A Fundamentalist Is A Mean Evangelical

It wasn’t supposed to work out this way. Evangelicalism of the Billy Graham variety was supposed to present a kinder gentler conservative Protestantism. But as Tommie Kidd recently observed, evangelicals rarely receive positive press these days:

It’s nice to be liked. But it also comes with temptation – that of focusing all the church’s work on things that will engender the world’s approval. A hundred years ago, social gospel Christians began to suggest that service and aid, not evangelism, should encompass all of a believer’s missionary responsibility. Thus began one of the most important turns away from evangelical Christianity which has haunted the mainline denominations in America ever since.

That lesson may be one that advocates of a progressive brand of evangelicalism may want to remember. I mean, if Jimmy Carter is the best you can do for presenting a positive image of evangelicalism, then you may not be operating from a position of strength. Unless, that is, you want to make this all about Christian truth and devotion and turn Jimmy Carter’s critics, whether political or Southern Baptist, into mean SOBs who don’t trust Jesus as their personal savior. In which case, the kinder, gentler, progressive version of evangelicalism is no less intolerant than fundamentalism.

The subject of evangelical meanness is much in the news these days with all the hysteria over Indiana’s religious freedom laws. It’s a hysteria that has the socially conservative Roman Catholics and evangelicals (and some Eastern Orthodox) pitted against the secular left who as some people tell it are out to destroy freedom in America. I had wanted to follow Eric’s advice and sit this one out with this assessment of the situation:

What we have here it seems to me are 3% of the population who would not do business with gay people in a fight with a minority of gay people who would try to force someone who is hostile to them to perform services for them or sell goods to them. Meanwhile the rest of the population takes sides and gets mad at each other over it while politicians of all stripes posture.

For the defenders of this law not to think that gay marriage is the subtext is well-nigh inconceivable and suggests a level of naivete that is truly destructive of politics since politics goes best when people admit self-interest rather than thinking themselves innocent.

Just as helpful was the Reformed Episcopal Curmudgeon’s point about the flaws of Civil Rights legislation and a legitimate question of whether the federal government should have such social engineering power as to legislate business transactions:

What the “public accommodations” law required, if originally in a limited fashion, was that businesses which provided “accommodations” were required to do business with anyone regardless of race. Goldwater believed it was morally repugnant to practice racial discrimination in providing “public accommodations,” but he believed the federal government had no power to coerce businesses that provided “public accommodations” to provide them to anyone who wanted to do business with them. In other words, the government should not force hotels to sell rooms, restaurants to sell food, or movie theaters to sell tickets to anyone who wanted to do business with them. Those were decisions for business owners to make.

What does this have to do with gay rights? We have accepted as a society that civil rights includes the requirement that all businesses sell their goods and services without discrimination. We believe that a person, regardless of race, ethnicity, or color has the right to buy gasoline from any business that sells gasoline. . . .

It seems to me that the only protection against being forced to do business with gays who want to marry is if there were a recognized right not to have to do business with anyone you don’t want to do business with. It is too late by much, but perhaps, if Goldwater had prevailed in 1964 and the freedom to do business or not do business with anyone you please, even if you are wrong, had been established, those with moral objections to doing business related to gay weddings would be protected. Put another way, perhaps protecting the freedom of people to do wrong (discriminate in doing business with blacks if that is what you want to do) is the only way to protect their freedom to do right when when an action violates their moral code (not do business with gays planning marriage).

Sheesh, what will the obedience boys do with civil magistrates who protect the freedoms of citizens to do wrong?

I still don’t understand why a gay or black person (caution, we’re treading in microaggression territory) would want to give business (and the inherent profits) to someone whose views they find repugnant. I understand the importance of sit-ins during the Civil Rights protests. But conceivably, an African-American who objected to Jim Crow could occupy a lunch-counter seat and not purchase anything. But after segregation laws went away, did African-Americans return to businesses that had refused to serve them? I could well imagine why they wouldn’t. So why do gay people and their enablers want to make anti-gay bakers make a cake for gay weddings and have gay people pay anti-gay people for such services? The whole understanding of human motivation is off. Doesn’t anyone fear an inedible cake? Or will the government set standards for tastiness to which all business must comply?

What I understand even less is the sensitivity of religious consciences to gay marriage. I do not support the legalization of gay marriage on social grounds. But I have no idea why some consciences object to gay marriage but not to providing services for other breakers of the Decalogue. Would a Protestant baker object to making a wedding cake for a marriage in a Roman Catholic church even when Rome’s teaching on marriage violates the sufficiency of God’s word? Or what about a cake for non-believers? I get it. Their money spends. But are we really supposed to think that homosexuals are the only ones with sin entering into nuptials?

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264 thoughts on “A Fundamentalist Is A Mean Evangelical

  1. But I have no idea why some consciences object to gay marriage but not to providing services for other breakers of the Decalogue.

    You don’t have to. It’s not your business.

    If you owned a bakery is there anyone in all of human history you wouldn’t bake a cake for due to your religious beliefs?

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  2. But I have no idea why some consciences object to gay marriage but not to providing services for other breakers of the Decalogue. Would a Protestant baker object to making a wedding cake for a marriage in a Roman Catholic church even when Rome’s teaching on marriage violates the sufficiency of God’s word? Or what about a cake for non-believers? I get it. Their money spends. But are we really supposed to think that homosexuals are the only ones with sin entering into nuptials?

    But we recognize heterosexual marriages between unbelievers when they become believers. We don’t call them to repent of their marriage. If both persons in a gay marriage got saved, we wouldn’t recognize their marriage – we would call them to annul and repent of it.

    A better analogy is should a Christian run a dating site that intentionally sets people up for sexual encounters? Should they have a “check the One Night Stand box” on the site? It’s one thing to bake a “wedding” cake, but another thing to bake a “gay wedding” cake.

    It’s one thing to run a hotel and another to run a brothel, i guess is my point.

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  3. Nate, who cares what we(baker) recognize? We(baker) aren’t the church. We’re just the baker. Steve and Steve want a cake, bake em a cake. Put two groomsman on top and dress one of em in a barbie doll dress just for fun. 1cor. 5, go sup with the sexually immoral just not those who go by ‘brethren’.

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  4. So I baked some rubber ducky cupcakes and they got on the interweb – Take a look.

    They said I nailed it – woot!

    I’m available to bake anyone’s cake, send over the deets.

    Eric is spelled with a K (he’s my homeboy, what can I say).

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  5. Paint me cynical, but Erik, the Curmudgeon, and Goldwater’s great points notwithstanding, the zeitgeist of American politics in particular, and Western politics in general is to legislate morality. Unfortunately the ethos of classical liberalism that undergirded our constitutional rebublic has eroded so much since the years after the Progressive Era and the unionizing impulses of our culture post-Civil War, it’s hard to see much of its legacy at all in our current political environment. The political Left and Right pursue their competing agendas of moral hegemony, and the socio-political war ratchets up with the coming and going of each issue – gay rights, immigration, etc.

    DGH is absolutely right that conservatives and liberals are largely cut from the same cloth. Unfortunately the historical inertia behind these impulses are so strong, I doubt common sense can be restored until after these historical have played themselves to their conclusion. Whatever the outcome might be, I am pretty sure it won’t be politically for the better – at least for a good while.

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  6. >>>>I still don’t understand why a gay or black person . . . would want to give business . . . to someone whose views they find repugnant.<<<<

    They are not wanting to "give" people anything. They are wanting to force the small business owner to bow down and worship them and somehow validate them as a superior creature. Interesting that if the Christians who refused to bake cakes, sell flowers, etc., had simply told a good enough lie, they wouldn't be getting sued out of business.

    The Indiana law is not just aimed at protecting mean old evangelicals against the "oppressed." It is also designed to protect against this sort of thing: http://outfrontonline.com/news/pro-lgbt-baker-slapped-religious-discrimination-complaint/

    What seems lost in all of this nonsense is the "devil may care" attitude toward the small business owners. They don't have the $500.00 per hour attorney just hanging around, looking for something to do, nor do they have the the unlimited resources of the state. Apparently it brings great joy to hearts of the disaffected to tattle to the ACLU and watch a business destroyed because of their religious beliefs.

    BTW, the "oppressed classes" don't know much about the decalogue either, even though it is written on their hearts. Nor do they care. The state doesn't care either.

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  7. Darryl,

    ut I have no idea why some consciences object to gay marriage but not to providing services for other breakers of the Decalogue.

    Maybe they would, it’s just that they’re not in the habit of asking customers about their sexual sin. When two men want a cake for their wedding, it’s kind of out in the open.

    Or maybe they just haven’t thought about it.

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  8. Nate, “If both persons in a gay marriage got saved, we wouldn’t recognize their marriage – we would call them to annul and repent of it.”

    Is this part of a baker’s responsibilities? A gas station owner? A plumber? How many small businesses (or large) ask for repentance? Maybe the Vatican Bank.

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  9. Robert, you’re not channeling Mark Jones are you? You think that most people you come across are not sinners until you meet two gay guys?

    What the . . . ?

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  10. >>>>Paul, why would a religious belief draw the line at homosexuality but not at blasphemy? And sexual sins aren’t being singled out?<<<<

    ????? Good question. I wasn't aware that the only cases in which the state is brought to bear against small business owners by liberal activists are cases involving sexual sins. BTW, are you okay with state sponsored blasphemy?

    The Indiana law will allow Jewish business owners to pass on catering a Neo-Nazi conference without having to concern themselves with being sued by the Attorney General.

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  11. >>>>And sexual sins aren’t being singled out?<<<<

    I don't recall the words, "sexual, sin, homosexual or marriage" anywhere in the Indiana legislation. It has become about "homosexuality" and "discrimination" because the paid activists made it that way.

    If I have the misfortune of running into one of the demonstrators, I'll ask them why they didn't make this about blasphemy as well.

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  12. Sean,

    But we are human beings who make moral judgments in business transactions about the nature of that transaction and the ends of those whom we transact with. Making someone a cake for their gay wedding isn’t the same as having dinner with a gay person. Though I’m more than happy to buy anyone dinner (gay or straight).

    DG,

    Is this part of a baker’s responsibilities? A gas station owner? A plumber? How many small businesses (or large) ask for repentance? Maybe the Vatican Bank.

    No, it’s a point about the nature of the transaction. I’m not saying bakers are posing the question ‘repent’ to gays they don’t serve. Not sure how that’s implied in my question. My point is that marriage between heterosexuals is natural and morally good but between homosexuals is unnatural and morally wrong. Would you bake a cake for gang members that had “Die Cops” on it? How about their gang sign?

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  13. Here are some of my (all about me) observations / non-legal opinions as an Indiana law student:

    1) The animus behind the bill is obvious — the sponsors and the floor debate made clear that the intent was to allow businesses to discriminate specifically against gay customers on the basis of religious conviction.

    2) The law as written is not clear b/c like federal and other state RFRA laws it is concerned with essential government interest vs religious liberty. But the statute also tries to allow a RFRA defense against suits brought by private parties. Most likely the law as written will not provide protection for those that refuse service based on sexual orientation — but it will take some lawsuits to figure that out.

    3) There is an amendment currently being drafted that is designed to make clear that the law does not allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation — possibly even making sexual orientation a protected class in Indiana (as it is in other states).

    4) Business do not have the right of freedom of association — at least not since Heart of Atlanta Motel v United States. One can debate about the merits/demerits of this, but it is not going away anytime soon. A business cannot refuse service on the basis of a protect class — and sexual orientation is a protected class in many states.

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  14. (Man, are we scraping the bottom of the barrel at Scold Life Titillation Society Sodality or what? Must be a slow day at the office.)

    While stuff like abortion, homosexual “marriage” etc. are egregious violations of the natural law, the 2kers are getting self righteous and dissing talking about religion as if it is the root of all secular evil. Huh?
    IOW the Huffington Post argument: those who object to ssm are hypocrites hiding behind the cross. (Hardly. RSClark nailed that at Hblog.)

    Sh*t, what’s the problem with catering a banquet for cannibals?
    OK, just selling them place settings and china. (Good, I was worried.)
    You got a problem with that, Leroy?
    Better go count your rosary beads after lighting some incense in front of your KJV bible.
    Yeah, right.

    It’s lawful for all people to marry. That they might be unbelievers/sinners is completely immaterial. (Duh.)
    Why even homosexuals are free to get married just like heterosexuals.
    But the problem is they’re not happy with that right, but want to throw a tantrum and pout. As in redefine reality/nature and scream bloody murder/persecution/discrimination if somebody has the audacity to question their play for special rights.
    (Hey, if you want to believe in little green men from Mars, that’s fine. But the rest of us don’t have to.)
    Not to mention ssm is jumping the line in front of same family marriages/incest and more than one spouse at the same time/polyandrous marriages.

    Gee Wally, you mean the meme that heteros don’t get to marry anybody they “want” to, is a lie?
    Yup. That’s right, Beaver.
    Shock.

    FTR children don’t come from the drycleaners or 7Eleven; rather the family is the fundamental building block of society and those who want to broaden/dilute the franchise – if not really privilege homo marriage over hetero – are just fools and tools for the state, who is going to end up picking up the pieces after things go gunnybag.

    Memo, this just in. 2K is one thing, Leviathan as supreme deity/idol another. Which is why these fascists have no problem using the civil magistrate to try and coerce the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker into accommodating their perversions.

    (Oh, wait. It’s April Fool’s Day. I must be on the wrong website.
    Which is a good thing. Equal Opportunist Kurt Weakly is already mad at me.)

