What If?

What if same-sex marriage is not that big a deal?

What if same-sex marriage winds Christians up so that they play to the stereotype of cultural warriors and further their reputation for the last 30 years of playing lock step in culture-war partisan politics?

What if no gay couples will seek to be married in conservative Presbyterian churches because our facilities (at least in the OPC) are so unattractive that only church members hold weddings there?

What if same-sex marriage is a fad that will pass when people remember that in the Spring of 2015 Lebron James was doing something more important than a retired Decathlete?

What if Christians are showing the same level of discernment that they did about the sale and distribution of alcohol?

What if Americans realize that homosexuals are at most 3% of the population who gain more leverage when Christians antagonize homosexual advocates?

What if gays are like Shakers and cannot reproduce?

What if a pastor refuses to conduct a gay marriage and eventually goes to jail?

What if another pastor also winds up in jail?

What if another one does?

What about another?

What if Americans become agitated — as they are wont to do — about a kind of government that locks people up for holding the wrong ideas (the kind of government that some Christians sometimes want)?

What if Christians are not discerning about times?

And what if this is a much bigger story than same-sex marriage, that is, that young straight people in record numbers are not entering marriage?

The data, released by Gallup this week, show that the percentage of people between the ages of 18 and 29 who are married is definitely declining. In 2014, the most recent year available, just 16% were married, and 14% of young people were living with a partner. Meanwhile, a whopping 64% of respondents were single in 2014 and had never married. That number was even higher for men (68%) than for women (60%). “This means that not only are fewer young adults married, but also that fewer are in committed relationships,” the report concludes.

Furthermore, the number of singles has been steadily rising for the past decade: In 2005, it was at just 49% while 32% of people in that age group were married. Marriage rates for people in their 30s have also started a slow decline — just 56% of thirtysomethings were married in 2014. More are cohabitating than their twentysomething counterparts, though.

While these statistics can’t hope to reflect every relationship setup out there, they do fall in line with other recent findings: The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that over half of the U.S. is currently not married. (Incidentally, that’s about the ratio of people on Tinder who are actually single). A recent Pew report showed that the number of Americans over the age of 25 who have never been married is currently at its highest, as well. So, if you’re single right now, you’re definitely not alone.

What if gay people wanted credit for upholding an institution that heterosexual people are abandoning?

What would Christians say then?

What if I am not just asking?

Advertisements

415 thoughts on “What If?

  1. Cue TVD with a “gone gay” in mere moments. But don’t say gender issues are unimportant for the OPC, which just broke relations with the Reformed Church of Japan over the their ordination of wimmin.

    Like

  2. Cw l’u,

    I was pleased on how the #OPCGA handled itself this year, and regarding women, I think the right thing happened with regard to Valerie Hobbs.

    Praying for the general assembly of your church this week,

    Andrew

    Like

  3. What if those numbers are just showing a shift from getting married at 20, to a shift of getting married in the 30s?

    There was a time that British men waiting until approaching their 40s and married women in their late teens.

    Like

  4. So are you saying that gay marriage is a symptom of a deeper cultural abandonment of marriage? I’d buy that. I think it’s probably even more related to the cultural severing of sex and procreation.

    If marriage is nothing more than a formalized expression of love with legally binding consequences for leaving, why on earth would I want to involve myself in it? Is a messy divorce the pinnacle of personal fulfillment? But if it’s for the purpose of making and raising healthy offspring, thus contributing to an overall healthy society, then all the legal/covenantal stuff starts to make sense. But try preaching that in an evangelical megachurch and see how it plays.

    Like

  5. This is the key question:

    “What if Americans become agitated — as they are wont to do — about a kind of government that locks people up for holding the wrong ideas (the kind of government that some Christians sometimes want)?”

    The shift we are now seeing is the Republican Party abandoning the issue because they no longer see it as a winner (talk about lack of convictions other than $$$$).

    So if Christians are persecuted, will there be enough of them that anyone in power cares? People in power care when (1) You are a victim who is politically worthy – a homosexual, a transsexual, a racial minority (2) You have money and can fund their careers (3) There are enough of you that your vote counts.

    If the cultural and political consensus is that Christians are bigots who bring jail upon themselves, then help may not be forthcoming — from politicians or from the public at large.

    2K is not a protection here — If someone starts to tell the Church what to teach and what to believe — or else — they’re getting at the heart of what we do as Churches. Having one position in my public life and one position in my church life will no longer be an option. The opposition will not allow it.

    Plus, it wouldn’t just be the pastor in jail — it could be the layman out of work.

    Like

  6. The church’s position on shacking up will never be a political issue with legs because: (1) Those who shack up do not organize politically (2) do not command sympathy (3) have not been a persecuted minority, and (4) come from all races and classes.

    We can be “bigots” on that issue, but no one is passionate enough about it to care. Plus, most shacking up is only temporary anyway. Eventually the woman smartens up and stops giving it away for free.

    Like

  7. Good post, DGH.

    The Benedict Option might turn out all right but it’s more likely to produce the kind of inbreeding that slowly distorts nearly everyone in the community.

    The world, as it is, has to be engaged or at least not feared. There could be some suffering (some people suffered when Christians held power) but in our pluralistic now, who likes a bully but a bully?

    Moderates don’t reinvent the world, eggheads do but moderates control the status quo and will jettison a consensus once it becomes an irritant. That’s what happened in large part, IMO, w/the Christian consensus.

    I’m old so I don’t matter but the young kids I know are not going to be signing up for veggie-smoothies, only certain kinds of reading and the constant refrain of ‘abandon ye hope all who aren’t scared of the over there.’

    Another thing, believers have no less exponential human defects than non-believers. The initial and invigorating sense that you’re all in on the same project will not last.

    And there’s a good chance they’ll ruin their kids in the process. Not to mention, the near certainty that the Benedict Option people will start to become identifiable by their looks alone because that’s what living in a bubble produces.

    Like

  8. If pastors were jailed, would the mainstream media even cover it? For a lot of people, if it’s not in the New York Times it didn’t happen.

    The most interesting thing to watch if things like this come to pass is, what will it do to church membership? How many people would quickly flee and decide it’s not worth the hassle.

    When you sell being a Christian on what it can do for you in this life, is it still valuable to you when it makes your life more difficult?

    Like

  9. Levi, I’m actually saying that gay marriage is a way for people who don’t like the Christian right to give conservatives family values good and hard. What do you now do that homosexuals are pro-family?

    Like

  10. cw l’unificateur
    Posted June 10, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink
    Cue TVD with a “gone gay” in mere moments. But don’t say gender issues are unimportant for the OPC, which just broke relations with the Reformed Church of Japan over the their ordination of wimmin.

    Good for you. I don’t bother with the PCUSA types because I think they’re finished. Once you go gay, it never goes away. I admire orthodoxy such as yours.

    Darryl, good post, and I agree about the faddishness–to a point. However the one dimension that’s missing is that unless Christians withdraw their children from the world, kids are going to be taught that all sexualities are created equal–and to dispute that is a thoughtcrime. Christianity has been put in the bizarre position that sodomy and “love” are synonymous, and Christian rejection of that premise is “hate.”

    But I agree with the main point, that heterosexuals have already made a joke of marriage; the winning argument is that one more won’t hurt.

    Like

  11. Darryl,

    When you slam “family values”, what exactly are you slamming?

    The Bible says a lot about morality and the family. Are you embarrassed about that?

    Like

  12. What is this basketball tic that emerges whenever this issue comes up? It’s the Rev. Doc & the Mavericks all over again.

    Something about this topic turns normally rational men into 12 year olds.

    It’s 2K’s Achilles heel and it brings out the worst thinking of its leading lights.

    It’s a bad day when Tom is the guy I most agree with on a thread.

    Glad I’m a free agent.

    Like

  13. Erik, honestly, if you listen to animus imponentis, they talk about AI meaning the alan iverson fan club.

    just roll with it, and try to be nice to fellow reformed protestants. We have enough meanies around here as it is, with TVD calling me an idiot. He could call me worse, many have, I wish I cared what his opinion was, I just can’t bring myself to it. Should I keep going, that’s my four comments and counting..

    Like

  14. I am wondering what the circumstances will be when the leading lights of the culture warrior/transformers concede that not only is the battle’s lost, but the war? Some are already intimating this. But, I do hope it leads the American Christian community why they we were fighting this war to begin with – and maybe we can focus our efforts in a more productive way. I don’t hold out high hopes that it will go down this way, but I still hope at least some will.

