and treason against a Holy God. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” The loving thing to do is to follow Jesus’ example and call all sinners to repent. God, in His Love, sent His Son to die for our evil sin against Him. He calls sinners to repent and believe in His Son. What mercy and grace for us sinners He has shown!
“People have a proclivity to minimize the seriousness of all sin.”
Notable that Don isn’t minimizing the seriousness of other sins here, but only homosexuality? For the record, I think his interpretation is not the correct one.
I think you are greatly misunderstanding the word translated as “abomination”.
See Friedman’s book “The Bible Now” Chapter 1 on Homosexuality and his article on it at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-elliott-friedman/biblical-law-on-homosexuality_b_911963.html.
Don: I doubt many here will find the arguments of a theologically liberal Jewish scholar to be at all persuasive. He rejects the doctrine of inspiration; if the foundation crumbles, the building cannot stand.
Friedman is a Hebrew scholar giving his thoughts about what the Hebrew text means. Whether he accepts Scripture as inspired or not is not relevant to what the text means. In other words, just assigning him a label of “liberal” is not really an argument.
I could not disagree more, Don. The man doesn’t even recognize the true nature of what it is he is analyzing. He puts himself above the text and subjects it to his judgments. Apart from any facility he may have with the Hebrew language he lacks basic competency in understanding it because he approaches it with incorrect, even blind perspectives. The natural man does not accept the things of God, nor can he, for they are spiritually appraised.
You have to realize that your argument sounds a lot like the “depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” argument we heard from Clinton.
I’m with Kenneth Abbott. Scripture is clear on the matter of the sin of homosexuality.
By the way, I do find it interesting that you don’t debate the sinfulness of lying or murder. Why are those so plain? Your hermeneutic would have us question the sinfulness of those behaviors too, right?
No, it would not. Not murdering, not stealing, and not bearing false witness all have to do with justice, that is, treating others as I wish to be treated.
Justice is not “treating others as I wish to be treated.” Justice is me receiving the due consequences of my choices and actions. A convicted criminal is not treated by the law according to how he wishes to be treated, not unless the law is a complete mockery of justice.
Mat 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees—hypocrites!—because you pay a tenth of mint and dill and cumin, and neglect the more important matters of the law—justice and mercy and faithfulness! It was necessary to do these things while not neglecting those.
The justice parts of Torah include not murdering, not stealing, etc.
Well, of course. Justice has both “positive” and “negative” aspects. Giving me what I deserve also entails not giving me what I don’t deserve. But in no case does justice mean giving me what I want or what I would prefer if I am guilty. As a sinner, I never want the unpleasant consequences of my sin, only the pleasant ones. And even then I am a poor judge of what is good or bad for me.
It is a matter of basic competency. The man purports to tell us important things about the content of Scripture yet is majorly wrong about the nature and origin of the documents he studies and pronounces upon. How can we trust him to impart truth when he is wrong about the most important characteristic of Scripture, that of its divine origin? He is not trustworthy in big things; how are we to be confident he will be trustworthy or reliable in little things?
Why do gays even need the Jesus of the Bible? If homosexuality can be normalized as acceptable before God they (gays) have no sin. Jesus is a Savior for sinners like me. I need Jesus.
For gentile that do homosexual acts, substitute the phrase “gentiles that eat pork” and you will have your answer. That is everyone needs Jesus, Jews and gentiles, males and females, rich and poor, heterosexuals and homosexuals. But for a gentile to do a homosexual act is not necessarily a sin.
I’m not following your reasoning on this.
It’s not what goes into a man’s stomach that defiles a man but what comes out of one’s heart (Mt. 15:15-20). Eating andouille does not defile Gentiles. Homosexuality (which comes from the heart) does. If gays can write-off homosexuality (which is universally condemned in Scripture – presumably there were Gentiles in the Corinthian church, see Acts 18, 1 Co. 6:9-11), surely they can pencil-whip any sin, i.e., they have no sin. Indeed, you haven’t gone far enough when you write: “But for a gentile to do a homosexual act is not necessarily a sin.” Homosexuality is never a sin. They need no Savior. I do.
In Matt 15, Jesus is discussing the Pharisees’ hand washing ceremony that they said to do before eating. Jesus disagreed with them. As they are all Jews, all the food is kosher, if something was not kosher it would not be considered food. The question is whether the food (meaning kosher food) can be eaten without doing the hand washing ceremony. Jesus says yes it can. Therefore believers (both Jews and gentiles) do not need do the hand washing ceremony before eating. (However, I might do so in order to be a gracious guest when in the company of some group that does this.)