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  15. Jstar, it’s not a serious question. If I’m in business, why do I turn people away, assuming they are legitimately doing business. If I’m a Christian, where do I turn in the Bible to find against whom to discriminate?

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  16. Paul, pretty much every president since the founding of this Republic has engaged in blasphemy — civil religion. I carry on, a law-abiding citizen.

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  17. Darryl,

    The issue isn’t that most people I come across are sinners, the issue is aiding and abetting that sin. Maybe these bakers who do not want to sell a cake for a gay wedding ceremony should interview all their clients about the parameters of their relationship, but is that practical? Asking for a cake so that Adam and Steve can get married is kind of an in your face declaration of sin.

    And I’m pretty sure that most of these business owners wouldn’t make a cake for someone who wanted a blasphemous message written on it, but I digress.

    If a Christian gun shop owner has a customer whom the owner knows is all but certainly wanting to buy a gun to kill somebody, should he be obligated to sell it? Is giving him the freedom to say no merely because the state says murder is wrong but homosexual marriage isn’t?

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  18. Nate, to speak to your example, it’s the distinction between sin and crime. I discriminate against criminals. I’m actually prohibited by law to discriminate against sin that doesn’t qualify as crime. So, if a Phillies fan wants to lease an Apt, when I run a background check it’s gonna turn up a rap sheet as long as your arm, so, no apt for the felon/philly guy. Now, when the 49er fan and ‘friend’ show up to rent the apt, they come up clean and I rent them the apt but make sure they sign the community rules amendment that states they have to keep Ma’s Vogue at 5 or lower. That, and bake me some Brie with Apple slices(über thin) once a week. Easy peesy.

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  19. I’d just assume the state get out of the marriage business. Why does the state need to be involved at all? Raise an army to protect, provide some social safety nets, help me pursue life liberty and happiness. Don’t make me come before you if I want to marry. I’ll talk to my pastor about that. Just ramblin’

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  20. Maybe Paul would tell the USA:

    “It’s better that you don’t marry people, just as I am not married. But if you (state) must, and can’t control yourself, fine, marry your people. Don’t… say I didn’t, say I didn’t …warn ya……

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  21. Nate, I’m like you insofar as I’d be more than willing to have someone else buy me dinner. No moral test necessary.

    The wedding cake and photography are a big deal because of the close nexus between the offending behavior and the product. So, for a blaspheming customer, the analogy would be asking a sign maker to make a sign that includes a cross in urine and equally offensive verbiage.

    Laws are made when something is broken. Here, seeking out businesses that would be offended by the gay marriages and suing them was bad behavior. But laws aren’t a substitute for good citizenship and too often they don’t fix the problem and/or create new problems. I really don’t want a country in which it’s a crap shoot whether a business will serve someone walking in the door. And, if you don’t like that, Mr. Business owner, pick another vocation.

    There’s plenty of disingenuousness and shrill rhetoric from the religious, but I don’t need to equally bash everyone in every comment.

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  22. DGH,

    I noticed you didn’t answer a simple yes or no question again, and instead went right to DISQUALIFY! Nice obfuscation. I’ll make a third attempt, and this will according to the rules have to be my last.

    Yes or no. If you owned a bakery is there anyone in all of human history you wouldn’t bake a cake for due to your religious beliefs?

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  23. The Indiana law will allow Jewish business owners to pass on catering a Neo-Nazi conference without having to concern themselves with being sued by the Attorney General.

    Oh good, because that happens all the time. Seriously, the hypotheticals used so often in these kinds of debates help reveal that it’s more about scoring political points one way or another than it is about sorting out how to live with one another.

    So ding, MG, on laws being a poor substitute for good citizenship. The now famous florist case derives from a rather credible florist who over nine years developed a client-friendship with a gay man who prized her work. One day he decided to get married and asked her to do the flowers. It’s hard to imagine that after nine years he had no idea she may not be wild about that. Or maybe she was so human about their friendship he understandably misinterpreted. Either way, he evidently was willing to torpedo an actual human relationship to make a larger political point. Call me soft, but that’s the real casualty in something like this. And it could surely go in the other direction. Like Mrs. Z said the other day, why are people so convinced their political opinions matter so damn much?

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  24. DGH:

    You crossed the line when you blasphemed the Dallas Cowboys. I suspect you had something to do with stealing DeMarco Murray as well.

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  25. From the JStar Chamber.”If you owned a bakery is there anyone in all of human history you wouldn’t bake a cake for due to your religious beliefs?”

    Yankee fans. Drivers who won’t look up so I can tell whether they see me on my bike. Anti-smoking Nazi’s. None of them get my cake. And none are protected by civil rights legislation, thankfully.

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  26. Darryl,

    No, I’m asking the question about where you draw the line on when it is permissible to deny service and when it isn’t, because all of us draw the line somewhere. Is it merely because the state says one violation of the Decalogue is a crime and another isn’t? Pick a different analogy if you like.

    I’m not necessarily saying that I have all the answers, and both sides are using this for political posturing. What I’m sensitive about is one group suing the pants off of a grandmother who owns a flower shop and merely because they felt offended or hurt because, whether you agree with her or not, she decided not to sell flowers for one specific occasion.

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  27. Robert, we don’t all draw the line because not all of us are in business. The grandmother should know what the law requires post 1964 and factor that into running a business. She might also, if a Christian, want to consider whether refusing someone’s business is charitable. Paul said it was okay to eat meat offered to idols. I suspect the people selling the meat were idolaters.

    So my point is why are people’s consciences so selective? Maybe it really isn’t a matter of conscience.

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  28. Darryl, she did consider that. She still concluded no. You may be right, it may be time for her to hang up her flowers if she’s not ready to participate in the 2015 marketplace. But the way she tells it, it does seem unfortunate that things had to escalate the way they did. Not to give aid to the Christian whiners, but it’s hard to see how this isn’t a form of bullying. As you say, will her antagonist return to her store after she’s been forced to decorate his wedding? Or were flowers never really the point?

    http://heidelblog.net/2015/04/the-lgbt-lobby-is-threatened-by-grandma/

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  29. DG,

    I don’t regard gay marriage as the equivalent of gang members who want to kill cops. Maybe the Dallas Cowboys, but not gay spouses.

    I don’t either. My point is not about the legality but the morality of involvement, and I wasn’t intending to imply that gays and gang-bangers are on the same level (I don’t think I did imply that). As you pointed out to Robert above, meat is meat. And yes, a cake is a cake, so on one token, I’d make a cake and if a gay couple wanted to buy that cake for their wedding, then no problem. Just like I would sell them the ingredients if I worked at a grocery store. But if a gay couple wanted me to decorate a cake with gay paraphernalia then I would object. Just like I would object if I were a wood-worker and someone came to me asking to make them some idols.

    I’d be more than happy to boycott the Cowboys though.

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  30. Zrim, I thought marriage was so 19th century or something. The whole desire of these folks wanting to get married puzzles me at times. Sure, love and all that jazz. But the strong desire for these people to want to get married, coupled with the strong desire for others to try to block them, makes for one heckuva roller coaster ride for those of us enjoying it on our pixelated screens. Colorful flags too boot. Weeeeeeee!

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  31. Sean,

    My point is not about the legality of transaction but about the morality of our involvement in a transaction. I’d rent an apartment, a hotel room, etc. to a gay couple – we’re all humans. But if I’m asked to decorate a room with homosexual paraphernalia then I would kindly object. If they want to decorate it themselves then I’m good with that.

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  32. Muddy,

    I completely agree with you. I’m not trying to defend the overblown antics on the issue nor do I think the conservative side in this issue is handling it well, but I do think there’s precedent in Christian conscience to object to making “gay wedding” cakes (i.e., moral grounds). Whether the State decides to protect that is another issue.

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  33. AB, thank the family values crowd. If legitimacy comes through the marriage and family door…

    But my old school gays tell me part of the point is to not zig when society zags. They don’t want marriage because it’s so straight. Or square, whatever.

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  34. Zrim, and if we want to be Pauline, we should urge the gays not to marry, but on different grounds than what the religious usually use. Thanks for confirming my thoughts here, peace man.

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  35. Paul, living in this world. Is your conscience meter turned up all the time? Do you think about the milk you drink in the morning, the coffee you brew, the internet service provider you use?

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  36. “Would a Protestant baker object to making a wedding cake for a marriage in a Roman Catholic church even when Rome’s teaching on marriage violates the sufficiency of God’s word? Or what about a cake for non-believers? I get it. Their money spends. But are we really supposed to think that homosexuals are the only ones with sin entering into nuptials?”

    DG, are you serious or just trying to stoke the fire? The point is gay sex is not just any sin, but one Scripture represents as sign of the terminus of God’s judgement. The point is a gay wedding is in itself an enshrining of and celebration of gay sex. The point is marriage is a sacred symbol, and a gay wedding places the sin of sodomy at the heart of a redefined version of that symbol. For people who hold scared things to be sacred, that may be a very big deal. I doubt many Christians think their Roman Catholic neighbors’ marriage is invalid or sinful. Or that of their pagan friends. In fact, most would be glad they got married if they were previously just shacking up. But none of those positive feelings can be easily transferred to two lesbians who decide to get married. Their entire union is situated in and based on a sinful moral lifestyle choice. They aren’t just “good” people who believe the wrong thing. They are actively practicing the wrong thing. Homosexuality is not just a demographic. It is a sinful moral activity. It’s why the wedding is all about and what the cake provides the ceremonial centerpiece for.

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  37. Darryl, they don’t want marriage. But they also don’t want harassment. Maybe the deal is for the religionists to lay off efforts to disenfranchise and otherwise marginalize in exchange for them laying off marriage. But it’s probably too late for that.

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  38. Joe M., so you think the state has the power to define marriage? Look, your church already defines marriage and it hasn’t changed even if some bishops are wimpy about the Indiana law.

    There was a time when the state didn’t regulate marriage. The sacredness of marriage is still something taught and practiced by Roman Catholics. Don’t make me say that the state shouldn’t have to back up Roman Catholic teachings.

    I mean, the U.S. isn’t going to save the Synod on the Family.

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  39. Darryl,

    Robert, we don’t all draw the line because not all of us are in business. The grandmother should know what the law requires post 1964 and factor that into running a business.

    The law didn’t require providing flowers for a gay wedding until the movement for marriage equality and gay rights found homosexuality to be a protected class. I seriously doubt that a flower shop owner who opened up shop 30 years ago expected to ever have to deal with the question.

    She might also, if a Christian, want to consider whether refusing someone’s business is charitable.

    Indeed. But whose to say she hasn’t?

    Paul said it was okay to eat meat offered to idols. I suspect the people selling the meat were idolaters.

    Now here is the important question, and that is how to apply this directive when the person doing the selling is a Christian. I would wager that the Christian who bought the meat wasn’t buying it for the purpose of celebrating idolatry. It’s a little different when the the seller is being asked to supply something being used to celebrate sin.

    I’m not even taking a position on whether selling flowers is endorsing the marriage or not. What I do know is that Paul’s answer was don’t enlist the state to bully the Christians into buying meat from idolaters to bully the meat sellers to stop idolatry. It’s wrong when the purpose of the law is to bully others—and yes, the right has done it as well.

    So my point is why are people’s consciences so selective? Maybe it really isn’t a matter of conscience.

    Because we are fallen and complex creatures for one. Maybe for some it really is a matter of conscience, maybe for some it is not. Maybe they are not sure and want to play on the safer side. The law can’t sort out people’s motivations.

    What I do know is that the politicians on the left are posers here, and politicians on the right are going to use this to scare people into voting. And radical activists want to bully anyone who won’t sign on the dotted line who says, “You know what, maybe this whole homosexuality thing isn’t good for you and your eternal destiny.” And if we think that they’ll be content to stop with forcing flower shops and bakeries to cater weddings, then we haven’t understood human nature.

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  40. Nate, try not to disagree with me so much. But, I still don’t get it. In the example, you’re not being asked to depict a sexual act in fondant, they’re asking for a cake. Probably layered and tiered. So, make ’em a cake. If they want something lewd, tell them you don’t do lewd. If the apt guy wants a disco ball and blacklight posters, I tell him, knock yourself out., not my job, but keep the noise down and if you break it you pay for it.

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  41. Sean,

    I can’t help myself – if you only knew how much I disagreed with myself you’d understand. I’ve got a Puritan conscience trapped in a 2K mind.

    I’d agree with your post. I’ll ship you some brie and paper-thin apple slices, though I hear apple slices don’t ship well. I’ll put ’em in a bottle so they ferment – at least you can get something good out of it.

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  42. >>>>Paul, living in this world. Is your conscience meter turned up all the time? Do you think about the milk you drink in the morning, the coffee you brew, the internet service provider you use?<<<<

    As a matter of fact I do think about those things.

    Great Value brand milk is inexpensive and it adds value to Wal-Mart. It is how WMT competes with Unilever and P&G but on a lower price point. A few days ago my wife wondered aloud why the Great Value products are on the lowest shelf instead of eye level. Because Nabisco, Kraft and others pay for their shelf space. Ditto on the coffee — wife drinks GV Keurig Cups but feels guilty over the cost. And yes, I did wonder why WMT would be stupid enough to weigh in on what they perceive to be a right to discriminate against homosexuals.

    Both WMT and AAPL do quite a lot of business with nations that routinely murder homosexuals, Christians and women for things that have nothing to do with the decalogue. Their remarks will be applauded by some until they miss their earnings targets. When that happens (I love AAPL products and think the i-Watch will be great), all the love, love, love they feel from their supporters will be trumped by investor outrage.