    Like

  15. TVD,

    At some point the outright opposition to the church will be inevitable, and Christians will face a whole new set of difficult decisions. But, so long as half, or thereabouts, of Americans are conservative leaning, that transformation takes time. I would argue that the best political course is securing rights for all groups, embracing a peaceful pluralism, that would allow us the freedom to live, act, speak, and worship according to conscience. How God in his Providence guides history is another matter entirely, and Christians in other parts of the world are far worse than culturally and politically marginalized.

    Like

  16. Jed,

    It’s knee jerk reactions like yours that are the problem. I’m not talking about being a culture warrior at all. I’m talking about how we prepare for persecution when the fight comes to the church. That’s the next battlefield. If my scenarios are wrong, refute them.

    I’m just looking for some adult responses.

    Like

  17. I’m a poor culture warrior. My creed is “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” I want to prepare for persecution, though, and be able to help those undergoing it.

    Like

  18. Erik,

    What thee heck are you talking about? Did I call you a culture warrior? I’m not sure if I even read all of your comments, my comment was to Tom, as well as a general reflection from the post.

    Like

  19. Erik,

    I don’t like the gay war, but I’ll bite. Comment number six for me (actually 7, one of mine got deleted, I get it, DGH, really, I do).

    The Christian Religion is pro gospel. Full Stop. We are not anti-gay. We are not anti anything. Except maybe sin. So homosexuality, what do we do? Well, we maintain our stance, the church has a clear message on it, so it’s not worth talking about.

    You seem to allege the church will come under fire for this stance. So what? Let’s say all Christians lose their jobs, are starving, our kids are all impoverished, and we live like Job starting tomorrow until we die. Doesn’t Jesus say cut off your hand, or pluck out your eye, if these things cause you to sin?

    Ok, so let’s get ready for persecution. But really? Come on, I don’t think we will see this anytime soon. The consitution of the United States, I’m thinking first amendment, is pretty clear, here.

    Could I be wrong? Should we all be storing up canned foods and building bunkers in our back yards for the coming war? Maybe. But I seriously just don’t care. I have a lot of other things I am doing to promote Christianity in my neighboorhood that to take too much issue here with what you want me to, just doesn’t make sense.

    So like Greg the Terrible, YOU need to make the case, not us. So let’s here it. But that should give you a lot to chew on, brother. Remember, like Luke Skywalker, I will not fight you, father. So attack me or my positions TVD style, he already called me an idiot, I just wished he’d f***ng swear and tell me how he really feels. That’s what he does on his The Cookies music videos. Is anything I say making sense? I do realize I am interrupting. I and I think GtT honestly doesn’t understand why I am doing what I am doing, which is odd. Is it really that hard to ascertain? And by the way, I really could go on. Greg, you listening, I have more to say, I could go on and on and on….

    Grace and peace.

    Like

  20. Jed,

    Make a case that “culture warriors” weren’t involved in a fight worth having?

    What would your grandpa say?

    Like

  21. Andrew,

    That’s a valid response.

    Are you preparing your wife & kids to think likewise?

    Losing the First Amendment right to freedom of religion is what I’m talking about. Freedoms are up against freedoms. Romans 1 is hate speech under the new paradigm. Be prepared to stand firm.

    Like

  22. A big key on all this Will be the RCC’S stance. Will they stand firm or use weasel words to accommodate while still saying that dogma has not changed? We sink or swim politically with them due to their size.

    Like

  23. Jed, ding re:yours posted at 7:11. Contra the neo-Benedictine critique, pluralism is our friend.

    EC, DGH started the NBA tic.

    Like

  24. Dan,

    Do you think the other side is content with pluralism? Why not have someone else bake your cake or photograph your wedding?

    The NBA tic predates this thread.

    Like

  25. We can all move to Canada then, Erik. Or maybe Mars.

    But the first amendment still stands. Come get me.

    Next comment please.

    Like

  26. Erik Charter
    Posted June 10, 2015 at 7:49 pm | Permalink
    A big key on all this Will be the RCC’S stance. Will they stand firm or use weasel words to accommodate while still saying that dogma has not changed? We sink or swim politically with them due to their size.

    Not just politically–the gay marriage war has already been lost, at least in the Western World. It’s a mop-up operation at this point. The only thing left to defend is the last ditch of religious liberty, how far Christians will be forced to comply with immoral laws and amoral societal attitudes.

    You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you.

    BTW, I see the Evangelical Lutherans have kicked the issue out to local control, joining large chunks of Presbyterians and Episcopalians. You don’t have to get the Weather Channel to know which way THAT wind’s blowing. You’re quite right that the Catholic Church is pretty much the last bulwark on this, not just because of its size, but because of it holding the line.

    So while stuff like this is principled

    http://www.christianity.com/theology/the-manhattan-declaration-why-didn%E2%80%99t-you-sign-it-rc-11623539.html

    it’s not Catholicism that’s the problem, it’s the Mainline’s rot from within.

    Like

  27. ec, It also says a lot about sanctification. Do Christians speak openly about self-control?

    You really think this is about family values? Or about the way people may use them?

    Like

  28. ec, you mean the vd, t that said this? “Darryl, good post, and I agree about the faddishness–to a point.”

    12 year olds?

    Haters gonna leave Old Life and then come back and hate.

    Like

  29. ed, J at some point the gubment is going to see that the family values people reproduce and take care of their kids, and making their children wards of the state will be pricey.

    Like

  30. I think if the ssm revolution had unfolded like the no-fault divorce revolution, then your synopsis would more or less be correct. But it has unfolded like the miscegenation laws. Perhaps if the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition had used different language and our political allies hadn’t been such creeps (e.g., Ralph Reed, Sen. Vitter, Rep. Hastert, Rep. Gingrich, Sen. Craig, Rep. Foley) things could have unfolded differently but that isn’t the reality we face.

    If pastors were jailed, would the mainstream media even cover it? For a lot of people, if it’s not in the New York Times it didn’t happen.

    I don’t think this is very realistic.

    The most interesting thing to watch if things like this come to pass is, what will it do to church membership? How many people would quickly flee and decide it’s not worth the hassle.

    I think we will see two things very soon – the mega “seeker sensitive” churches will be pro-ssm. Already Campolo (progressive evangelical gadfly), Neff (previous editor of CT), and Gushee (contributor to CT and popular evangelical author) have come out in support of ssm. Eventually a really big names like Osteen, Jakes, the Willow Creek guy, or the Purpose Driven guy are going to come out pro-ssm (after much discernment…natch) and it will create safe space for various CC&U to go over as well. Second, para-church groups that remain opposed to ssm (or have hiring prohibitions on ss couples) will lose their tax-exempt status just as BobJones did. Churches will be let off the hook for a while, but as the number of church goers dwindle, I think you will see more people wondering why the owners of those churches on prime real-estate aren’t paying property tax, etc… and the tax exemption will go away entirely. Finally, there will be a pretty steep social penalty for being part of an anti-ssm church. Just as James Craig was fired from FoxSports for campaigning against gay marriage in TX and Eich was forced out of the company he founded for contributing to Prop8, Business execs, university administrators, law firm employees, public faces of companies, politicians, etc… will be forced out if ties to an anti-ssm church is found. I agree with Erik that the RCC is the big wildcard here. However, so many of her members do support ssm, the hierarchy’s opposition may seem like a harmless anachronism (particulalry if churches look the other way and allow ssm-‘ed partners to communion). It will be very interesting to see how that unfolds.

    Personally, I see the biggest challenge is raising my children in the faith. The culture is sending very strong messages that opposition to ssm is equivalent to racism – the greatest sin. Even here in the deep south (though granted in a college town), the anti-bullying curriculum in the middle school is very, very pro-gay. I’m not opposed to all they say, but they make now allowance for those who believe sss is sinful. To be anti-gay is to be the equivalent of a racist. This is where I think the Benedict option comes in.

    Rod has been very clear that he is not talking about a run-for-the-hills retreat. He has in mind intentional community formation. This means making church community a priority as we think about where we will live and work. It also means intentional spiritual formation in the home. He isn’t coming at this from the perspective of confessional prot (who largely emphasize these things already). He was a nominal methodist -> RC -> EO. His family road the coattails of the general Christian consensus in the community. Parents who think they can still do that are unlikely to see their kids grow up in the faith. There is no silver bullet of course and no guarantee that our kids will grow into the faith, but I think there are positive things we can do particularly as we find our surrounding culture ever more anti-Christian.