This has nothing to do with what types of food are considered clean and unclean by any group. For a practicing Jew, pork is unclean and not even considered food. For both Jews and myself as a gentile, rat is unclean and not even considered food, but I do eat pork. For a practicing Jew, both eating pork and doing homosexual acts are an abomination, for a gentile this is not the case in Scripture in the original languages, although I believe some translations may mislead one in this area.
We’ll have to disagree on your take of Mt. 15. IMO, (and I don’t mean to sound harsh), you are scrambling Scripture, not rightly dividing it. Jesus doesn’t leave His ‘point’ in the Jewish context of whether or not it’s ok to eat with unwashed hands. He tells us much more. Jesus seizes the occasion to teach us something about our hearts and moral purity against this Jewish backdrop. The word play between “entering into the stomach” and “exiting from the heart” introduces a pronounced contrast that is central to Christ’s point. The Pharisee’s dietary traditions and practices only amplify Jesus’ teaching.
This is consistent with Mark’s comment that Jesus was “cleansing panta ta bromata” (Mk. 7:19). IOW, to make His point, He goes beyond eating styles to eaten substance. It is not how one eats that makes His point, but what one eats. Had Jesus only had in mind food considered clean His parable would have fallen flat. The scope has to extend to all foods. It is not the external things (“clean” or otherwise) or how they are partaken of (washed or unwashed hands), but things internal to man that defile.
But this is a digression from the matter at hand. Scripture, OT and NT, consistently treats all homosexuality as unnatural, unhealthy, and ungodly (whether Jew/Gentile). So if gays can convince themselves that their homosexual heart is acceptable before God, is there anything left that they can’t write-off? They don’t need a substitutionary atonement in Christ, they just need another pencil.
I weep for all those who continue in sin and do not turn from it:
In Matthew 15:19 Jesus said:
19 “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications,thefts, false witness, slanders.
1 illicit sexual intercourse
a adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
b sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18
sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,
Denny: “[T]he “wrong side of history” will be to Jesus’ left, and you don’t want to find yourself there.” Brilliant. Permission to steal–with proper attribution?
Dr Burk said “It is the same spiritual battle that has been unfolding since Genesis 3. ” I like to be very clear before I say anything so if I can ask a clarifying question you are not referring to a literal Adam and Eve as a bedrock for your position are you?
If Jesus did, Brian, why shouldn’t Denny? Of course, it was Genesis 2 that Jesus quoted to make his argument to the Pharisees. I suspect that the spiritual battle in Genesis 3 to which Denny refers is the invidious question, “Has God really said…?”
Hi Mr. Abbott hope all is well, I was just asking him to clarify that position which is why I asked. As for “Has God really said?” Yes that really is the question, I tend to shy away from such concepts because God “said” a great deal of things in the bible and well, they are not really helpful, but that is another topic. After I get Dr. Burk’s clarification then with his permission I will bring up my point. If he wishes I will dialog off line with him concerning this or I will drop it all together as he wishes. Thank You. Have a nice evening.
You will outlast LGBT advocates? To do that you must outlast LGBT people. Homosexuality predates Christianity by a longshot, Burk. Given its prevalence in the animal kingdom it likely predates the human species. On the evolutionary timescale 2000 years is nothing, Burk, and in that time Christianity has changed so dramatically its founders would hardly recognize it, and would likely have some very stern words for those like you who have perverted the faith into the PR wing of a political party.
Biblical Christianity declares that we (followers of the Lord Jesus) were chosen ??? ????????? ?????? (before the foundation of the world), e.g., Eph. 1:3-5. So from a Biblical perspective it is inaccurate to state that sin predates Christianity. In the eternal providence of God, there was a Savior before there was sin.
The prevalence of homosexuality in the animal kingdom is unknown. I don’t think you understand what it would take to determine this, i.e., to know how many homosexual expressions there have been versus how many animals there have been through all time. At best, you could get a snapshot which is in no way representative of its expressions through time. It is unfounded to even speak of the “prevalence of it (homosexuality) in the animal kingdom.”
On the eternal timescale, LGBT advocates (as is the life of every human being) are hardly tic marks on the axis of time. But the servants of God “will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 21:5). Jesus is Lord.