    Re: Comcast, I think about them every time NBC runs a ridiculous Public Service Message. Comcast takes care of their customers very well but I wonder if they might perform better as a pure play.

    BTW, do you ever think about the burden faced by the small business owner? Living in this litigious world, what do you think about that? Why do you suppose that sole-proprietor is not a desirable way in which to organize a business? Why do you make your readers feel like Jack Nicholson to your Tom Cruise? You snotty little – – – – – – -.

    Like

  43. Why do you make your readers feel like Jack Nicholson to your Tom Cruise? You snotty little – – – – – – –

    Olts is the reason the internet was invented. Just like Weird Al’s channel UHF 62 was the reason television was invented.

    Be there…yah

    Like

  44. Why do you make your readers feel like Jack Nicholson to your Tom Cruise? You snotty little – – – – – – –

    Olts is the reason the internet was invented. Just like Weird Al’s UHF Channel 62 was the reason television was invented.

    Be there…yah

    Like

  45. Paul, I do think about the small business person. I marvel at their ability to keep up with all the paperwork of govt, social security, benefits, the list goes mind-numbingly on. It’s not a matter of conscience.

    Like

  46. >>>>It’s not a matter of conscience<<<<

    Then what is it? Why did Grandma Stutzman refuse to provide flowers for long time friend and customer Robert Ingersoll?

    Like

  47. If the shoe were on the other foot, what would the reaction be? If an unbelieving caterer refused to cater any church related activity because he finds the evangelical view of God and man repugnant, what would the evangelical Christians do? Would they…

    1. Be thankful we are allowed freedom of conscience in our land and quietly find another caterer

    2. Complain publicly about discrimination and urge fellow Christians to boycott that business.

    3. Take some sort of legal action against the caterer.

    Wouldn’t those who choose option 1. be the ones who have a credible beef against the portion of the gay community choosing options 2&3 against evangelicals?

    Like

  48. What I understand even less is the sensitivity of religious consciences to gay marriage.

    But isn’t that kind of the point? You and I might not share the conviction of those who won’t provide pizzas to gay weddings, but then I don’t get why those Amish guys will shop at Sam’s but not buy a John Deere. But shouldn’t respect their right to follow their conscience?

    It is clear that the brouhaha over all of this is opportunistic in the extreme, but I do find it more than a bit disturbing how many now regard religious liberty problematic. It seems to me that these RFRA laws have been unfairly misconstrued because a lot of folks aren’t so crazy about who they benefit these days (Hobby Lobby, etc…). But generally, they seem to me to strike about the right balance for religious liberty. Of course one’s religious convictions shouldn’t get you automatically off the hook, but it seems that the government should have a pretty hire bar to cross before they pass a law that requires you to violate your conscience. RFRAs seem to do a pretty good job at doing that. I suspect that they won’t get florists off the hook for selling flowers for a ssm or diners serving gay customers. But for expressive transactions, I suspect folks will be able to decline business (the t-shirt printer may not be able to avoid selling to the Phelps clan, but perhaps the vendor shouldn’t have to print shirts declaring God hates).

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  49. This is all just another demonstration of why democracy is a failed god. I think it is silly to apply logic and arguments on what is clearly a no-holds-barred political movement.

    Homosexuals are the oppressed class, therefore an individual homosexual can do no wrong, nor can anything done on behalf of their class be considered wrong. Consistency be damned.

    Like

  50. DGH: Of course the government does not define marriage. But average believers and businessmen should not have to pretend they agree with the state’s attempt at moral pontificating. Gay sex and gay marriage both offend Christian sensibilities. Christians should not have to render services to ceremonies they find offensive. It does not matter if the state agrees or not. As far as I am concerned, Goldwater was right.

    Like

  51. ANd, DGH, I laughingly comment that you sound more like Keller here than you do Machen. Typically I agree with you, but you are being contrarian to a fault. Also, btw, please don’t assu,e I am a Catholic party guy. Francis, God bless him, is an ass.

    Like

  52. @ DGH: if you’re seeking my objection, it is this:

    “III. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent.[5] Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord.[6] And therefore such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.[7]

    IV. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden by the Word.[8] Nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife.[9] The man may not marry any of his wife’s kindred, nearer in blood then he may of his own: nor the woman of her husband’s kindred, nearer in blood than of her own.[10]”

    I would understand gay marriage to be an “affinity forbidden by the Word” and hence not lawful.

    So the point is not, “gays are sinners and don’t deserve to be married”, which would be absurd. The point is that gay marriage is not in point of fact a marriage, and no amount of wishful declaration can make it so. It’s a fantasy that cannot be made real.

    If it could be made real, I would cheerfully give it to them (in a civil sense). You may recall that a made a case a couple of years ago here for state recognition of civil unions, and I stand by that.

    But gay *marriage* isn’t “wrong” so much as it just isn’t anything. Except that it is now a nothing with a fanbase and a legal backing and a TwitterMob.

    Like

  53. @ Todd: agreed that 2. Would be obnoxious, but it pales in comparison to what was done to the Memories Pizza folk. We as a country need to get a handle on twittermobbing. It is becoming akin to smashing and burning.

    Like

  54. Jeff,
    Remember that because of how some Christians have pushed society to stigmatize homosexuals, some homosexuals have been physically abused even to the point of death.

    The point is certainly not to justify the threats made against Memories Pizza. Those threats are wrong. But just like much of America would give a genesis account of the war on terror by starting with how we were attacked and exclude how we’ve attacked others, we can describe the current culture with how some of us are being treated for opposing same-sex marriage in society. But doing so presents an incomplete picture. We have to go back to how some of us and our spiritual ancestors have marginalized those in the LGBT community. For it isn’t until we can step outside of what is happening to our own group that we can get a bigger picture of what is happening.

    Like

  55. >>>>Paul, Grandma S. is like Francis? Infallible. Why can’t she be in error?<<<<

    If Grandma is wrong then who is right? And why are they right?

    Like

  56. Jeff,

    What Curt said. The Twitter mobbing is childish and dangerous, but some of the backlash from gays against evangelicals goes back to the 80’s when many of their family and friends were dying of AIDS, and evangelicals (maybe a few, but we were all stereotyped like we do to them) were coldly and even gleefully pronouncing AIDS as God’s judgment against homosexuals. That’s not easy to forget.

    Given that, many of us have lived long enough to see these things as fads. Right now the LGBT community is the popular persecuted minority. In the 60’s and 70’s it was women. Blacks for a good while. While each had some legitimate gripes, Hollywood and Washington (and the press) took each fad, stoked it for all it’s worth, running it into the ground until the majority of Americans were exhausted hearing about it. I think reparations did that for the black community – most thought it was now becoming ridiculous and were ready to move on to a new disaffected minority. (For some reason the plight of the Native Americans never captured the hearts of Hollywood or Washington, at least in the last century.) But I’m sure the whole gay rights crusade will die down also, I know I’m tired of hearing about it. I would suggest for the next persecuted minority Jewish Christian Libertarians, but the rallies would be awfully lonely, however the food would be good.

    Like

  57. DG, the RPNA got put away.
    And maybe it’s time to put ScoldLife away .
    Because we’ve never seen so many asinine non sequiturs.
    Scripture is clear, you eat the meat, until someone tells you it was offered to idols.
    The florist sold lots of flowers to her customer.
    Then he wanted a wedding arrangement.
    Connect the dots/do the math.
    Two mommies or two daddies ≠ a mommie and a daddy.
    She didn’t ask him what in the Sam Hill he was talking about, but she should have.
    Would have pre-empted all the self righteous whining about religious persecution from the homosexuals and the fellow travelers.
    The homosexuals want special rights and they’re going to throw a tantrum until they get it.
    IOW the country is descending into moral idiocy.
    Next up will be the biological males that have a constitutional right to use the ladies restroom.
    You laugh, but the Supreme Court is seriously stupid about “equality”.
    Any questions about the last, ask Curt. As a socialist, he’s an expert on equality.

    cheers

    Like

  58. Todd, and in all this, the power of Leviathan grows.
    That’s all the puppet show is about in the long run.
    In the meantime, the assorted minorities/victims are let off the leash to do as much damage as their idol sees fit. But when their purpose is served, they too will be tossed into the meatgrinder.

    Like

  59. Bob, we don’t shut down Oldlife until Kenneth and Erik (with a k) stop coming around. It’s a website for goodness sake, Darryl likes to chat with whomever comes around. Like was told Erik, if you don’t like it, don’t post. Yet here you are. The only fun position here is sticking up for Kabbigail and Cordelia, IMHO. All DGH is doing here is in posts Oldlife 101 and Oldlife 201. Those, and Brother Mouzone (Bunny, etc.). Cheers to you too, man.

    Like

  60. Joe M. “Gay sex and gay marriage both offend Christian sensibilities.”

    Mine are offended.

    But what if profaning the Lord’s Day also offended Christian sensibilities? Would Christians be even more hysterical? Or might they recognize they live in Babylon?

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  61. Jeff, I agree with confession and oppose gay marriage for this and other reasons.

    But I don’t agree with most of the way that Christians oppose gay marriage and think they look foolish.

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  62. Todd, yes and no. Yes, evangelicals said stupid things about AIDS. No, marriage is not exactly the way to get back at them. Marriage actually turns gays into “normal” Americans. That was Andrew Sullivan’s point. Ironically, with gay marriage Jerry Falwell and family values win.

    Like

  63. D.G.,
    It’s simple, you look at those groups that have been successfully targeted by dominant groups. Having had quite a few homosexual friends and former colleagues, their stories can tell you both what they and others have experienced. And if only we would listen to more Blacks and other minorities as they live in a still racist, as well as classist, society. Certainly not all from those groups are hurt and marginalized to the same extent, but many from those groups have been significantly exploited, abused, or neglected. Those of us with privilege tend to assume that those who have been or are victims live through being abused or exploited in significant ways with our life context. If only we would listen to their stories to learn differently.

    Gays are becoming less marginal. But think about the executive directive one state governor issued that makes it legal to harass or fire people based on sexual orientation. How marginalized they have been can be partially measured by how many are reacting to Christians who speak publicly against same-sex marriage or Christian vendors who refuse to provide services to same-sex weddings. The marginalization of groups will produce a variety of reactions from those in the group.

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  64. Darryl,

    Wasn’t specifically thinking of gay marriage as a way to get even, simply citing our AIDS response as one of the reasons for such anger against evangelicals, beside not liking what the Bible teaches of course.

    Bob S

    Good point. A common denominator in all this might be looking to the government and legislation to resolve grievances more than attempting to change minds and hearts, but then again, evangelicals have been doing this for many years (prohibition, Scopes Trial, Moral Majority, etc.), so we have little room to complain when the other guys do it.

    Todd Bordow
    OPC of Rio Rancho, NM

    Like

  65. I would recommend the essay by Snoeberger on the “spirituality of the church” in the new issue of the Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal. Assuming the identity of dispensationalism with “fundamentalism”, it argues that one, Darby’s dispensationalism was first of all about ecclesiology, about Darby’s refusal of political loyalty oaths demanded by the Church of the England, and two–that Machen and OPC are agreed with these dispensationalists not only on the inerrancy of the Bible but on the spirituality of churches….

    A Tale of Two Kingdoms: The Struggle for the Spirituality of the Church and the Genius of
    the Dispensational System”

    http://dbts.edu/blog/new-issue-of-detroit-baptist-seminary-journal-2/

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  66. In other words, Todd, politics is the forum evangelicals chose. And they chose the tactics of button-pushing rhetoric and mob mentality. Only now the other side is winning.

    If your thinking is captured by the political discourse of the day maybe your thinking is worldly.

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  67. muddy, ding ding.

    If I read the reports of the amendment signed into law yesterday correctly, a baker in an Indiana municipality with an anti discrimination ordinance that applies to sexual orientation can be subject to criminal penalties.for not providing services to a gay wedding. Massive fail, but live by the sword, etc.

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  68. Jeff, you say the point isn’t that gay marriage is wrong so much as it isn’t real (and can’t be made real no matter how much wishful declaration). I’m not sure what your point is though. Lots of marital arrangements are denied by Reformed doctrine, for example divorce: “Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments, unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined together in marriage; yet nothing but adultery, or such willful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage; wherein a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it, not left to their own wills and discretion in their own case.”

    That would seem to mean heterosexual no-fault divorces “aren’t real” either (where are the religious campaigns not to have to bake a divorce party cake?). Are you in the habit of scare-quoting those divorces? I suspect what you mean is that from a particularly religious point of view these arrangements aren’t kosher, but if certain arrangements have REAL consequences in the REAL world, e.g. financial benefits/sanctions, child custodies, etc., then aren’t they real? So it’s not clear to me what the point is in going this rather dismissive route. In fact, it seems almost to be yet another arrogant way of politically marginalizing a certain class of sinners, a version of pretending someone isn’t there who really is. Isn’t enough to simply say that homosexuality should not enjoy the sanction of marriage?

    Like

  69. Darryl, Falling duckOPC is listening to you, mentioned you on reformed reddit, yo:

    fallingduckOPC 1 point 12 hours ago
    Here is a good article in favor of the Two Kingdoms by Matt Tuininga, who actually focused/is focusing on Calvin’s 2K theology during his studies at Emory:

    www[.]reformation21[.]org/articles/the-two-kingdoms-doctrine-whats-the-fuss-all-about-part-one.php
    I personally know more people on the R2K side (VanDrunen, Hart, Horton) than on the…other side, so naturally I’m very pro-2K, and quite interested in the topic. At the same time, I have yet to hear a good, Biblical critique of 2K theology that doesn’t misrepresent it. I’d love to have more discussions about it in this thread and on the subreddit as a whole.
    tl;dr Christians should go to Church, evangelize outside of Church, and live normal lives under the sword of the State, and leave creating a New Heavens and New Earth to God. Doesn’t really sound controversial now, does it?