    Like

  31. ec, well, maybe since the rest of us live on planet earth you actually lay out a scenario that doesn’t resemble Art Bell and then prove it?

    You like this age rhetoric. So be a man and stop whining.

    Like

  32. ec, and refute the assertion that culture warriors were used by the GOP to elect twenty years of Republicans to the White House. What did they get for it? What they are getting now.

    Like

  33. Darryl,

    Your moral compass is off on this one and I just can’t pinpoint why.

    You overreact against the “religious right” and risk being caught off guard if persecution comes. People are counting on you to get it right.

    And if occasional disagreement is “hate”then butch up, as Tom would say.

    Like

  34. Erik, I’m with Darryl, FWIW.

    But what else is new.

    Ask Tom to spell it out for you. He enjoys attacking me, I think it makes him feel big.

    Bye everyone.

    Like

  35. vd, t, “it’s not Catholicism that’s the problem, it’s the Mainline’s rot from within.”

    No rot among RC’s?

    Can I have some of what you’re taking?

    Like

  36. Sdb,

    That’ exactly the kind of adult interaction I’m seeking.

    Coach the host and his disciples.

    Like

  37. Erik, all that means is you aren’t being engaged in your particular congregation.

    Go to an OPC every once in a while if this is what you crave. I live it daily.

    And stop watching shows with bad stuff. Greg the terrible is your man, but he’s mad at me now.

    Goodbye. Really.

    Like

  38. sdb
    Posted June 10, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink
    I think if the ssm revolution had unfolded like the no-fault divorce revolution, then your synopsis would more or less be correct. But it has unfolded like the miscegenation laws. Perhaps if the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition had used different language and our political allies hadn’t been such creeps (e.g., Ralph Reed, Sen. Vitter, Rep. Hastert, Rep. Gingrich, Sen. Craig, Rep. Foley) things could have unfolded differently but that isn’t the reality we face.

    Yes, all the “cool” Christians, the ones who hang out in the elite circles, left the dirty work to unappetizing incompetents like those. No wonder they lost.

    And they did the same thing with Hobby Lobby and they’re going to do the same thing with gay wedding cakes and so on and so on down the line,* to the many things you predict. For Christians wanting to raise their children somewhere else than Gomorrah, it’s back to the catacombs.

    At least the Democrats are honest–when they turn against their principles for political gain, as Teddy Kennedy and Jesse Jackson and Al Gore did on abortion, and the Clintons and Obamas did on gay marriage–when Democrats abandon their values they stomp them into the ground, throw them in a dumpster and set it on fire. Then have them towed out to the ocean and used for target practice.

    Meanwhile, the “cool” people stand by silently at that too.

    _________
    *“I think we will see two things very soon – the mega “seeker sensitive” churches will be pro-ssm. Already Campolo (progressive evangelical gadfly), Neff (previous editor of CT), and Gushee (contributor to CT and popular evangelical author) have come out in support of ssm. Eventually a really big names like Osteen, Jakes, the Willow Creek guy, or the Purpose Driven guy are going to come out pro-ssm (after much discernment…natch) and it will create safe space for various CC&U to go over as well. Second, para-church groups that remain opposed to ssm (or have hiring prohibitions on ss couples) will lose their tax-exempt status just as BobJones did. Churches will be let off the hook for a while, but as the number of church goers dwindle, I think you will see more people wondering why the owners of those churches on prime real-estate aren’t paying property tax, etc… and the tax exemption will go away entirely. Finally, there will be a pretty steep social penalty for being part of an anti-ssm church. Just as James Craig was fired from FoxSports for campaigning against gay marriage in TX and Eich was forced out of the company he founded for contributing to Prop8, Business execs, university administrators, law firm employees, public faces of companies, politicians, etc… will be forced out if ties to an anti-ssm church is found. I agree with Erik that the RCC is the big wildcard here. However, so many of her members do support ssm, the hierarchy’s opposition may seem like a harmless anachronism (particulalry if churches look the other way and allow ssm-‘ed partners to communion). It will be very interesting to see how that unfolds.”

    Like

  39. d, sb, well, there was a Benedict Option that immigrant churches practiced for much of American history. Then they went mainstream and tried to maintain family values through politics. As if white Protestants were ever successful at that.

    Maybe if you don’t centralize values, you have more room for religious and cultural ghettos/provinces. But if you put all your eggs in the White House basket, you better hope their hard boiled.

    Like

  40. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 10, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, “it’s not Catholicism that’s the problem, it’s the Mainline’s rot from within.”

    No rot among RC’s?

    Can I have some of what you’re taking?

    You’re already on something. The Mainline Protestant world’s crashing around you and like Sproul, you’re still shooting spitballs at the Catholics. Oh, and your inert version of the “Two Kingdoms” thing, where you shoot at anybody who’s trying to hold up the walls.
    _________________________
    You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you.

    BTW, I see the Evangelical Lutherans have kicked the issue out to local control, joining large chunks of Presbyterians and Episcopalians. You don’t have to get the Weather Channel to know which way THAT wind’s blowing.

    Like

  41. ec, do you like being called a child?

    I asked questions?

    Are you like the ssm advocates, shutting down free speech?

    Why don’t young heterosexual people marry? Not a concern?

    Like

  42. vd, t, you somehow think I’ve been depending on mainline Protestants. They haven’t been friendly to Orthodox Presbyterians for 8 decades. Mainline and sidelines are in different universes. But to a rotted Roman Catholic, all Presbyterians look the same.

    Like

  43. “Moral compass” was the wrong phrase up above.”Lacking discernment” or “failing to realize the seriousness of the situation” is more what I was after. More Neville Chamberlain than Winston Churchill.

    Awhile back you wrote that you were glad that you likely wouldn’t live long enough to see how this all plays out. Now it’s “you’re not living on planet earth”. What changed?

    Tell us how elder Hart & The OPC handles this when the rubber meets the road if dire circumstances come to pass?

    Like

  44. What if

    what if His people were united about this – feeling the soul tormented day after day by lawless deeds 2 Pet 2: 8

    Like

  45. EC, I recognize that the NBA tic has appeared in other threads, too, but it seems odd to question its appearance in this thread when the proprietor brings it up to illustrate what seems to me to be a serious thought.

    I do think there are those on the “other side”who are most definitely not satisfied with pluralism, just as those who have been fighting the ” gay agenda” wouldn’t have been satisfied either.

    I (all about) can say I saw this defeat coming over 20 years ago. Back around 1985, I had two situations come up within six months of one another that involved about the same fact pattern of gays who wanted to be able to leave their property to their lovers, but were concerned about their relatives contesting their wills. By happenstance, I had recently attended a seminar where the speaker made an offhand remark about an additional benefit of the technique he was speaking on being that it was a good way for gay couples to avoid a will contest. It made these folks estate plans more complicated and expensive than otherwise would have been the case, but in fact there we not then, and is not today, a single reported case in my state of what we did being overturned by the Courts. The thought struck me then that it was simply un-American that an adult citizen could not leave his property to whoever he wanted to, yet every thing short of SSM that anyone proposed in our state legislature to give gays some rights in matters involving property and health care never made it out of committee. If something like civil unions had been widely adopted say 15 or 20 years ago, would SSM be such a hot button issue now? I honestly don’t know.

    Like

  46. Dan,

    There are gay people who want nothing more than to have equal rights and to be left alone. No quarrel with them.

    There are gay activists and secular allies who hate the Church and would love to see it destroyed. That is who concerns me. Religion is the only obstacle still in their path – primarily Christianity and Islam.

    Like

  47. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 10, 2015 at 9:56 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, you somehow think I’ve been depending on mainline Protestants. They haven’t been friendly to Orthodox Presbyterians for 8 decades. Mainline and sidelines are in different universes. But to a rotted Roman Catholic, all Presbyterians look the same.

    Well, that’s the problem with schismatics. They give up all hope of actually being reformers. They just take their ball and open up a new church down the street. Unfortunately we see how self-ghettoization plays out.

    Actually, I didn’t realize how bad off Presbyterianism was until I started studying you and your microdenomination, Darryl. The last straw

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/03/20/wilmington-lesbian-couple-ordained/25096151/

    didn’t happen until this year. And now the parent church, the Church of Scotland, is caving. I’m seeing all this through your eyes, although I surely understand why you prefer not to watch.

    In the meantime, you were right all along about losing the culture. I just wish the “cool” people would have tried a little harder.

    And now, they sit on the sidelines once again on the religious liberty issue–the irony of course is that Calvinism rather invented the concept of religious liberty. That’s what attracted me to you guys in the first place, but now you’re calling it a day, not with a bang but a whimper.

    Calvinism: Another History

    http://www.davekopel.com/Religion/Calvinism.htm

    Like

  48. @dgh I think the immigrant ghettos are a pretty good facsimile for what Rod has in mind. Of course that means marginalization, but maybe that is a good thing. I wonder how the last quarter century would have turned out if Reagan lost and the Christian Manifesto hadn’t influenced guys like Kemp. I suspect that conservative protestantism would be much healthier even if our politics were more liberal.

    Like

  49. I’ll add some “What if’s”….

    What if the only people reproducing in large numbers are very conservative religious folk (Christians, Orthodox Jews, Mormons, Muslims) ( http://www.livescience.com/38743-religious-women-having-more-babies.html )?

    What if in another generation or two the US and Europe are dominated by the offspring of these very religious folks (who typically adopt the religion of their parents)?

    What if by losing the culture war, social conservatives really won?

    What if trends don’t continue and as soon as it looks like one side has “won”, they are really just at the peak of their power, and the long road to irrelevancy is before them?

    What if DGH is right and the rabble rousing about gay marriage is just a ploy to discredit Christians and score political points?

    Like

  50. Eric, I get around a lot now in my retirement, and I guess I just don’t see the same anti-church hordes you do. But politics is a funny game. We usually don’t play it for keeps in this country, but see the late unpleasantness over what kind of property a settler could take into a territory. No question that the side that has won the SSM fight has an element that wants to take no prisoners and shoot the wounded, but will they have enough support once the SSM fight is over to compel Churches to do anything they don’t want to do anyway? (BTW, I agree with a previous post that made the point that a lot of evangelical churches and celebrity pastors are chomping at the bit to get over on the winning side.) History isn’t a great guide, but I think this country has enough safeguards to handle the extremes. It is late, I’m old and it is past my bed time.

    Like

  51. Good thoughts.

    Darryl’s point over the economic cost of putting religious objectors in jail being prohibitive is valid.

    Not sure how much majorities even matter any more, especially when the church is divided. Once we agreed to be ruled by judges on the issues that really matter, majorities are nice, but not necessary to rule over us.

    Fascinating Pew Poll: “Would you object to Christians who refuse to recognize the rights of homosexuals being punished?” I’ll bet blue states and big cities say they would not object.

    Like

  52. DGH, I’m not sure the ghetto thing is an apt comparison. I’m a ghetto kid, small town but still “hey your parents can’t speak English, can they?” We didn’t choose it, it was our lot and we moved away when we’d saved enough money.

    Marginalization, with the exception maybe of the Hebrews, breeds squalor before it breeds order or achievement.

    You’re a Professor and I think you understand some things that people who live more insular lives do not.

    I hate to go all FDR but the fear of some Christians, if it snowballs, is all the Super Pride, if it exists, needs.

    I don’t think the State is going to force Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons to marry gays. Some churches will do it voluntarily but the opposing churches, even if they don’t do it, will still need spokespeople to remind people of tradition. The only way you can be successful at that is to be well-educated and have a real sense of aesthetics.

    And you’re right about the collapse of heterosexual marriage being the foot of the scandal. No homosexual would have dared approach holy matrimony. It would have been an impossibility. Domestic Partnerships (I have to deal with them in my job regularly) are considered security against failure. No homosexual living or dead is responsible for that.

    Like

  53. Dan,

    No hordes necessary. Just test cases & willing judges and then most everyone falls in line — because we like our stuff. As long as it doesn’t impact my church or business you can ignore it. Until you get picked for the next test case.

    Like

  54. Erik,

    There are gay activists and secular allies who hate the Church and would love to see it destroyed. That is who concerns me. Religion is the only obstacle still in their path – primarily Christianity and Islam.

    True, but in my own experience this group is actually a minority of the gay community – they’re just the squeaky wheel. More often than not, the gays I know – which was quite a few in the Food/Beverage/Hospitality industry – simply want equal rights and protections under the law, which is as far as their agenda goes. I think the hard-line activists actually do the gays a disservice, perpetuating the boogey man image many conservatives have of that minority.

    Like

  55. Jed,

    Activists only do a disservice if they make the population at large dislike them more than they dislike Christians. It doesn’t matter what conservatives think of them. If gay activists are seen as bullies rather than civil rights heroes, your point is valid.

    Here’s the problem, though, and it ties in with Darryl’s point on those who shack up: Most of the culture is willing to unite in disliking Christians and the Church because they are the last people and the last institution that judges them. No one wants to be judged. If Greg (and Romans 1) are right, people know they are in rebellion against God and they hate nothing more than being reminded of it. It must be stopped and sin must be affirmed, not pointed out.

    This is why the biggest bogeyman in politics is not liberals any more — it’s the religious right. Darryl is not helping.

    Bernie Sanders is drawing large and adoring crowds in Iowa right now. He won’t win, but he taps into the spirit of the times.

    Like

  56. And Christians can be as nice to lawbreakers as they want and it still won’t matter. As long as they uphold a Book that judges them and has judged them for 2,000 years, they’ll be reviled. Hating us is just a proxy for anger at God.

    Look at an interview with Tim Keller by the media. No matter how many nice things he says, it always comes down to an uncomfortable conversation on his views on homosexuality. He takes 5 minutes to couch it, but eventually he comes around and admits that he thinks it’s sinful, and the media goes away satisfied that they’ve exposed another bigot.

    There’s just no way around the issue if we’re going to stand on the Word of God. We will not be liked in this culture so we had all better just get used to that.

    Like

  57. ec, did Civil Rights legislation affect freedom of religion? Have churches had to perform inter-racial marriages?

    You’re hyperventilating.

    The problem with ssm is a redefinition of marriage that will affect the family. I am pro-family. At some point people will wake up and understand what families do. All they need to do is watch the fourth season of The Wire.

    Like

  58. vd, t, “Well, that’s the problem with schismatics. They give up all hope of actually being reformers. They just take their ball and open up a new church down the street.”

    Or they take their ball and start another nation that you celebrate at American Creation.

    Why are you anti-Protestant?

    In case you haven’t heard, the Benedict Option is gaining traction. Confessional Protestants have been Benedictine long before Rod Dreher discovered Instagram.

    Like

  59. Lewis, #dingding

    But

    What if the parents of all those kids get so caught up in picketing at the courthouse that they forget to teach all the kids and the kids don’t marry?

    Like

  60. MLD, my point about the ghetto was that it was one example of segregation and homogenization on a local level. Lots of RCs think the immigrant church was much healthier than the suburban church.

    Like

  61. ec, “There’s just no way around the issue if we’re going to stand on the Word of God. We will not be liked in this culture so we had all better just get used to that.”

    Then why do you ask me for some program for when the Mad Max universe descends? Sounds like we’ve always been there.

    Like

  62. Our provincial government has inflicted a sex-ed curriculum that is so offensive that parents boycotted the public schools for days, some schools reporting that 90% of the children were deliberately kept at home in Toronto. No parents with any religious besring, and/or immigrant families were okay with the teaching.

    And DGH, point of clarification, Keller is a good third level source to me, he would never be a primary teachers of the Word, that is taken up by my local church. But I have podcasts playing constantly through the week and he adds something missing by my church and then person reading of Scripture and theology during the week.

    Like

  63. Christians have coasted for a long time with North America “decent” culture carrying marriage as a proper passage of adult life. That is coming to an end, sadly for the most part.

    The hard part is it is clearly a creation ordinance, as opposed to the Sabbath, and I get to see the various effects at work and in the life of unbelievers who feel bound to marry even with zero thought about God in a meaningful way.

    Like

  64. Does anyone else have gay marriage fatigue? Maybe that – and the pathetic state of my Red Sox – is why I’m having so much fun watching LeBron get to the brink of something greater than any NBA player has ever accomplished: taking a would-be lottery team to a championship. Now, as a Celtics fan I have every right to be bitter about the fact that LBJ’s coming out party was in game six against the Celtics in a playoff game but what he’s doing now is amazing and I really think he’s doing it, in part, for Cleveland. He’s the point guard, he’s the board crasher, he’s taking it to the hoop, and he’s spacing the floor with outside shots. Oh, and he’s pretty much a player-coach, telling everyone on the floor what to do and where to be.