    Be warm and filled, go phillies!

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  70. D.G.,
    I read what you write and so do others. So how is it that people don’t listen to you?

    But tell me, how, as a member of the OPC, have you been marginalized in society over the past 10 to 20 years?

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  71. @Curt Are you seriously asking a conservative protestant academic how he has been marginalized?

    Have you read any of the literature on the underrepresentation of conservative (e.g., Gross, Fosse, etc…) and religious (e.g., Eckland) scholars in academia? Let’s just say being known for holding right of center views or being a theist (much less a Calvinist) isn’t exactly a career booster.

    Like

  72. sdb,
    Yes, I want to know how a conservative protestant academic has been marginalized by society so we can compare that with how others have been marginalized.

    Like

  73. @Curt

    ConProts are more underrepresented in academia than AAs, latin@s, or women. Haidt also worth reading on this.

    Like

  74. bubass, “Because we’ve never seen so many asinine non sequiturs.”

    You’re not reading Mark Jones.

    Well dumb question numero uno DG.
    Like what does MJ have to do with anything?
    Dos, this is not a prima facie egs. of a(nother) non sequitur?
    The bubbas want to know.

    Like

  75. Todd,
    One, the civil magistrate enforces some kind of law Rom. 13.
    Two, neither one of us are evangelicals per se – at least I’m not – so what they do is beside the point. (I trust we both agree that they have civil rights.)

    Rather my point was that the respective episodes of the Punch and Judy show, previous or now screening, whatever else they purport to do, in the end only really do one thing. Undermine alternative sources and spheres of authority apart from and outside the state.
    And Leviathan and its minions, having instigated the “crisis” in the first place, is more than willing to insinuate itself as the solution.

    IOW homosexual marriage is an oxymoron, in the long run it is just another tool fronting for Big Brother.

    cheers

    Like

  76. Bubba, what does anything have to do with anything? Don’t join forces with Curt, think of Darryl’s cats..yo…

    Like

  77. @ Zrim: Leave gay marriage alone for a second and focus on the primary practice in view in that section of the confession, namely, the Catholic practice of giving dispensations for marriage to near-relations.

    As I read the confession, it does not say, “Such marriages should not be made lawful”, but that they cannot be.

    Such relations – say marriage between siblings – are likewise “real” in the sense of having consequences, such as children and sharing of property and even of love between the two. But if asked “are they lawfully married”, the Confessionalist says “No”, regardless of what the civil law says.

    Do you read it differently?

    Like

  78. @ Curt, Todd:

    Not following the argument, sorry. My point is that TwitterMobbing is wrong and destructive. You seem to agree but then place the mob’s actions in a historical context. To what end?

    Like

  79. Reminding you that I am not a dispensationalist (but a new covenant one kingdom for Christians kind of pacifist), let me report part of the Snoeberger essay from another source

    “Darryl Hart makes the startling observations that there were not only a premillennialist and
    a dispensationalist on the charter faculty of WTS (Paul Woolley and Allan MacRae, respectively),
    but that a full 80% of the early student body was premillennial (D. G. Hart, “The Legacy of J. Gresham Machen and the Identity of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church,” WTJ 53 (1991): 212–13)

    Four of the members of the faculty at WTS turned against their dispensational brothers in a fierce battery of published critiques of the dispensational movement. The dispensationalists were devastated. They had sacrificed greatly to back Machen and his confessional minority, yet it was Machen himself who would effectively evict them: “If a man really does accept all the teaching of Scofield’s notes,” Machen announced in November, “he is seriously out of accord with the Reformed faith and has no right to be a minister or elder or deacon in the OPC.”

    As early as 1921 we find stout Presbyterian critiques of the Scofield Reference Bible (see e.g., R. C. Reed, “The Scofield Bible Again,” Presbyterian Standard 62 [6 April 1921]: 2), but they were not deemed sufficiently serious to merit censure. When given an opportunity to explain why the attacks had come so suddenly in 1936, the confessionalists replied: “We cannot offer a very good reason for a failure to raise the issue at an earlier time. Evidently the only reason is that we were absorbed in fighting that great enemy, Modernism” (“A Clarification of Some Issues,” Presbyterian Guardian 3.11 [13 March 1937]: 217

    http://www.dbts.edu/pdf/macp/2012/Snoeberger,%20Where%27s%20the%20Love.pdf

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  80. Curt,

    Sure. I’m just trying to understand where you’re going with it. The most obvious direction, that Memories owners somehow “deserved what they got” because they belonged to the same group as Falwell, is an argument I would hope that you would not make.

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  81. Jeff,
    Why would that be the most obvious direction? I simply tried to add just a little context to the reaction and noted that it isn’t the only reaction from the LGBT community.

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  82. Jeff, I read it as “such arrangements in a Reformed church are sinful and not recognized (but this was also written in a very Constantinian context when the magistrate not only cared what the church said but also couldn’t have anticipated the goings on now, so let the magistrate declare what and join together whom he will but we obey God rather than men and won’t lose too much sleep over it, etc. and so forth).”

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  83. Jeff,

    I was not even considering the Twitter mobbers when I made the comment, there is no excuse for that, I am speaking of the gay community in general. My point is simply that they have some legitimate beefs against evangelicals which in part explains their anger. But with Zrim I do not see the benefit of saying homosexual marriage is not a thing. Legally it now is. Would you say the same about polygamous marriagesin Uganda, even though it certainly is not God’s plan and purpose for marriage, as the Scriptures make clear?

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  84. Todd and Curt: “My point is simply that they have some legitimate beefs against evangelicals which in part explains their anger.”

    Ok, I can buy that.

    Wrt to “benefit”, I’m not thinking pragmatically but rather noting that while several types of marriages *ought* not be made (eg, polygamous, Christian-nonChristian), these can still be lawfully made under civil law.

    There is something different about these. They cannot be lawfully made. And in the context I laid out above, I think the meaning was indeed, “These are not in fact lawfully married, and cannot be made to be so.”

    But I’m just repeating myself here. My plea is simply that the language of 24.4 appears to be deliberately different from other strictures, and different in such a way as to deny a contrary judgment by the civil magistrate.

    Like

  85. yo Abbie,
    Bubba here (self appointed mod of ScoldLife, not to be mistaken for the feline moderated OldLifeSociety).
    The point is that (just like the sweetmeats post), the fundamental premise is wrong.

    The question is not the conclusion:

    But are we really supposed to think that homosexuals are the only ones with sin entering into nuptials?

    Rather as per WCF 24:3, it is lawful for all sorts of people to marry.
    What is not lawful, is for all sorts of people to enter into all sorts of relationships and call it marriage.

    IOW a father and a daughter may not get married.
    Even if they do.
    (And it is not as if even the pagans don’t know this cf.1 Cor. 5:1).
    Neither may two members of the same sex get married.
    Nor may anybody marry an animal.
    Even if they do any or all of these things these depraved liberal and progressive days.

    Nor can such relationships “ever be made lawful by any law of man or consent of parties” (cf. WCF 24:4), part of the problem being one, nature and two, the triumph of humanistic and positive law over common law, the judicial witch hunts, TwitterLynchMobs and the MainstreamMoronMedia to the contrary.

    True, ScoldLife doesn’t deal in as many non sequiturs as Mr. Jones, but we is still in the running!
    cheers

    Like

  86. Jeff,
    Again, according to whose law? Civil law is for society that includes a mix of people.

    Compare Romans 1 with I Cor 5 and see who has committed the greater sin.

    Like

  87. Bub, you always did have a way with words (see exhibit A below, love it, “lightness of being” ( emoticon)). Thanks, sorry about Garbanzo Gonzaga. Opening day of baseball tho, gooooooi Sf Giants!

    BubEssSpeaketh
    Posted February 9, 2015 at 11:36 am Permalink
    Comments are open, spam flies, flatulence ensues and cacophony reigns.
    Welcome to the virtual comboxing ring resizeable at will at the bottom of the page where one can peer into the white pixelated fog of the infinite ether and wrestle with the lightness of being a moron.

    In this corner Chitter Chatter and the Chichuahua.
    In the other KKKenny and CVD.
    Refereed by Jase and his bud.

    Comments are open, minds are closed and the opinions run from a to z.
    If you can’t spell, that’s not our problem.

    cheers

    Like

  88. @ Curt: Degree of sin is not relevant to the argument.

    According to whose law? If I’m reading correctly, civil law cannot make such marriages lawful.

    One way to say it is that natural law is not nominalist in this matter.

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  89. Jeff,

    Your view raises some interesting questions. Let’s say two gay men are married, they adopt a baby, and then one of them becomes a Christian. Besides remaining celibate, what do you recommend? Is he to divorce according to the law of the state? Who then gets custody of the baby? If they are not to divorce, does that mean a church can have a man in a gay marriage as a member? I don’t know the answers by the way, but in time church officers will need to think these through. What do you think?

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  90. Not to butt in, but I really want to see this developed. Todd, is there something wrong with the answer that he should get divorced along with a rebuttable presumption that he try to keep the child?

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  91. Muddy,

    Given the majority of the times the unbelieving partner would seek a divorce in that situation, I can foresee a few scenarios where that might not be the case, an older gay couple (sans the baby) who have been married for many years, or a situation where one is handicapped and the other is his caretaker. If I was going to instruct a new Christian in that situation that he must get a divorce, and even possibly lose majority custody of his child in doing so, I would need clear Scriptural evidence I must do this. What Scripture would you use?

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  92. Todd, if believing heteros are instructed not to divorce unbelieving spouses (1 Cor 7), why would it be any different for homosexual spouses? As you say, the usual playing out could be that the unbeliever would seek a divorce, and as that reference says so be it. But it’s pretty hard to see a biblical case that counsels FOR divorce.

    Like

  93. Zrim,

    Yes, I agree, which is how we usually handle the polygamy issue, but it would be interesting to hear the reasoning of those who would counsel for divorce because they put gay marriage in a much different category from polygamous marriage.

    Like

  94. The gay marriage is inherently illegitimate before the church and the gay couple staying together would either present a powerful temptation to sin and/or have the appearance of great evil in the church. Ergo divorce.

    What am I missing?

    Like

  95. Good, this is where I hoped we might land. Because there is going to be a disconnect between the laws of the state and (a) reality, and (b) what should be.

    That tension holds not only for gay couples but also (in another time and place) for slave couples who were forcibly separated from their spouses, effectively annulling their marriages in the eyes of the law but not in the eyes of God.

    My general principle would be to live according to truth while fulfilling the requirements of the law as best possible. So your suggestion of remaining civilly married but celibate seems like a reasonable one.

    Like

  96. One other item to consider is what’s best for a child? Two male parents together or two male parents apart? I don’t think we’re wrestling with the same issue as a mother and a father (of many wives). Is a child really worse off with parents separated? Civil sustainability is important but moral implications would outweigh that – why would a Christian parent want to give their child the impression that gay marriage is acceptable, even worse, by the church?

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  97. Jeff, part of what lies behind that tension is the assumption that the laws of man and the law of God should (ahem) marry up. Which is what should make two married men divorcing as troublesome as them marrying. My guess is that some who don’t want to see them married have less problem with them divorcing, but if the issue is what God intends for marriage then it’s more than one man and one woman. It’s also perpetuity.

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  98. @ Zrim: *rimshot*

    But seriously, even if I acknowledge that Caesar has jurisdiction over the laws of civil society, I’m still stuck puzzling over the striking language of 24.4.

    Put this another way. Today I heard about the government of 18th c Williamsburg. A distinction was made between “rights” – God-given, inalienable – and “privileges”, which were state-given. The one owes to natural law, the other to society.

    I read 24.4 as saying that natural law governs here and cannot be altered. I haven’t yet heard you wrestle with that.

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  99. The church is not first and foremost about the welfare of children outside its pale; it has more compelling principles in this situation. For example, the church is interested in the recovery of the gay who is leaving the gay relationship – it would be unwise in the extreme to tell him to remain married for just this reason. It would also be harmful for the witness of the church to the world to have a member remaining in a gay marriage. Then, for those in the church, the presence of that marriage in their midst would tend to blur lines of what is and is not acceptable, possibly encouraging others to enter into that relationship.

    As for the marriage itself, any vows were unlawful when made hence not binding. The fact the the magistrate countenances the status is hardly relevant to the concerns of the church.

    Now getting back to the child, how healthy is that household going to be with a Christian gay man who has decided to be celibate and a non-Christian spouse who would rather he continue to be sexually active? It’s a miscalculation at best to think that the above principles should be sacrificed for the sake of giving the child an intact household that would so predictably be in turmoil as well as continuing to imprint that household on the psyche of the child.

    When I say “what am I missing?” I’m serious. There are voices here I respect but this doesn’t look that difficult. A church that counsels a recent gay convert to remain in his marriage would be subject to a judicial complaint, and that complaint would rightfully be sustained.

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  100. Jeff,
    Unless you are advocating a theocracy, then the laws for society will be different than the laws for being in good standing in the Church.

    And yes, degree makes a difference in terms of our reactions. We’ve reacted as if the worst sexual sin between two consenting adults one can commit is homosexual sin. Note that Paul reacts even more strongly to the sin in I Cor 5. In addition, the man is released into society without Church protection, does that tell you how Paul regarded society?