    As for gay marriage, I’m not sure there’s a lot of decision-making for us. It’s a civil right, and opposition is now akin to racism. It’s not going to be legislatively reversed and the Courts aren’t likely to help any. We can decide to uphold our principles in the church, but railing outside the church is like head-butting a wall at this point. Churches will likely be more like ghettos, or, if you will, like dispersed Amish. I’m not sure we can do much more than hope for the kind providence of God. That seems less delusional than what we’ve been doing.

    PS. Matthew Dellavedova went to school at St. Mary’s, the site of the 2014 OPC GA.

    Like

  65. Does anyone else have gay marriage fatigue?

    Yes. I just get so stressed out by all of it (but hey, Peter says Lot was distressed too). I found this post very calming.

    Like

  66. vd, t, my people, the German Lutherans, were Benedicting it up in this country before it was cool. When a lot of Confessional Lutherans hear about the BO, they kinda wonder “What’s the big fuss?”

    The Benedict Option sounds like what my great Oma and Opa were doing back when they built churches and spoke only German and hated the Methodists. This was also the time when being Roman Catholic was a social disadvantage, and when the Pope seemed like a threat to Protestantism, not Barney the Dinosaur.

    Like

  67. Darryl,

    So you’re agreeing you would be in a bind with no Two Kingdoms Theology intellectual escape hatch?

    Like

  68. Church officers,

    If you have gay marriage fatigue now, consider stepping down. You’ll be dealing with it for the rest of your natural life unless you just throw in the towel, go Mainline, go RCA or CRC (they’ll cave soon), or go Roman Catholic where professional clergy will take most of the heat for you.

    The fight is coming to you. You need not seek it out.

    Like

  69. EC, tell us what you have done and what you will do about gay marriage. That way we can follow your example.

    Like

  70. Practically speaking, I don’t think we have much to worry about as far as the government trying to force churches to marry SSM couples.

    The problems we are going to face are at the individual level, with Christians losing jobs or not having certain career paths open to them if they are unwilling to stand up as an “ally” of the LGBTQRSTUVABC community. They can be as fair as can be in actual employment practice as a supervisor, etc., but the minute somebody gets wind that they believe homosexual lifestyles are sinful, that will be that. We’ve already seen it.

    I’m not sure what 2K or any other perspective can do about this. You’d have to get the culture to embrace some kind of 2K theory in a secular way and agree to let business be business and personal be personal. But the other side isn’t willing for that. These issues will come up in the workplace just in the course of ordinary conversations, and if you have an activist on board and you’re exposed as not being an “ally,” you will have your livelihood to worry about.

    We may also run into issues with mandatory sex-ed curriculums for public school and things like that.

    In sum, I think we’re naive to believe that the state will defer to individual liberties simply because of longstanding precedent. Somewhere there is a balance between being an alarmist and saying “can’t happen here,” which is the sense I get from some of the comments.

    Like

  71. “back when they built churches and spoke only German and hated the Methodists.”

    So there was an upside.

    Like

  72. Darryl,

    On Civil Rights, the Scriptural grounds for racism were flimsy at best and hardly anyone after the civil rights Era has sought to restrict interracial marriage.

    On homosexuality we’re stuck with clear teaching (thanks Genesis, thanks Moses, thanks Paul…)

    So either we find a way to twist or ignore that (think the CRC on women in office) or we prepare to stand firm and think through how this plays out in the culture.

    I agree families are great, but have you heard of the Democratic Patty and the welfare state? They appear to offer alternatives. I’m not particularly hopeful on people “coming around”. Implosion is more likely.

    Like

  73. Erik,
    I think the goal of the post though was to consider the question “Will you have to deal with it the rest of your natural life?”

    Like

  74. Churches are not wedding chapels. It’s time to for churches to declare that their facilities are only available (outside of worship services and educational classes) for the use of members and any weddings must include at least one church member in good standing. The church’s worship is public, but it is not a public accommodation. Let the pagans, good and bad, do what they want outside the church.

    Like

  75. Muddy,

    I’ve done nothing (other than be married to a woman), but if I was in office and church members came to me with concerns for the future I would say that I share them, I would remind them that Jesus told us that we could expect to be hated on account of him in this life, and that we should all be preparing to suffer loss for our faith and look to the life to come. I would especially try to stress these things with young people. They have a longer road ahead of them than I do.

    I would also tell them to not grow bitter, but to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them.

    Like

  76. I would like nothing more than to be wrong about this.

    One thing that would be helpful is if people could complete this sentence. I think the gay rights struggle will be over soon and we will have peace because…

    Like

  77. Sorry Mud, you’ll hate the ‘piety’ – but one thing all can do is join in the “outcry which has come to Him.” Pray often, even together, about it.

    Like

  78. Chortles,

    You have a beautiful church building (not an ugly OPC) so your point is especially valid.

    Like

  79. EC, this problem is not new. The state makes laws about Christian practices all the time. Adultery is legal. We don’t ordain adulterers.

    Wow, that was hard.

    n
    e
    x
    t

    Like

  80. ec, so if you’re reminding people about what Jesus said about opposition, why is that not exactly what Old Life says — embrace the suck cross.

    Your mistake has always been to regard Old Life, 2k, confessional churches, books or blogs as solutions.

    Like

  81. because . . .

    it will be regarded as a fad a decade out when gays understand what homosexuals do – marriage is a bitch hard.

    (Hope you’re not reading, honey.)

    Like

  82. So much of where you come down on this is what narrative explaining homosexuality that you’ve bought into.

    There’s the Romans 1 narrative that says it’s a symptom of rebellion against God.

    There’s the modern narrative that says it’s inborn and a valid expression of those who only wish to give and receive love.

    More Christians than not have bought into the latter. I think several guys around here have and they are struggling personally with how to deal with Romans 1.

    If the cause is rebellion, the rebellion doesn’t stop just because gay marriage is now legal.

    Like

  83. Darryl,

    Give me the p.o. box of the adultery lobby.

    You’d better be careful. The cats need those royalties.

    Like

  84. ec, why are you reading posts like vd, t?

    Where did I proclaim my narrative of homosexuality?

    Why don’t you see a consistent narrative about the religious right?

    Why don’t you consider that white Protestants in the U.S. (and now we have help from Roman Catholics) have a history of overreacting? And why don’t you see that overreaction is predicated on denying an exilic status even in the heydays of Christian America?

    Like

  85. Darryl,

    I think your point on the faddish nature of the current gay marriage craze is valid. There will be gays (men especially) who wake up one day in the suburbs with a spouse and two kids who ask themselves, “how the hell did I get here?”.

    I suspect the youngest, most beautiful men are not looking to marry.

    Like

  86. EC, in other words, the same message they’ve always heard.

    a., if it rocks your boat to say “pray” under every post, have at it. Also, “be loving” and “do the right thing.”

    Like

  87. Erik, as I’ve said before, my old school gays don’t really care much about getting marriage (except when it’s a useful cudgel against their fundies). That’s because they know homosexuality is all about zigging when society zags and marriage is squaresville.

    But your brave new world point seems pretty overdone. It’s a dustup that will settle itself down in a few years, just like the advent of no-fault divorce and the repeal of fornication laws did. Everyone will adjust for each other. You might ask yourself how hard divorcees or co-habitors have made Christian lives today before advising everyone to get ready for gay persecution.

    Like

  88. Muddy,

    That’s good.

    Sean,

    I would say Jed struggles with it, based on his comments here and in past threads. I suspect Zrim, too. They have personal relationships and family members who are homosexual.

    Like

  89. Zrim,

    Same question to you as to Darryl. Point me to the divorce and fornication lobbies.

    The divorced and the fornicating don’t have a group identity, have not taken on a civil rights mantle, are not big political donors, and are not litigious. They are not a good vehicle for others to come alongside to damage the Church of Christ.

    Like

  90. One thing that changed my thinking on this was seeing the media reaction to Dowling Catholic refusing to hire an openly gay teacher and coach in Des Moines. That and the reaction to Indiana’s law. The winds have changed.

    Like

  91. Erik, can you define for me what the struggle is they have as it regards Rom 1? I can’t track with your point.

    Like

  92. And I am NOT suggesting that anyone here struggles with being gay. I’m suggesting they struggle with the notion that homosexuals are in rebellion against God and being gay is the manifestation of that rebellion.

    Or maybe someone wants to make the case that I’ve misinterpreted Romans 1?

    Like

  93. I’m not worried about gays “ruining” marriage. It’s the trendy thing at the moment, but I submit that only a fraction of a percentage of gays who marry will actually maintain long term relationships. Practically speaking, our church is much more likely to have a single parent or cohabitating couple show up at our church on a given Sunday morning than a gay person. Are we as equipped to council them in their views of marriage or remarriage?