    Those who have tried to get society to act as supplementary arm of Church discipline often reflect the worst aspects of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit. Calvin’s persecution of heretics and witches in Geneva as well as Luther’s persecution of the Jews serve as two reminders. And state churches often persecuted other denominations.

    Society is for those in the Church to live with those in society. Those in the Church preach God’s law as a way to show one’s need for forgiveness. Should society use all of God’s law to punish its nonbelieving members?

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  101. Jeff, I read it the same way. But while natural law cannot be altered per se, and while it’s also true that men can get some aspects wrong as they seek to embody it legally (between same sexes), they do get other aspects right (it’s lifelong). Is it really the case that some aspects are so vital (must be hetero) that others may be neglected (dissolved if homo)?

    MG, not so much a counsel to remain married as what’s the biblical support to counsel divorce? Maybe the counsel is that life is hard, especially for converts in certain circumstances where neither the marriage nor divorce can be affirmed.

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  102. Curt: “the degree makes a difference in terms of our reactions. We’ve reacted as if the worst sexual sin between two consenting adults one can commit is homosexual sin.”

    Who is “we”? You seem to be talking to someone else.

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  103. Z, repent. Flee from temptation. That kind of thing.

    Then, from a different angle, “The purpose of judicial discipline is to vindicate the honor of Christ, to promote the purity of his church, and to reclaim the offender.” Those three goals – which should be desired by members – are served by the divorce.

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  104. @ Zrim:

    So how would you proceed in the case of two first cousins who married in some country where that is legal, then moved to Grand Rapids and went to your URC church?

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  105. One other item to consider is what’s best for a child?

    You mean like “Who really cares . . . about the children?”
    Marvin Gaye, who was shot by his dad?

    Seriously Nate, good point.
    One they should have never been dragged into the situation.
    As in their rights are being violated/discriminated against big time.
    Check out this guy who along with a few other “children” of homosexual “marriages”, is filing a amicus brief with the the Supreme Court.
    http://englishmanif.blogspot.com/2015/04/history-has-been-made.html

    SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT (from the pdf linked)
    The legalization of gay marriage may come from a sincere desire to offer equal protections to same-sex couples and their families. Yet in truth the effect of legalizing gay marriage is discriminatory[horrors] against two groups: (1) children of gays (or “COGs”) who will turn into a suspect class as a practical result of legalized gay marriage, and (2) women. For this reason, the Court should treat the legalization of same-sex marriage as the legalization of discrimination [no kidding]. The Court should refer to the Fourteenth Amendment clause about equal protection of the laws, in order to uphold laws that define marriage as only male-female. In upholding such laws the Court would ensure that citizens with gay parents have equal protection both as minors and as adults, and that such citizens will not be estranged from their father or mother without due process. The Court would likewise ensure that women are given equal protection against the loss of kinship ties to their biological children.

    Nailed, countersunk and clinched in the real world.
    In La La Land, definitely a hater and a homophobe that needs to be sent to a re-education camp.
    Betcha don’t see any of this reported in the real news.

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  106. Yes, I agree, which is how we usually handle the polygamy issue, but it would be interesting to hear the reasoning of those who would counsel for divorce because they put gay marriage in a much different category from polygamous marriage.

    Snicker. This one is a no brainer even for the likes of Bubba.
    As in ya can’t get divorced if ya never been married. Duh.

    I know. There’s fifty shades of grey to the nuanced question and there’ll be coffee and non fat doughnuts in the lobby after the grad school panel discussion adjourns for all those who didn’t get their non fat yogurt for breakfast.

    There are voices here I respect but this doesn’t look that difficult.

    Bubba agrees, except in respect to the respect part. It’s definitely getting less and less.
    Why, it might even be minute.
    What are you guys going to do when somebody wants to marry their invisible friend, Harvey the Rabbit?

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  107. Muddy,

    I don’t see how the same-sex marriage is any less legitimate than an improper remarriage following divorce. I’ve never heard of OPC and PCA churches asking people to terminate the improper second marriage and to seek to be reconciled with one’s first spouse.

    Further, the early church had vowed same-sex relationships. Those relationships just didn’t include sexual relations. Most gay couples I know, at least in the white-collar professional world, have fairly prosaic relationships. Sex is no more central to their relationships than it is for similarly situated opposite-sex couples. If a church believes that gay sex is a sin, I don’t see why the church wouldn’t just ask that the couple refrain from sexual relations. After all, there are plenty of opposite-sex couples who don’t engage in sex for certain reasons, usually medical or psychological. Regardless of what CBMW and the Baylys say, the church has never viewed sex as the sine qua non of marriage.

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  108. The problem is that the church cannot recognize something in reality that God doesn’t recognize. There’s just no biblical category for a marriage that is not male plus female. In the case of an improper remarriage following divorce, you have a sinful marriage that repentance could address. That’s why (one reason anyway) that repentance in such cases does not require a divorce.

    IOW, with an improper heterosexual remarriage, you still have a relationship that ontologically speaking could classify as marriage. With a homosexual “marriage” you don’t have that. You have the state playing pretend.

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  109. Bobby, more or less what Robert said. Simply using the word “marriage” does not make it analogous to other marriages in the church.

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  110. @ Muddy:

    If I understand your scenario, we have two gay partners declared by the state to be married, who have adopted children, and now one comes to faith. Is that correct?

    Assuming so, a couple of points.

    (1) The children are not “outside the pale” but are covenant children like any other children of one Christian parent. 1Cor 7.
    (2) If the church were to ask the couple to dissolve the relationship, they would be asking for an *annullment*, not a divorce.
    (3) Is an annullment the best choice here?

    It’s not obvious either way. On the one hand, you point out the confusing impact of letting the legal relationship stand. But I wonder about that. It’s not a sin to have a piece of paper from the state saying “you are married.” And if that piece of paper has implications for your kids — health insurance — then it’s not a sin to keep it, is it?

    The sin comes in the sexual activity. That’s why Todd’s solution seems attractive.

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  111. Jeff, the burden is yours to show that 1 Corinthians 7 applies. Here it seems that the word “marriage” has profound implications in your estimation.

    But then you say “It’s not a sin to have a piece of paper from the state saying ‘you are married.'” Here you treat the marriage as if it means very little – just a piece of paper.

    So perhaps the first thing to straighten out is whether it is a profound relationship with the same implications as a hetero marriage or whether it’s just a piece of paper.

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  112. @ Muddy: there’s two separate issues here: the status of the “marriage”, which I have argued above is a legal fiction.

    Then there’s the status of the adopted children, which is unrelated to that question. Children if believers are federally holy, irrespective of marital status.

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  113. @ Curt: If you think someone is engaged in that practice, then you can engage with questions to determine whether your assumption is correct.

    That’s the way you would want to be treated, yes?

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  114. So, Jeff, do I correctly read that your approach is centered on the welfare of the children of the gay marriage?

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  115. Jeff, if the marriage is an ontological and legal fiction how do we ever get to the point of regarding covenantal status of the children?

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  116. Jeff, it still seems like we’re bypassing the reality or in this case the unreality of the marriage to address the covenantal status of the children. 1 cor. 7 still seems to orient around the sanctity-legitimacy of the marriage, first, as precursor to the covenantal status of the child.

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  117. Adoption does not assume a particular marital relationship. Unwed couples, singles can all adopt.

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  118. Sorry, our responses crossed. I read Paul in the opposite way. He argues from the known fact of the holiness of the children as the ground for the argument that the spouse is sanctified.

    In cases where there is no spouse, and there are many of those, the children are still holy.

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  119. Jeff, adoption may not but covenantal status does. And in this case, we’re dealing with a particular marriage relationship and whether it attains a legitimacy that has recourse to the children

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  120. Jeff Cagle:“ It’s not a sin to have a piece of paper from the state saying “you are married.” And if that piece of paper has implications for your kids — health insurance — then it’s not a sin to keep it, is it? The sin comes in the sexual activity. “

    sin is from the heart ..
    we are to sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts,with an undivided heart, honoring Him as God there

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  121. Curt Day: “the man is released into society, does that tell you how Paul regarded society?

    the release is to worse: 1 Cor 5:5, 1 Tim 1:20

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  122. MG, yes, I get it. But I’m not so sure it’s that simple. If divorce is what finally satisfies, then like Todd suggests, it’s usually a matter of time before the unbelieving spouse seeks it anyway.

    Jeff, some holes in that hypothetical. Is it that they were unbelievers over there, got married, then converted and moved here? If so, then membership is withheld until further sorted out, which brings me back to Darryl’s point about current mission field policies on polygamy.

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  123. I know, Z, it’s a pretty unlikely scenario. I’m just trying to decide if, as a hypothetical, it’s useful for clarifying underlying issues. Not sure yet.

    At this juncture is looks to me like Jeff’s analysis is all about what’s best for the child. I’m not convinced that’s the most important element.

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  124. @ Zrim: I was following Muddy’s hypothetical. I think the brother/sister hypothetical is a better match because it fits within 24.4, where polygamy does not.

    @ Muddy: “Centered” is not exactly how I would put it. We’re trying to work through a solution in a situation where civil law and natural law conflict. So the welfare of children is not a controlling factor, but an important one. The controlling factor is being faithful to the Word, including norms of marriage, norms about covenant children, and (yes, Curt) norms about loving one’s neighbor.

    @ Sean: were not half of Jacob’s covenant children born outside of legitimate marriage?

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  125. Jeff, it seems that the circumstances most favorable to your position would be a situation in which there would be separation but maintenance of the married status for the sake of say, health insurance or some other favorable attachment to the marriage status. But, then, that’s somewhat of a scam, isn’t it? The idea seems to be that there are beneficial legal repercussions of two people fundamentally (gay fundies?) sharing their lives. And the fact that there are sham hetero marriages doesn’t help.

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  126. Jeff, anyone, what are the policies(membership) toward children in polygamous arrangements? Not that that would necessarily address the gay marriage opportunity but I’m simply unfamiliar with how that is currently handled. And don’t we see a tolerance for polygamous opportunities that is clarified and narrowed down in NT application, even reaffirming of original (creational) intent? There is also aspects of sacramental soteriology, and visible/invisible distinctions that need to be unpacked. For my part I’m inquiring as much as fleshing out implications as I have time.

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  127. Jeff, ok, but my point remains. If you want to maintain a rather extraordinary hypothetical then perhaps all we can say is that 1) we don’t affirm certain marital arrangements and 2) we don’t counsel for divorce.

    But for kicks, let’s say they also refuse to baptize their kids.

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  128. @ Muddy: I hear your plea, what is the alternative? To encourage dissolution of the relationship?

    In states that allow gay marriage, an annulment will not be granted.

    http://m.peoples-law.org/annulment

    So civilly, dissolution would mean obtaining a divorce.

    But that would entail submitting to the judgment that there was a marriage to begin with. The state giveth, the state taketh away. So we’ve failed to uphold the marriage norm.

    Then we as a church have encouraged a divorce, which we said was unnecessary and yet we seem to need.

    And that’s before we ever get to the children, if any.

    So maybe I’m missing something, like a third option, but the divorce option seems to cede the ground we want to claim.

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  129. Jeff,

    “that would entail submitting to the judgment that there was a marriage to begin with. The state giveth, the state taketh away. So we’ve failed to uphold the marriage norm.”

    I don’t think the church needs to be that fastidious about theory. The man would have ongoing legal entanglement consistent with a status of which he is repenting. That entanglement and what it symbolically says to others should be terminated. No metaphysical statements are being made.

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  130. But that would entail submitting to the judgment that there was a marriage to begin with. The state giveth, the state taketh away. So we’ve failed to uphold the marriage norm.

    Then we as a church have encouraged a divorce, which we said was unnecessary and yet we seem to need.

    And that’s before we ever get to the children, if any.

    One, it’s not a marriage, so we/the church haven’t failed to uphold anything, besides reality.
    If it has, then homosexual marriages really are valid, only this one wasn’t working out. So divorce was the solution. Not.

    Two, you can’t get divorced if you have never been married. If I remember correctly, Jeff, you just told Curt you weren’t a nominalist. You need to repent of that, if you are going to go down this dead end.

    Three, children? Homosexual/faux marriages are categorically barren.
    One has to go outside of the relationship to get children.

    Frankly, at this point, it should be the least of anybody’s worries and it really has nothing to do with the real question. Yeah, somebody will get custody, but what’s wrong with their other real parent or the adoption agency, if they were adopted to begin with if push comes to shove? Because a homosexual relationship is not the same thing as a polygamous, which at least is between the requisite complementary genders.

    So maybe I’m missing something, like a third option, but the divorce option seems to cede the ground we want to claim.

    (Come on Jeff. Did somebody – I won’t say who – hack your email account and post under your name?)
    No, it’s already been ceded if you think people who are not married either need or can get divorced.
    Sorry, it’s that simple.

    (Man, there’s OldLife, ScoldLife and . . . not sure what this is. But we sure are scraping the bottom of the barrel.)

    cheers

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  131. Why the ending comments in the original post? Since when is it a sin for a cohabiting couple to get married? An engaged couple who are not ‘victorious’? Are we now to refuse to marry couples where one or both are not virgins? Better to leave them in sin, and without the sanctifying effects of sacrificing for another every day? If it is sinful for them to get married then your parallel structure would hold. But it isn’t sinful, and the argument fails. Which raises the question of why it was even in the post.

    Speaking of which, if we are not to transform society, are to bow to the state and accept all possible work that comes our way, yet are are not free to sin by participating in the sin-of-the-week that currently is the selected card in the cultural trump suit, then logically we should all retreat into assembly line and construction jobs where we can stifle our creative and celebratory impulses, punch the time-clocks, and tally our ‘hours worked without sinning’ points during evening prayers, Sunday morning, and at a mid-week service for the over-achievers. Oh yes, off-grid isolated homestead agriculture and hunting for illegal game are always there as a backup option.

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  132. Bob,

    Please give a second look.. I was arguing against the divorce option for precisely the reason you stated: no marriage, no divorce.

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  133. Darryl, yes I do work with sinners, exclusively in fact. And am thankful God brings them to me. But I don’t do sinful business with them. And in no way am I singling out homosexual sin as I wouldn’t work for any person or company that had an end goal that violated God’s Law. Hetero, homo, or any other sexual or non-sexual sin. I quit working for government agencies 20 years ago for this very reason, and have turned down a number of other private sector projects over the years also.

    So, back to you, why do you assume I am singling them out?

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  134. Darryl, no I don’t single out sexual sin, as I explicitly included non-sexual sin in my statement.

    Again, back to you, why do you say I am singling out sexual sin? And why did you say in your previous post that I single out homosexual sin?

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  135. Jeff, looked again and am still confused as to what you are saying ultimately.

    That the state in some states recognizes an oxymoron/legal fiction does not mean the natural law is overturned or there aren’t some complications that would result from a conversion, so we should make it easy. Butterfield said getting converted was like being in a trainwreck.

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  136. DG, as re. singling out sin/sinners, can we distinguish please.

    While it is lawful for all kinds of sinners to marry, it is not lawful to call any or all kinds of relationships a marriage and throw a tantrum if the florist, baker and photographer don’t agree. We know this from nature.

    Or is only halal butchers that get to turn down business from the sinners cannibals?

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  137. bubass, “it is not lawful to call any or all kinds of relationships a marriage.” Oh yeah? Where does the Bible say that? Or, the U.S. is not a legitimate government if it calls gay couples married? Imagine how illegitimate the Roman empire was in Jesus’ day. Did Paul call it illegitimate?

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  138. I’m with Darryl so far on this. Much of this seems to be an objection to the term “marriage” used in this situation. I get that, it is an oxymoron according to natural law. But at the least there is a legal, social contract two people have entered into to take care of each other, share assets, etc. and more legal vows if they have adopted a child. I don’t see how we can simply act like those contracts are invalid because we do not agree with them on religious grounds. So if two lesbians make these legal vows, and they are converted after many years of legal marriage, the church must insist they not fulfill their vows, even if they agree not to engage in sexual sin, even if they want to fulfill the other aspects of their vows? I still don’t see it, and have not seen any Scripture that yet convinces me they would need to legally divorce or give up raising the child together to be faithful believers. Muddy, as to your concern about avoiding temptation, that seems too subjective of an argument. Who’s to say they would not be just as tempted if they lived apart, given they would remain close friends and see each other regularly, unless you would now demand they cease their relationship on any level. But as you said, maybe I am missing something.

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  139. A couple things, Todd. First, you’ve changed the hypothetical. Second, it just looks like you’re so wrapped up in definitions & theory that you’re supposing some highly implausible things. For example:

    “as to your concern about avoiding temptation, that seems too subjective of an argument. Who’s to say they would not be just as tempted if they lived apart..”

    So, do you counsel dating couples that it’s fine to live together because the temptation to fornicate might be greater if they lived apart?

    Before you had mentioned a…

    “social contract two people have entered into to take care of each other, share assets, etc. and more legal vows if they have adopted a child. I don’t see how we can simply act like those contracts are invalid because we do not agree with them on religious grounds.”

    Defining it down into a social contract is side-stepping the patently obvious, that it was a relationship meant to mimic a valid marriage in which sexual relations are inherent. Can you find a hetero who thinks of their marriage as a contract to share assets and take care of each other without and sexual implications?

    Wouldn’t your treatment cause all kinds of havoc in the church? I don’t see the church being considered in your analysis at all.

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  140. Todd,

    But you are assuming that all vows are therefore lawful vows just because the state says they are lawful. If a person vowed to uphold Planned Parenthood and fight for the government funding of abortion and then was converted, is he required to uphold it? Were pagans who vowed allegiance to Caesar and vowed to worship him bound by that vow after conversion, let alone before it?

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  141. Darryl,

    Oh yeah? Where does the Bible say that?

    C’mon man, do we really have to argue that the Bible doesn’t think that marriage consist of anything other than a male-female relationship?

    Or, the U.S. is not a legitimate government if it calls gay couples married? Imagine how illegitimate the Roman empire was in Jesus’ day. Did Paul call it illegitimate?

    I don’t think anyone is making that argument. Is it not possible to have a legitimate government that makes illegitimate laws? I’m pretty sure that Paul would view as illegitimate a law prescribing the worship of the Caesar. John in the Apocalypse certainly thought so.

    I don’t see where such questions don’t lead to the conclusion that the government is right in whatever it does just simply by being the government. I’m pretty sure Daniel would disagree.

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  142. Muddy,

    “A couple things, Todd. First, you’ve changed the hypothetical.”

    Yes, but I am a assuming that would not change the general principles we are attempting to discern in this discussion.

    “So, do you counsel dating couples that it’s fine to live together because the temptation to fornicate might be greater if they lived apart?”

    Yeah, I thought of that. No, of course not, but it is not quite the same thing. But we are not talking about counsel, we are talking about requirements. The church may counsel many things, but must they require a divorce in that situation? That is my question.

    “Defining it down into a social contract is side-stepping the patently obvious, that it was a relationship meant to mimic a valid marriage in which sexual relations are inherent. Can you find a hetero who thinks of their marriage as a contract to share assets and take care of each other without and sexual implications?”

    Yes, couples beyond the ability to have sex age-wise, couples where one is a paraplegic, (there are examples in my family of this), and a few other examples I will not mention. These are rare and unusual circumstance, as would be our scenario.

    “Wouldn’t your treatment cause all kinds of havoc in the church? I don’t see the church being considered in your analysis at all.”

    Yes, it should be considered, but I’m not sure the reality of the church’s struggle with this requires a divorce.

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  143. “not seen any Scripture that yet convinces me they would need to legally divorce”

    Speaking of Sunday school (the other post), here is part of the lesson for this next week for elementary children:
    Circle the correct definition for the word “repent” Mark out the wrong definitions:
    -to say you’re sorry but not really mean it
    -tore peat everything someone else say
    -to turn or change from disobeying God to obeying Him
    -to start a project all over again

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  144. “But you are assuming that all vows are therefore lawful vows just because the state says they are lawful. If a person vowed to uphold Planned Parenthood and fight for the government funding of abortion and then was converted, is he required to uphold it? Were pagans who vowed allegiance to Caesar and vowed to worship him bound by that vow after conversion, let alone before it?”

    Robert,

    Good point, but I am not convinced that two converted gay people, minus the sex, who have entered into a contract to care for each other, etc. are automatically in sin if they fulfill their vows only because those two people happen to be gay. In other words, you seem to be saying that like your example above, every aspect of this civil union is sinful because they are gay, including any adoption vows, even if they are celibate. And yet we would allow a converted man with five wives to continue fulfilling his marriage vows to his wives even though polygamy is clearly against natural law and God’s purpose for marriage. So I still am not seeing the requirement for legal divorce only when it concerns homosexuals.

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  145. Ha, funny Andrew…. that thought would make another good SS question… Does a person need to repent to God for the error of a typo…. what things does a person need to repent of.

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  146. Todd,

    I actually don’t know if I’m advocating for a legal divorce because that would also give credence to the state’s definition of marriage.

    The problem, of course, is that the sexual relationship is assumed in the vows even on a civil level, so how could a celibate homosexual couple be faithful to the vows?

    I don’t know the answer for dealing with all the legalities. What I do know is that the church can’t pretend that they are still married. In my eyes, the assumption that the couple would be bound to honor their vows assumes that they are still married.

    Maybe the solution is for the couple to live apart even if they are celibate in order to be above reproach and then to ignore their marriage licenses from the state. Of course, that could cause problems if one or both want to later enter into a lawful heterosexual marriage. Maybe in such cases a divorce would be called for.

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  147. Todd,

    I’d also add that homosexuality is contrary to natural law in a way that polygamy is not. Neither is God’s purpose for humanity, but polygamy is treated differently in Scripture than homosexuality. Its not a violation of nature or even special revelation in the same way that homosexuality is.

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  148. Jeff and Zrim,

    To add to all of the confusion, you need to consider the unintended consequences of “stay legally married” or “pursue civil divorce.” What if the homosexual man repents of his sin and finds a woman and desires to marry her?

    Civilly he is married already. He’d have to file for divorce in order to marry this woman civilly. Do you encourage him to stay married civilly to the man, but be romantically involved with this woman in a “religious” marriage? Do you explain to him that his civil marriage to the man precludes him from marrying the woman?

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  149. I don’t see where such questions don’t lead to the conclusion that the government is right in whatever it does just simply by being the government. I’m pretty sure Daniel would disagree.

    Robert, I don’t think that is the point. The point is actually to push back against those who don’t like what the government does and thereby, through lots of chest thumping and self-righteousness, undermine it and even inspire disobedience. None of that is biblical or confessional, which is the irony in all of the pleas to embody what is biblical. Think Joseph.A believer becomes the pagan king’s #2 by undermining him. Do the chest thumpers mean to say Joseph was a sell out (the way they do 2kers)?

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  150. Brandon, for me (who’s mostly with Todd here), I still haven’t seen a biblical case made for counseling divorce, even of an intrinsically sinful marriage.

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  151. Zrim,

    A few things:

    1. If your operating assumption is that marriage in the civil sphere is governed exclusively by the state, then what if the state provided marriages licenses to incestuous relationships, polyamorous relationships, or even marriages to animals? Would you consider any or all of these things “marriages” because the state sanctioned them as such?

    2. Do you believe that any canonical writer would entertain the notion that same-sex unions ought to be considered “marriages”?

    3. If you are in a civil homosexual marriage, are you consigned to a life of celibacy except biblical provisions for divorce?

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  152. Brandon,

    Those are helpful questions. As I stated when I asked this originally, I am still not sure of the right answer in all this, (and I’m pretty sure I will never have to deal with this in my lifetime), but I was seeking Biblical affirmation for a position that required legal divorce. No one has suggested we must require them to stay together, there would certainly in my mind be grounds for divorce, I was only asking about the couple who desired to remain together celibate. So even if we do not accept the validity of the marriage, legally there would be a divorce. Now, if we compare homosexual relationships to the other scenarios you mention above then it makes sense for the church to say there are no legitimate vows to fulfill, so do not even act married. I’m wondering if the same principle would apply to civil same sex unions for a celibate gay couple who do not claim the term, “marriage.” Would they also be required to break the contract? That’s my three for the day.

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  153. Darryl, I don’t profane the Lord’s day with them, nor do I murder with them. Do you not make a distinction between who they are, sinners like all mankind, and what they do, which is lawful or unlawful? Is there some fundamental principle here that you are assuming that makes this distinction invalid?

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  154. a., don’t waste one of your daily three on me (emoticon). Ask Greg the Cookie Monster about his mad skills in rationing his comments. I’m just here to watch the real theologians joust. I’ve got one more as do you, but I’m gonna make this a birdie and head on to the next hole. Oh, and don’t forget to do your devotions, amigo. Until tomorrow, Andrew

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  155. Darryl, (with your permission one extra)

    Yes, Chris, this is the way we should wrestle through the new ethical challenges our changing culture poses to the church. Let’s make sure no one dares to question the conventional wisdom, or asks for help to think these matters through, or dare ask for Scriptural justification for a stance. Let’s just label anyone who maybe is thinking differently, or even tries to work these matters out through public dialogue, as dangerous liberals. That is how we’ll settle these matters, through fear, intimidation and Internet accusations. How extremely sad.

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  156. Zrim,

    Robert, I don’t think that is the point. The point is actually to push back against those who don’t like what the government does and thereby, through lots of chest thumping and self-righteousness, undermine it and even inspire disobedience.

    I know that’s not Darryl’s point, but the fact that some of these issues are being considered the way they are betrays what seems to be more of a “I’m sick and tired of right-wingers coopting these issues for talking points so I’m going to go full speed the other direction” attitude than anything else.

    I’m not saying this is easy, but castigating people on the right for wanting to protect the consciences of others—however misinformed they might be—doesn’t seem right, even if the chest-thumpers are coopting these things.

    None of that is biblical or confessional, which is the irony in all of the pleas to embody what is biblical. Think Joseph.A believer becomes the pagan king’s #2 by undermining him. Do the chest thumpers mean to say Joseph was a sell out (the way they do 2kers)?

    I don’t know who the chest thumpers are. The Baylys? But I would have to add that if we are going to look to Scriptures for council on what to do here, we need to look at the most pertinent examples. Joseph was never asked, to my knowledge, to support the state in contravening natural revelation or worship pagan deities or something else. Others, such as Daniel, were. Was Daniel fomenting rebellion by NOT praying to the emperor? There’s no doubt that the episode is recorded in such a way to make Daniel somebody worthy of emulation.

    It’s just not as easy as saying Christ commands us to love our neighbors and Paul says obey the government, therefore, bake cakes for gay weddings. Maybe that’s not the argument that some of the people commenting here are making, but it sure comes across that way sometimes.

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  157. I’m trying to figure out where the common ground here is. I think we can all agree that

    (1) The situation is murky *because* civil law contradicts natural law.

    (2) This contradiction is not merely at the level of “ought” (as with polygamy), but at the level of “is.” This is not just “you should be able to marry more than one wife”, but “a legal contract between two men or two women *is* a marriage”, which is problematic for the same reason that “Caesar *is* lord” is problematic.