    The main concern I have about the momentum of the gay marriage issue in 2015 is how some very aggressive individuals could use it to harass individual Christians in the business world or attack the employment or practices of the church and other Christian institutions (e.g. loss of tax exempt status). Our church meets in a public school, and I could see that being challenged in the future if certain people were motivated to do so. But I don’t see anyone going to jail or losing their lives over it. And it’s not out of step with what Jesus told us to expect in this life.

    As far as us losing the culture war and the winds of culture shifting against us, I wonder if we’ve (Reformed Christianity) really ever been on the “right” side of the culture war. Or have we just been fooling ourselves?

    Like

  94. God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,7 in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

    Like

  95. I’m still lost. Who here would say that engaging in homosexual activity, legally sanctioned or not, is not in rebellion against God.

    Like

  96. Erik, Romans 1 lists various vices as evidence of rebellion. Are you saying homosexuality is somehow special in ways disobedience to parents isn’t?

    Like

  97. I want answers, damn’t. I need an answer to this conundrum and I need answers to the ‘new birth’ certainty plank that’s distinct from supernatural faith and short of the glorification opportunity. I don’t need analytic philosophy to render a conclusion. Everybody wants to take forever and a day. Just answer the friggin questions. Amen.

    In the peace of me.

    Like

  98. Zrim,

    It’s only as special as its proponents make it. They’re making it really special of late, to the point that it’s a threat to the church.

    Once again, show me the lobby for the other vices.

    Sean,

    Let Jed speak for himself if he chooses. I’m not going to go back and search threads from the last two years. Zrim is dodging the issue, as usual.

    Like

  99. “Dowling, church forget meaning of Catholic”

    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/abetteriowa/2015/04/15/catholic-church-schools-welcome-gay-teachers/25824347/

    Deb McMahon, A Better Iowa contributor

    Catholic means universal. Universal means inclusion of all human beings. When did the church become the place for bigotry and judgment? Even Pope Francis is giving new hope to LGBT members of the church.

    When Dowling High School decided not to hire Tyler McCubbin, a gay man, a firestorm was unleashed. The students planned a protest and exercised their rights to question the decision. Bravo to them.

    In the wake of the controversy, one must ask the question what would Jesus do? Although this question is overused, it is necessary to pursue in this circumstance.

    As a child I attended many different churches. It seemed church attendance was important to my mother, but it had to be a “church of convenience” which meant it was close to our home. I was a Baptist, Methodist, Southern Baptist, Presbyterian and finally found my way to the Catholic Church when I was a senior in high school. I visited several different churches and began taking instruction in the Catholic faith. I found the acceptance of sinners a plus for my conversion. I always heard the “Good News” in every church that I attended. The universal message being one of acceptance, forgiveness and love.

    Why has that message become so perverted? Yes, you are forgiven. Yes, you are loved. Yes, you are accepted. Except when you mention your sexual orientation. Then the judgment begins.

    Apparently McCubbin was a good teacher, enough so that he was offered a teaching contract. Until the school leaders found out he was gay. Then the offer was withdrawn with a tease that he could continue to coach and substitute teach. Hypocrisy at its finest. However; when the publicity began, the offer to coach and sub was withdrawn.

    McCubbin says his heart was broken. Rejection is never easy but outright bigotry has no place in our society. Have the school leaders not evolved enough to know that hiring a gay teacher does not encourage homosexuality? This borders on a form of bullying and demonstrates just how fearful the leaders are of the hierarchy. It does not speak of courage but rather cowardice.

    Have we learned nothing from the lessons of the church? Where is the humility, the “judge not lest ye be judged” and the ability to accept individuals as children of God? So much for the hate the sin but love the sinner.

    If we accept the premise that God doesn’t make mistakes, then we must accept that all people deserve to be loved and accepted. The days of sitting in judgment of others is not part of the doctrine. Just as there are gay teachers, there are gay priests and gay Catholics. Living in a state of denial is unhealthy and is like wearing blinders so as not to see the truth.

    It is time for Dowling High School, the Catholic Church and all other religions to open the doors to all. Quit proselytizing from the pulpit with condemnation and instead reach out, as Jesus would, to all. The Statue of Liberty proclaims in the words of Emma Lazarus, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest lost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Sounds like inclusion and acceptance.

    Churches and parochial schools should be places of welcome, acceptance and encouragement. Anything less is not serving the true mission of what it means to be universal.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Deb McMahon is a retired educator and political activist living in Des Moines. Click here to read more of her work.

    Like

  100. Erik, Romans 1 lists various vices as evidence of rebellion. Are you saying homosexuality is somehow special in ways disobedience to parents isn’t?

    I won’t speak for Erik, but I certainly think that’s Paul’s point. Verses 26-27 deal particularly with “dishonorable passions” and are highlighted in a way that shows that such actions are “unnatural.” Paul certainly does not condone disobedience to parents, as that is evidence by him calling it evidence of a “debased mind.” The text does seem to clearly highlight the particular depravity of homosexuality, however.

    Like

  101. [T]his problem is not new. The state makes laws about Christian practices all the time. Adultery is legal. We don’t ordain adulterers.

    Wow, that was hard.

    Ding.

    And this:

    Give me the p.o. box of the adultery lobby.

    is anticipated here:

    What if a pastor refuses to conduct a gay marriage and eventually goes to jail?

    What if another pastor also winds up in jail?

    What if another one does?

    What about another?

    What if Americans become agitated — as they are wont to do — about a kind of government that locks people up for holding the wrong ideas . . . ?

    No?

    Like

  102. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink
    ec, why are you reading posts like vd, t?

    Where did I proclaim my narrative of homosexuality?

    Why don’t you see a consistent narrative about the religious right?

    Why don’t you consider that white Protestants in the U.S. (and now we have help from Roman Catholics) have a history of overreacting? And why don’t you see that overreaction is predicated on denying an exilic status even in the heydays of Christian America?

    Toleration of sin is one thing. Institutionalizing it is another.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/03/20/wilmington-lesbian-couple-ordained/25096151/

    Like

  103. d – “What if Americans become agitated — as they are wont to do — about a kind of government that locks people up for holding the wrong ideas . . . ?”

    Erik – What if Americans don’t become agitated?

    Are we preparing our people for that?

    That’s all I’m asking.

    Like

  104. Note my interaction with Muddy.

    He says he’s preparing his people for that. I take him at his word. Case closed.

    Like

  105. E,

    If pastors are preaching the whole counsel including “count it not strange” and “all who live godly” and “If the world hated me” and “the servant is not greater than his Master” and “rejoice and be exceeding glad,” and preaching what they actually teach, then our people should be prepared. No?

    Like

  106. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 10, 2015 at 9:56 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, you somehow think I’ve been depending on mainline Protestants. They haven’t been friendly to Orthodox Presbyterians for 8 decades. Mainline and sidelines are in different universes. But to a rotted Roman Catholic, all Presbyterians look the same.

    TVD:
    Well, that’s the problem with schismatics. They give up all hope of actually being reformers. They just take their ball and open up a new church down the street. Unfortunately we see how self-ghettoization plays out.>>>>>>

    Instead of staying in the mainline denominations and bringing change from within, conservative groups have split off. That’s fine. People are free to do that. It is hard to try to bring about reform from within. It is fairly easy to pack up and leave a denomination.

    The thing is – in this case of same sex marriage and our government – that this present administration is ready to begin pulling tax exempt status for any religious organization that will not go along with their plan to normalize same sex marriage. Now, will they be able to do that? Probably not, but it will involve lots of public money in fighting lawsuits.

    But what if they do pull the tax exempt status of the OPC or any other religious organization that insists on using the Bible as its basis of determining what is and what is not marriage and morality? Are you ready for that?

    You know also that in Houston, the mayor was demanding that pastors turn in copies of their sermons in order to make sure that they were not preaching against same sex marriage or speaking out against homosexuals in any way. Sure, that was shot down almost immediately, but the fact that she tried it shows what the face of the future may be.

    From a news report:
    “Subpoenas issued to five Houston pastors demanding all sermons and correspondence dealing with homosexuality, gender identity and the city’s Equal Rights ordinance have been withdrawn, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor announced at a Wednesday press conference.”

    Notice that it is not just homosexuality that the mayor was concerned about. It was gender identity. So, are you ready for this kind of thing in the OPC? If, from the pulpit or in your Sunday school, you tell kids that they are either boys OR girls, not something else, are you ready for the government to come in and say that you can’t be telling kids that kind of thing?

    Now, will it come to that? I think it is reasonable, given the nature of human government, to think it could very well come to that. Yes, I know that there will be brave OPC pastors and Sunday school teachers who will be willing to go to jail over it. But won’t you feel you have lost something precious if it comes to that?

    Now, I won’t talk about my background or my experiences in countries where such freedoms have been lost, but…Think it can’t happen here?

    So, D.G. Hart, I see the point of some of what you are saying. I agree that gay marriage is a fad, but once the fad stage has passed, what comes next?

    Are you ready for the next stage?

    Are you ready to put your life on the line?

    Now, nature will win the argument eventually. The truth will prevail, and God’s dual truths of revelation and nature will be shown to be that truth, but in the meantime… In the meantime, we all have friends, neighbors, loved ones, children and grandchildren who will be sacrificed on the altar of the unnatural.

    …and here is where faith working through love can show itself to be one of the most beautiful of all God’s creations. At the risk of sounding too eeeeeevangelical, we are supposed to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are supposed to be ready to share Christ with those we love and even strangers.

    …and, yes, that goes for Catholics , too. You dear brothers and sisters do know what the Priest says at the end of Mass, don’t you? If you wonder why Catholics and the Catholic Church is so involved in the world, maybe the phrase he utters will explain that.

    Wait for it…. wait for it… D.G. Hart might have something to say about what a failure she is…

    Besides, we all pay taxes, and do we really want to see the government spending what they believe to be endless amounts of money on lawsuits? They are more than willing to do that sort of thing in order to advance some agenda. You might say that the right does that as well, but in a way, that is all that the left does – use the power of government to enforce their policies. You have neighbors and friends who are happy to go along with that, because they do not understand the value of personal freedom.

    TVD:
    And now, they sit on the sidelines once again on the religious liberty issue–the irony of course is that Calvinism rather invented the concept of religious liberty. That’s what attracted me to you guys in the first place, but now you’re calling it a day, not with a bang but a whimper.>>>>>

    Tragic. Well said, TVD.

    Like

  107. Erik,

    I have to hand it to you man, more than anyone else here, you vacillate between brilliance and not knowing what the hell you’re talking about. Yes, I have many friends and a family member who is gay, and they know exactly where I stand with regards to the sinfulness of homosexuality. They get it, but, we still manage to have mutual respect even on matters we disagree on. The reason why we are able to achieve this is because I do not accord homosexuality as a special status of sin any worse than fornication or adultery, nor do I think that gays should be precluded from full participation in American society, with all of the rights and legal protections of the straight majority. You know…. majority rule, minority rights – it’s pretty fundamental to being American.

    I don’t treat my gay friends any differently then I would a straight friend or family member who is cohabitating outside of the bounds of marriage. They know what I think about it, and if they want to hear more of my opinions all they need to do is ask. Otherwise I keep my opinion to myself, and get on with the relationship while trying to maintain a positive witness.

    On more than one occasion I have been approached by gay friends or colleagues, and been told that I was the first conservative Christian to have treated them like a decent human being. To me, this is sad.

    Like

  108. TVD raises an important point in distinguishing toleration and institutionalization. But, can toleration really have teeth without law? Seems to be a longstanding problem in the USA. I’m not sure Christian theology has the sanction or resources to correct the dilemma. Sharia yes. Historically toleration as institutional has worked in favor of religion as much as it is for sexuality today.

    Like

  109. It’s always good to close a case, EC. Really, most of what you mentioned has come to the church simply by the pastor preaching through the Bible. There’s plenty in there about persecution, opposition to “the world” (ahem), looking for a better country, etc. So, yeah, what d4 said. Kids get the story of Daniel in Sunday School as a starter. Sometimes topical series are warranted. My fellow elder just taught a series on homosexuality and it sounds like it went OK; I was teaching junior high kids, possibly a better time investment (sorry, adults).

    Like

  110. is there anything more useless than a webfoot waste of space on here

    scroll down….. scroll down…. sweet chariot

    still not a top ten pointless fiasco of a person over the last 3 years, whatever happened to those people?

    Like

  111. D,

    Yes.

    I also think Sessions need an action plan to deal with different scenarios. If an activist arrives, the response should be, “we’ve been expecting you.”

    Did the gay teacher not expect issues at Dowling? Was Dowling prepared?

    Like

  112. I already assume the within-church gay population % is 4 times that of the “world”, the church gathers in all kinds of interesting folkies

    And they are super good at hiding it and protecting their co-horts at all costs, unless it gets too embarrassing to cover up.

    Like

  113. wjw
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 1:10 pm | Permalink
    TVD raises an important point in distinguishing toleration and institutionalization. But, can toleration really have teeth without law? Seems to be a longstanding problem in the USA. I’m not sure Christian theology has the sanction or resources to correct the dilemma. Sharia yes. Historically toleration as institutional has worked in favor of religion as much as it is for sexuality today.

    Toleration, properly understood, is neutral. Gay marriage–and forcing people to bake gay wedding cakes or risk losing their businesses–is anything but neutral. It is state sanction.

    The “cool” people sat by while the Jerry Falwells ran their mouths–in fact the “cool” people even joined in trashing them. Now we hear this is all no big deal. Uh huh. Drip, drip, drip. They’re going to give some kid hormones to delay puberty and force your kids to call him a “her.”

    Welcome to the New Normal.

    Like

  114. Okay, DGH, now I get it.

    I never moved to the suburbs, I moved to the Village and the church was healthier in some ways but we still had the Polish wanting and getting their own church and priest. 🙂 And it was healthier in no small part because of a once in a lifetime economy that lasted for a few decades.

    I wonder how much the seemingly quick abandonment of fidelity to the ideal of marriage gained real momentum because of the pederasty scandal. There ought to be a way to study if there’s a link.

    That said, I can’t see how Rome could possibly capitulate and marry gays.

    Pope Francis isn’t going to cite Romans because he probably thinks that a gay person’s first urge, especially if early on in life, that is that feeling of a crush for your SS playmate, isn’t a willed sin. Feeding the appetite is but not that first unwilled urge. It’s a complicated issue. A kid’s chrysalis shattered and then it’s possible that recall to re-set is set in motion and a youngster doesn’t understand that.

    I’ve always thought that prior to the point of exhaustion and acceptance, because you think there’s no other choice, the struggle of the gay person must really be a cross.

    Like

  115. kent
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink
    is there anything more useless than a webfoot waste of space on here

    scroll down….. scroll down…. sweet chariot

    still not a top ten pointless fiasco of a person over the last 3 years, whatever happened to those people?

    She had more of a point than you. Your BS was the waste of space, tough guy.
    __________________________

    Mrs. Webfoot
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    You know also that in Houston, the mayor was demanding that pastors turn in copies of their sermons in order to make sure that they were not preaching against same sex marriage or speaking out against homosexuals in any way. Sure, that was shot down almost immediately, but the fact that she tried it shows what the face of the future may be.

    From a news report:
    “Subpoenas issued to five Houston pastors demanding all sermons and correspondence dealing with homosexuality, gender identity and the city’s Equal Rights ordinance have been withdrawn, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor announced at a Wednesday press conference.”

    Notice that it is not just homosexuality that the mayor was concerned about. It was gender identity. So, are you ready for this kind of thing in the OPC? If, from the pulpit or in your Sunday school, you tell kids that they are either boys OR girls, not something else, are you ready for the government to come in and say that you can’t be telling kids that kind of thing?

    Now, will it come to that? I think it is reasonable, given the nature of human government, to think it could very well come to that.

    Gay marriage was a laughable bogey man of the Religious Right 20 years ago. Only crazy Christianists could ever believe it could become the reality.

    Like

  116. The state sanctions a lot of things. I’m sure the blacks in the south were grateful they could finally shop at the whites only and only grocery store in town. It seems we’ve already had this debate within the american context. You want to a hang a shingle and provide services get ready to be regulated and subject to civil laws.

    Like

  117. MLD
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
    Okay, DGH, now I get it.

    I never moved to the suburbs, I moved to the Village and the church was healthier in some ways but we still had the Polish wanting and getting their own church and priest. 🙂 And it was healthier in no small part because of a once in a lifetime economy that lasted for a few decades.

    I wonder how much the seemingly quick abandonment of fidelity to the ideal of marriage gained real momentum because of the pederasty scandal. There ought to be a way to study if there’s a link.

    That said, I can’t see how Rome could possibly capitulate and marry gays.