    From there, though, we seem to be crossed on several points.

    (3) Some seem to be arguing that if gays have adopted children, those children aren’t really children, or else aren’t really theirs.

    If that’s not the argument, some immediate clarification is needed.

    (4) And then we can’t seem to agree whether it would be better to stay civilly married (but celibate) or to civilly divorce.

    I would argue that neither option is fully ideal, but such is the hand we are dealt in these times. Erik in the linked article above sees Todd’s solution as the slippery slope towards validation of gay marriage.

    For my part, I see the encouragement of divorce as a slippery slope towards validation of divorce.

    It’s one thing to say, “The state says you are married, but since you are not, you are enjoined to act as if not.” That’s Todd’s solution.

    It’s another to say, “The state says you are married, and since you are not, you are enjoined to get a divorce.” Besides being self-contradictory, it also has the church directly affirming divorce as a remedy.

    And again, that’s not even to the level of considering the pragmatic consequences.

    So while I can see the thorns in Todd’s solution, it might be helpful for those arguing against him to own up to the thorns in their own solution.

    Here’s one: If the gay convert has a child — and there are several ways that this could come to be — then it is likely that a divorce court judge would hold that the other partner is a more fit parent, all things being equal. Is that a desired outcome?

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  158. Oh well, there’s goes my birdie score.

    Whatever anyone says, it sure is fun to play pretend theologian on the internet, imagining ourselves as commissioners/moderator of the OPC general assembly.

    Just sayin’

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  159. Jeff –

    “(3) Some seem to be arguing that if gays have adopted children, those children aren’t really children, or else aren’t really theirs.”

    Some might say that is not the most charitable construction of what “some” are saying. I Cor 7 is interesting but not exactly encyclopedic on what it means for children of that marriage to be holy. What does it mean that they are “holy?” Does it matter whether the child is being nurtured in the faith? Does it matter whether the child has been baptized? Does it matter whether the child is of a hetero marriage or adopted into a gay marriage? And, then, if that is satisfactorily answered in a way that supports your argument, does that supersede and overshadow all other considerations?

    “For my part, I see the encouragement of divorce as a slippery slope towards validation of divorce.”

    You want to say the marriage is a fiction but the divorce is so real and substantial that we must not encourage it? But here’s the form of your argument: “to encourage converts to leave the Masons is validation of vow-breaking.” Divorce is not an evil in the abstract; it is an evil when it severs what God had joined.

    For my part, I think the difference is that you and Todd are focused on the theory of what the gay marriage and divorce is. I am focusing on repentance and scandal in the church. I think Erik’s scripture citations are appropriate and weightier than sorting out your central questions.

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  160. Robert, in case you missed it, somewhere in this thread I made the point that Grandma Florist seems to be the protagonist to her gay antagonist who torpedoed an actual human relationship with her to score political points. So, no, the point isn’t some of what you suggest. So you have sympathies for the rightists. Fine, but some conservatives aren’t happy with how rightists have co-opted conservatism.

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  161. Jeff, Muddy, I am going to use tomorrow’s quota up now because I have too much else to do this week, so let me summarize.

    1. Jeff, you wrote, “Todd’s position.” I do not really have a position yet. A position is something you come to after much thought and research. I’m still in that process. I only first thought of the question the other day after something you wrote. I am leaning one way but this is all new, so wanted to weigh the different views.

    2. When I first raised the question, Darryl thought we would handle our scenario the way we handle polygamy on the mission field. I responded that that was my thought also.

    3. I don’t think slippery slope arguments apply either way here. I don’t think allowing divorce in this unique situation opens the door for divorce in general any more than allowing a repentant gay couple to remain married (celibate) opens the door for the church’s approval of gay marriage, any more than allowing polygamous marriages to continue post conversion leads to the church’s approval of polygamy. There is no evidence of that happening on the mission field for example, at least in our denomination. Slippery slope arguments in general are weak and can be used against anything.

    4. My question had to do with requirement. For me I would have no problem with a divorce in our scenarios, as long as it was desired by the Christian(s) in question, so I probably have less objections to this than you, Jeff, but I appreciate your viewpoint against divorce. But with Darryl, I am not yet convinced the church would be required to force a divorce given a desire to remain together celibate and raise an already adopted child. Again the chances of this happening are extremely unlikely, but if it did, I would not be ready at this point to force a Christian parent to give up certain custody rights for example.

    5. I know some of you think this is a no-brainer and it either is faithfulness to God or compromise, (and no one is arguing against the difficulty of discipleship so I am not sure how those Scriptures answer the question), but I wish life was that easy in the church that these dilemmas were no-brainers, but most of the ministers I know wrestle with situations which from the outside seem cut and dry but are not when dealing with real people. We see how the Lord responded to religious leaders who placed burdens on his people beyond the clear teaching of his word, so my session and I would need to be fully convinced from the Bible before making such a requirement. Fortunately I have a session and Presbytery willing to wrestle with difficult questions like this and search the Scriptures.

    6. I do not believe there are any good solutions in the sense that this would be quite a mess and there would be serious consequences with either decision, especially in the case of the child.

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  162. Jeff,

    #1 Agreed. I do wonder if we we’re seeing the implications of this similarly, but we can get to that later on.

    #2 Mostly agreed, though I’m not sure the analogy of Christ/Caesar is the best possible for this case. For our purposes right now though, it works.

    #3 It depends on what you mean. Legally, children belong to their legal guardian. That may be a biological parent or not, though naturally it defaults to the biological parents unless they are unable or unwilling. I’m willing to say an adoptive parent(s) is the legal guardian of the child.

    In terms of disagreement, I’m not sure why you say,

    For my part, I see the encouragement of divorce as a slippery slope towards validation of divorce.

    What sort of divorce are you speaking of? Of course, civilly there is a dissolution of a relationship and that is never an easy thing. If we agree on #2 though, this is not a *marriage* relationship so the dissolution of the relationship is not the same thing.

    If I may draw an analogy, taking your pet to be euthanized can be a gut-wrenching thing. It’s always sad when you lose a pet. But saying that euthanizing your dog may lead to an increase in human euthanizations is a non sequitir. In both cases something/someone is being euthanized (and it is incredibly painful), but the two actions have different moral significance. In the same way, ending the same sex union actually ends a civil contract, but it’s not the same thing as divorce because it wasn’t marriage.

    Your concluding hypothetical does bring this to the flesh and bones of the issue. I admit that the financial and familial consequences of a civil divorce could be devastating. I also concede that there may be situations in which civil divorce may be unnecessary in extenuating circumstances (one partner near death, etc). In other words, I think it would be imprudent to absolutize the dissolution of all civil same-sex contracts.

    At the same time, I wonder (and I do wonder, I’m not familiar with divorce law), how a divorce court would rule if a spouse refused to provide sexual interaction with their partner. There is no law mandating spouses sleep with one another, but I wonder if the religious objection to intercourse would place the convert in a disadvantageous legal position.

    I guess what I’m saying is that you may be able to think of a hypothetical where the dissolution of the marriage is not immediately necessary, but I think that it’s unrealistic to expect aversion of custody battles, legal problems, and personal turmoil by simply staying in the marriage and withholding sexual intimacy.

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  163. Divorce is not an evil in the abstract; it is an evil when it severs what God had joined.

    So, MG, can we say that since God could not have joined two men (or women) but only men could have done that, it therefore is not divorcing what God put together but what men did and it is thus kosher to demand it be undone since it is not conducive to a pious life?

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  164. Let me say that I’m not going all Henny Penny over the fact that we’re having this discussion. There will be a number of decisions that will be put in our laps that may be unprecedented – it’s good to explore the issues in theory right now. And I’m glad we have a place to do it.

    Z, unless there’s a tricky word(s) in there like “could not” I think that’s an accurate short statement.

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  165. JRC: (3) Some seem to be arguing that if gays have adopted children, those children aren’t really children, or else aren’t really theirs.

    MG: Some might say that is not the most charitable construction of what “some” are saying.

    That’s a fair cop, though I was not trying to be uncharitable so much as provoke a clarification. I apologize for putting you in a bad light, which wasn’t my intention.

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  166. MG: What does it mean that they are “holy?” Does it matter whether the child is being nurtured in the faith? Does it matter whether the child has been baptized? Does it matter whether the child is of a hetero marriage or adopted into a gay marriage?

    and

    Brandon: It depends on what you mean. Legally, children belong to their legal guardian. That may be a biological parent or not, though naturally it defaults to the biological parents unless they are unable or unwilling. I’m willing to say an adoptive parent(s) is the legal guardian of the child.

    So I would say that children — biological, adopted, conceived in vitro — fall under the federal headship of their acting parents, their legal guardians.

    * Being conceived out of wedlock is not an obstacle to being a covenant child (Ex.: Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher).
    * Being conceived by non-conventional means is not an obstacle (Ex.: Jesus was under Joseph’s headship while a child).
    * Being adopted rather than born into the covenant is not an obstacle (Ex.: Gentiles adopted into the covenant are equal partakers with believing Jews per Gal 3).

    You’re correct, MG, that 1 Cor 7 doesn’t tell us everything about covenant children. But it tells us enough so that we understand that children of one believing parent are holy. On that basis, we baptize them, not to make them holy but because they already are.

    Accordingly, in the hypothetical where one parent comes to faith, I would answer the questions:

    Does it matter whether the child is being nurtured in the faith?

    They should be, as any covenant children should be.

    Does it matter whether the child has been baptized?

    Ditto

    Does it matter whether the child is of a hetero marriage or adopted into a gay marriage?

    No.

    MG: Divorce is not an evil in the abstract; it is an evil when it severs what God had joined.

    That’s a good point. Would you agree that divorce would be a very disruptive force, whether for good or ill?

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  167. you are a real theologian Andrew, and your theology determines how you choose to life out your life here, and when you see Jesus, He will ask you your theology

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  168. “On that basis, we baptize them, not to make them holy but because they already are.”

    BTW, this verse has always been a bit vague to me so I’m exploring it regardless of our particular subject. With that in mind, what is “holy” in this context? Set apart? Set apart to be eligible to be baptized and set apart to be with God’s covenant people in the church? Or something else?

    And the child is holy regardless of whether the gay marriage survives, right?

    “Would you agree that divorce would be a very disruptive force, whether for good or ill?”

    It may not be. The disruption may have already come from the Christian conversion; Christ disrupts much. Repentance disrupts. If that is the case divorce may abate the disruption.

    But I do think I get your point – someone would be moving, legal ties of various kinds would be severed, and a child(ren) may be in a different looking household. But I find it hard to believe that everything would be hunky dory after a gay spouse converts such that the disruption of divorce is the biggest evil to be avoided.

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  169. Todd: . I don’t think allowing divorce in this unique situation opens the door for divorce in general any more than allowing a repentant gay couple to remain married (celibate) opens the door for the church’s approval of gay marriage, any more than allowing polygamous marriages to continue post conversion leads to the church’s approval of polygamy.

    Me(tremendous): That was the gist of the conversation I had last night with the wife. Emphasis on unique and situational. I got two bad choices, I’m likely going to head toward the one with the most structure and order and looking for a sunset provision(subsequent generations not following suit). This is good. This is tension. This is reminding of the dissonance of sin.

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  170. Jeff, Muddy, I keep wanting to round back to necessity of the sacrament and salvation being not so inexorably tied unto it’s practice/application. This is bringing to mind the sacramentalism that would’ve motivated the abducting of Edgardo Mortora. Then there’s issues of natural and sacred marriage as the RC distinguish them. Annulment would be helpful here.

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  171. Muddy, Jeff, Todd and others,

    Kudos. Comments open at its best.

    I will carry around these thoughts when or if I need to fly by the seat of my pants on gay marriage. (Is it wrong to pray that gay spouses with children won’t convert? That would be easier.)

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  172. Darryl, Where did I say gay marriage is “illegitimate”? Maybe you are confusing my comments with those by someone else. At this point you have not responded to what I have said, after four comments by me, and have both accused me of what is not true and attributed several things to me I have not said.

    I responded to your initial redirects clearly and without ambiguity and was hoping for the same.

    While your lack of interaction with what I have said does not disprove your argument, it suggests either that you are not able to defend it or that I don’t deserve an honest response.

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  173. Monte, now you say gay marriage is legitimate? I’m confused.

    Do you really think that after four comments here you are in a position to get huffy, especially when your first was not exactly clear.

    So you single out all sorts of sinner and don’t do business with them. Are you Amish?

    I don’t single out such sinners. Does that answer your question (as if you had to ask)?

    But while I have you, are you as agitated about the Super Bowl as about gay marriage?

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  174. Darryl, Look, squirrel!

    Amish? I knew isolationism was going to come up at some point. Jonah had it right I think, by running from Gods will because he knew God could save the pagans, that some would repent, and by doing so undermine his sense of nationalistic self-righteousness.

    Now that you have conceded that there is no distinction between sinners sinning and not-sinning we can move on. Thanks for the thoughtful conversation.

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  175. “Muddy, Jeff, Todd and others,
    Kudos. Comments open at its best.”

    Thanks Darryl, but I guess we brought down an entire denomination by raising the hypothetical on a blog. I didn’t know we had such power. I was told D.J. Kennedy used to step out of session meetings when VP Quayle wanted to speak with him on the phone. Kennedy’s got nothing on us.

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  176. Andrew, you are so right. The Internet gives the illusion of importance but blogs are just fun. Jordan may beat Tiger’s record. Tomorrow should be interesting.

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  177. It’s the guys that take this to seriously and lose their cool that provide the entertainment value. Darryl’s a master at ring ’em up and provoking. Reminds me of how I provoked my older sibling growing up. God be with you and your ministry. Spieth is 21 for goodness sake! I won’t let it ruin my sabbath rest. Grace and peace [3] (ps good comments here!)

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  178. bubass, “it is not lawful to call any or all kinds of relationships a marriage.” Oh yeah? Where does the Bible say that?

    yo, hurt you need two lern how to spel. Don’t know if it is biblical, but the OPC affirms the following from WCF, Chap.24 Of Marriage and Divorce:

    3. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent. Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord. And therefore such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.

    4. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden by the Word. Nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife.

    And the G&N consequences for ssm, if incestuous marriages can never be made lawful whatever the Supreme Court says? Don’t keep us dumb asses waiting.

    Or, the U.S. is not a legitimate government if it calls gay couples married? Imagine how illegitimate the Roman empire was in Jesus’ day. Did Paul call it illegitimate?

    Distinguish. A legitimate govt. can make the wrong decisions according to the constitution, never mind the natural law. Two, it didn’t even enter Paul’s mind per se.1 Cor. 5:1
    When it did, it wasn’t marriage Rom 1:26,27.

    But to top it off, Van Drunen tells us in his latest on natural law, Divine Covenants and Moral Order that NL goes hand in hand with 2 kingdom theology (p.490 n.6.)
    But that’s not what we are hearing here at ScoldLife.
    Wonder why.
    cheers

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  179. From the OPC Larger Catechism:

    Q. 99. What rules are to be observed for the right understanding of the Ten Commandments?
    A. For the right understanding of the Ten Commandments, these rules are to be observed:
    . . .
    7. That what is forbidden or commanded to ourselves, we are bound, according to our places, to endeavor that it may be avoided or performed by others, according to the duty of their places.

    So the take away is . . . . better get cracking?
    Because Adam and Steve are counting on you to have their wedding dresses altered in time for their big day?

    Gotta love our reformed CogElite.
    They never let us down on the big questions when it comes to moral casuistry.
    (Bryan, is that really you lurking behind DGWired’s avatar?)

    cheers

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  180. Umm, lemme guess.
    The confession is the law of the OPC.
    And it sounds like the RFPA or whatever protects OPCers who act on their belief, so what’s the beef at ScoldLife?
    Or are we just bitching cause we’re diehardwired contrarian?
    cheers

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  181. The hypothetical question we briefly considered last week on recognizing civil law and gay marriage finds antecedents in very real questions the church has wrestled with, especially concerning slavery in the 19th century. Since many Christian believed the entire institution of slavery was unbiblical and against natural law, they also believed that Christians were not bound to recognize any laws approving of slavery, whether the Dred Scot decision, the Fugitive State laws, etc. Others suggested that while slavery is a moral evil, we cannot simply ignore the laws of the land and encourage slaves to leave and break the law.

    Though it is always easy to look back and say what they all should have done, it was a complicated question. Charles Hodge wrote his Conscience and Constitution on this topic. Hodge wrote, “What is the duty of private citizens….when the civil law either forbids them to do what God commands, or commands them to do what God forbids? We answer, their duty is not obedience, but submission.” One writer summarizes Hodge’s view; “The basic principles of non-radicalism and accepting the social forms and structures of the day as instituted and designed by God, were to be received with all their particularities both good and bad.”

    In essence we are raising a similar type question. Since most of us are in agreement that homosexual sexual relations are sinful, but now that gays are allowed to marry, what aspects of their legal contract outside of sex are we allowed to ignore and refuse to recognize? All of it? Some of it? Again, the custody issue comes into play. If two gay men or women legally adopt a child, in what sense do we recognize them as a legal family? If one becomes a Christian and agrees to celibacy, are there any aspects of the legal contract with partner or child that can be honored, or is it entirely invalid, including the adoption?

    In the same way Christians back then asked, what if a slave owner treated his slaves well, should that slave owner still be ex-communicated or withheld church membership for participating in an immoral activity such as human slavery? Hodge would not have gone that far, many Christians did. Unfortunately the heat generated from these difficult questions divided the Presbyterian Church, with many denunciations from both sides, the kinds of things you see on the Internet today when similar questions are raised.

    The greatest difference between the two may be the probability. The slave question was a very real question that involved thousands of people. But since about 1.5% of the population is gay, and about 1% of them are marrying, and let’s guess that 1% of married gays them will become believers, and maybe 1% of them would want to remain in a celibate marriage, we are probably only dealing in hypotheticals on this one.

    But as our culture continues to change we will be challenged with similar questions on the relationship between natural law, civil law, church membership, etc.

    The best way to deal with these questions is through open discussion, healthy, respectful but rigorous debate, looking for guidance from the past, and searching the Scriptures as our final authority. Things rarely go south (pardon the pun) when the church responds this way.

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  182. I see that relentless blogger Erik Charter continues his heroic quest to scour my past teachings and uncover my closet liberalism to slander my name in public. If for nothing else than to protect my session, church members and Presbytery from a bad report of their pastor, as well then of their own judgment and commitment to the Scriptures, here are my views that I teach or hold, views that everyone who knows me are familiar with, that have either been exaggerated and misrepresented by others, or communicated poorly by me in online discussions with theonomists over the years, (for what it’s worth.)

    1. I teach that both homosexual sexual relations and passions (per Rom. 1) are sinful, and no practicing homosexual will inherit the kingdom of God.

    2. I do not believe that conversion normally takes away one’s sexual orientation. Not that the Lord cannot do it, but by the testimony of hundreds of Christians who struggle with same-sex attraction it seems to continue until glory. Thus if you are familiar with the debate, I do not believe in side A Christians, but that God calls for (side B), gay Christians, for lack of a better term, to remain celibate.

    3. For both natural law and political libertarian reasons I am against the state’s decision to legalize gay marriage.

    4. Not being a theonomist, I do not believe the Bible should be the guidebook for our civil laws. So a Christian magistrate is not required to enforce Biblical morality on an unwilling populace. However, I am fine with moral, enforced community standards as long as that is what the majority wanted, in other words laws that arise from the ground up. So for sexual sins, such as sodomy, bestiality, adultery, etc. if the majority in any given municipality desired those standards enforced, then the minority should either submit to those laws or be free to move somewhere else. That would be my ideal as a political libertarian. The point I tried to make in an on-line discussion, which I stated quickly and thus poorly, was that if a Christian, through fear of oppressive government, argued against those ordinances listed above, he would not necessarily be subject to church discipline simply because he did not trust government to enforce such sexual morality.

    5. Now that homosexual marriage is legal, I am not sure of which aspects of that legal contract would be invalid if one or both became a believer, especially concerning adopted children, but have no firm position yet because it is such a new phenomenon.

    6. I have no interest in convincing anyone of anything, or changing any denominational policy. I have not been to a GA in over 12 years and I’m pretty much a loner out here in a place most people still do not believe exists within the United States, yet I do enjoy the occasional blog debate.

    7. I am a basic Calvinist, Presbyterian, law-gospel, two-kingdom, simple worship guy who happens to be a political libertarian, a Mavs fan and a golfer. Though my judgment is questionable because I still believe the Mavs can take the Spurs in 7 this year.

    8. I do not beat my wife.

    9. I was not born in Kenya

    10. I was not behind 9-11

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  183. Todd, the whole list is pretty turrible but #7 is the loser(just picture the whole, thumb, index finger, forehead salute) deal clincher from beg to end. And because that is so, I can’t believe you on 8-10. Guilty. Next.

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  184. Dr. Bordow,

    I don’t know – these blogs still all seem just like a game (of golf?) to me.

    When I discuss out here, I imagine they are all imaginary people behind computer screens. I mean, who’s to say the same person isn’t just posting comments as different people?

    That’s why I try to get people to talk about things in their real life. Like golf for example.

    It’s hard for me to spill a lot of electronic ink over these blogs, is what I am trying to say. It looks to me like a lot of people bored while at work. Or as the washington post put it:

    [The rhetoric of the rant] is the dominant form of public comment on the Internet, where the pithy, personal, scatological attack has become a minor art form, rather like sculpting in excrement.”

    Who’s next?

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  185. Andrew,

    That was a great article, so true. No skin off my back, but I always wonder about my congregants stumbling upon these self-appointed Internet guardians of truth and being confused. Usually they laugh if they already know me. I love the commonly used scare tactics of connecting me with Lee and Misty Irons, though I was probably the first one to disagree with Misty’s take on the case for same sex unions way back when. They’ve been my friends for almost 25 years and are wonderful Christian people. If I had half the brain power of Lee and half the compassion Misty has demonstrated to the homosexual community I would consider myself blessed. So I would rather be asked to leave a denomination than deny or back away from my friends out of fear. Hey, I get enough flack for liking Darryl Hart’s viewpoints, which in some circles is anathema enough.

    On another note, I was explaining to my wife the other day the challenge of golf, me against the course, and when I was finished she said it sounded downright poetic. Thought of you also.

    Sean, don’t forget, last year, only team to really challenge the Spurs. Just believe baby!

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  186. But, Todd, you also defend public schools–why do hate Christian kids so much?

    But seriously, you also oppose weekly communion. Arguably more important than speculating on what to do with situations highly unlikely to actually come about in our lifetimes, I can’t imagine as an advocate of frequency raising the discussion to such high strung levels.

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  187. Zrim,

    To be fair, I don’t hate all Christian kids, just everybody’s but my own. And now that I have grandchildren, I’m pretty sure there are only two babies in the world.

    Seriously though, I don’t necessarily oppose weekly communion as much as I oppose thinking it is biblically required or necessary. I’m still thinking it through though as I seem to be the only Klinean who is not weekly, so wonder at times what I am missing. Ask me in two years.

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  188. AB – …sculpting in excrement…

    That captures the essence of so many blog comments very well!

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  189. Spurs—Warriors in the “real final”.

    How smart can Rondo be? He went to Kentucky.

    Rick Carlisle, on the other hand, the University of Virginia…..

    home of Jack Miller, before he went left

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  190. Spurs—Warriors in the “real final”.

    Heh… that’s about right assuming the Warriors can keep it together through the playoffs. The Spurs are surging at just the right time and it looks like Splitter will be back. I’m going to enjoy watching them plow through the west. It is a shame there aren’t any teams in the east that can put up a decent fight.

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  191. Todd, well in that case I don’t know who you’re opposing since I know of no frequent advocacy which asserts that, only that it’s a reasonable implication of what is confessed. Hope that helps speed the process up a bit. In the meantime, don’t let the Charters of the (blog) world get you down.

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  192. AB, It’s a trap! I was going to post that on EC’s blog when it looked like he was trying to work Greg up – thankfully Greg seemed to realize that was going on.

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  193. Zrim

    Thanks. If someone wants to paint me as pro gay marriage, whatever. But it’s the cyberstalking, within ten minutes of posting being quoted and attacked on a blog. A bit too creepy obsessive for me. I’ll check back when Mavs win opening series

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  194. Baking a wedding cake is not persecution but insisting on it is weird:

    As I’ve said before, I don’t think the issues in the wedding industry deserve the label “persecution” that some religious conservatives have slapped on them, and I don’t think the view taken by these florists/bakers/photographers is necessarily mandated by orthodox Christian belief. But it is my very strong impression that if a religious conservative (or anyone on the right) had said, back in 2004 or even into President Obama’s first term, that they accepted that marriage should be redefined nationwide to include same-sex couples, that they further accepted that this would happen swiftly through the courts rather than state-by-state and legislatively, and that all they asked of liberals was that this redefinition proceed in a way that allowed people like Barronelle Stutzman some wiggle room about whether their businesses or facilities had to be involved in the wedding ceremonies themselves — with the mechanism for opting out being something like the (then-still-bipartisan) RFRA model – this would have been treated as a very reasonable compromise proposal by a lot of people on the center-left, gay as well as straight. I cannot prove this absolutely, and I concede that there are lots of people on the left who wouldn’t have liked the deal. But the world of liberal opinion is a pretty familiar one to me, the world of the past isn’t that far past, and I think my assessment is basically correct.

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  195. I haven’t lost any sleep over gay cakes and gay pizza. I recently wrote an event insurance policy for the wedding of a male-female couple, so I’ve now asked myself if I would write the same for a male-male couple. I have to say that I would. Doing so condones nothing, it is simply good business and good neighborliness to help someone minimize their risk of financial ruin due to an accident. But given the area I live in it would probably be good for business if I refused and made a big stink about it. And maybe put one of those fish symbols on my sign.

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  196. Nobody loses any sleep over gay cakes or pizza, CDub and you know that.
    And of course anything that is good business is good business.
    (Gotta love the almighty dollar. It trumps all. What did Paul say? The love of money is the root of all godliness?)

    Neither is anybody making a big stink about it, but the left is dragging a bunch of evangelicals into the fray and the latter certainly don’t own the cultural bullhorn (MainlySmearjobMedia).

    Long story short, the cultural psyops and colossal fraud of ssm is one, against the natural law. Two, it fosters the growth of Leviathan.

    I mean, come on. The homosexuals are 1.5-3% of the population. What’s the real back story? Christian “persecution” of homosexuals? But not Muslim? (Been to Saudi Arabia or Iran lately?) Neither Rachel Maddow nor the Ed Show would ever think about asking a Muslim baker or butcher what they would think about catering a homosexual halal wedding. Big Brother is playing this for all he’s worth and the religious right and the contrarians are falling for it, hook, line and lead balloon.

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