    Pope Francis isn’t going to cite Romans because he probably thinks that a gay person’s first urge, especially if early on in life, that is that feeling of a crush for your SS playmate, isn’t a willed sin. Feeding the appetite is but not that first unwilled urge. It’s a complicated issue. A kid’s chrysalis shattered and then it’s possible that recall to re-set is set in motion and a youngster doesn’t understand that.

    I’ve always thought that prior to the point of exhaustion and acceptance, because you think there’s no other choice, the struggle of the gay person must really be a cross.

    Yes, Francis gets it, with love. Unfortunately the Christian [pretty much evangelical] vocal opposition was that same-sex attractions are willfully sinful, and that left no humane place to go with homosexuality. It’s simple: Stop being gay!

    Like

  118. kent
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink
    is there anything more useless than a webfoot waste of space on here

    scroll down….. scroll down…. sweet chariot

    still not a top ten pointless fiasco of a person over the last 3 years, whatever happened to those people?>>>>

    See, this is why so many people have left the Reformed movement, and why it has become so irrelevant in real life. On this blog, it is everything. In the world, nothing.

    “Pointless fiasco of a person.” See what you did, here, and what Old Life does to people?

    You didn’t say that my ideas are pointless, but that I, as a person, am pointless.

    …and I’ll bet you believe yourself to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ alone by faith.

    That is the tragedy of the Reformation. Nothing is real. No real righteousness.

    Like

  119. sean
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink
    The state sanctions a lot of things. I’m sure the blacks in the south were grateful they could finally shop at the whites only and only grocery store in town. It seems we’ve already had this debate within the american context. You want to a hang a shingle and provide services get ready to be regulated and subject to civil laws.

    Christians are still not ready for that one. Race is not willful; sexual behavior is. Unfortunately the Christian objection made no distinction between thoughts and action, between ‘orientation” and behavior. In the modern equation all “sex” is synonymous with “love.”

    Everybody’s pro-“love.”

    Like

  120. For what it’s worth, I’m more worried about the perversion of gender that goes on in ‘Murica and many churches’ overreaction to that via 50s esque complementarianism.

    I believe women shouldn’t be ministers, doesn’t mean they can’t have a job :/

    Like

  121. Erik, “dodge”? You’ve suggested I take some exception to Romans 1. I don’t. Bam. But why are you so dazzled by the political power of some groups? No faith in the power of the American arrangement to diffuse pitchfork mobs or allow divergent groups to live together in relative peace?

    Like

  122. To be fair Zrim *I* have no faith in America’s political process, but I’m an anarcho capitalist so…

    Like

  123. TVD,

    No argument–shared cultural resources on sexuality are missing in action; and the folks who led the charge in the 80s and 90s helped create the problem. Still, the case your making for toleration as neutral does not fare well in American history. Separate but equal didn’t work. Toleration of “strangers” is unique to Western liberalism. It is learned and it is enforced. Christians have the theological resources to teach and learn toleration. Christians don’t have the theological resources to make and enforce law. Persuasion maybe. But if you lose the political argument you lose.

    Like

  124. TVD, I get that there are differences. What’s not different is that they are human. So, let’s take fair housing laws, guess what willful behavior group I already can’t discriminate against just because of the willful behavior they engage in? You got it. More often than not, they also tend to make great renters/neighbors.

    Like

  125. I grew up early enough to pin all the blame on the 60s and 70s, and now see all the blame is put on the 80s and 90s by those a generation younger than me.

    So i guess it’s always been the same and all you do is blame those in charge when you were 11 years old.

    Also, the best era in sports happens when you are 11 years old. Bradshaw/Stabler games, Reggie’s Yankees and the Lafleur Canadiens were sports at their best, right?

    Like

  126. Kent,

    ” the folks who led the charge in the 80s and 90s helped create the problem”

    “Helped create” is the verb. Meaning contributed to; part of.

    Like

  127. Mrs. Webfoot says:

    . . . and I’ll bet you believe yourself to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ alone by faith.

    That is the tragedy of the Reformation. Nothing is real. No real righteousness.

    You might want to let go of those pearls you’re clutching, ma’am. They look like they’re about to come right off your neck.

    Like

  128. ec, my narrative is largely Freud’s. Is he no longer acceptable? A lot has to do with the tricky relations between fathers + mothers + sons. It may be genetic, but most gay men I’ve known have also been with women. If you can construct a hetero identity for some relations, why not also a constructed homo one?

    Like

  129. wjw
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 1:40 pm | Permalink
    TVD,

    No argument–shared cultural resources on sexuality are missing in action; and the folks who led the charge in the 80s and 90s helped create the problem. Still, the case your making for toleration as neutral does not fare well in American history. Separate but equal didn’t work. Toleration of “strangers” is unique to Western liberalism. It is learned and it is enforced. Christians have the theological resources to teach and learn toleration. Christians don’t have the theological resources to make and enforce law. Persuasion maybe. But if you lose the political argument you lose.

    sean
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
    TVD, I get that there are differences. What’s not different is that they are human. So, let’s take fair housing laws, guess what willful behavior group I already can’t discriminate against just because of the willful behavior they engage in? You got it. More often than not, they also tend to make great renters/neighbors.

    Actually, I’m agreeing with you both. The argument was lost because Christians surrendered the high ground of “love” and got stuck with the tar baby of “hate.” Sodomy won the battle of “love,” traditional marriage lost.

    But race is not gay marriage. The 14th Amendment did not establish that all sexualities are created equal. Persons, yes, including those with same-sex attractions.

    Gay marriage is state sanction. Different. But I agree, the argument is already lost. The only question now is how much religious freedom is going to be permitted [although religious freedom is an explicit constitutional right, “permitted” describes how grave the situation is].

    As I think about it, though–for the record–Jerry Falwell was quite loving and articulate on the gay issue. The other cowardice was in the “cool” Christians joining in Falwell’s stoning, or at least standing silently by.

    Look at the title, as early as 1999, The Assault on Gay America. Your tax dollars at work.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/assault/interviews/falwell.html

    Like

  130. vd, t, so the logic is that if a Presbyterian does something, I’m responsible.

    So when an American does something, you’re responsible?

    Or when Garry Wills writes something, all Roman Catholics are responsible?

    What if we are responsible for ourselves and the institutions of which we are members? Since you’re not a member of the Roman Catholic Church, you are in an ideal position.

    Like

  131. Seth
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink
    Mrs. Webfoot says:

    …and I’ll bet you believe yourself to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ alone by faith.

    That is the tragedy of the Reformation. Nothing is real. No real righteousness.

    You might want to let go of those pearls you’re clutching, ma’am. They look like they’re about to come right off your neck.>>>>>

    I don’t know what you mean, Seth. Let me explain what I mean. If you hide your unrighteousness behind an alleged cloak of the righteousness of Christ, can that cloak save you? Isn’t that a kind of self deception? “Yes, I am righteous, but only in Christ, never in real life.” Is that the Gospel you preach?

    I was called a “Pointless fiasco of a person.” Now, it’s one thing to say that what I wrote was pointless. Fine. I might even agree with that, or think it’s funny. However, to call me as a person “pointless” is a different matter.

    I think that Reformed teaching tends towards that kind of error – righteous in Christ, but not actually righteous oneself. Are you comfortable with that kind of thinking? Shouldn’t there be an increasing harvest of righteousness in our lives?

    2 Cor. 9:10

    …and if you agree that I am a “pointless fiasco of a person”, then please do scroll down and ignore me. I will not be offended.

    Like

  132. Mermaid, “conservative groups have split off”

    Actually, the PCUSA kicked out Machen the same way Rome kicked out Luther.

    Details.

    And are you ready, mam, for when the bishops at the upcoming synod on the family cave to the German bishops, you know, the ones with all the apostolic blessing as the Bishop of Rome?

    Well, are yuh?

    Like

  133. Mermaid, “If you hide your unrighteousness behind an alleged cloak of the righteousness of Christ, can that cloak save you? Isn’t that a kind of self deception?”

    You think your righteousness will save you? Yours with a dollop of Christ’s?

    wow.

    Then why kick Adam out of the garden and condemn the rest of the human race for eating an apple or pear or whatever trees were in Eden?

    Like

  134. Mrs. DoubleYou, for one who thinks the Reformation made too much out of justification sola fide, you sure have justification on the brain. I mean, what’s justification have to do with gay marriage?

    Like

  135. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, so the logic is that if a Presbyterian does something, I’m responsible.

    No, the logic is you bleated for a week about Pope Francis not being more vocal about Ireland’s gay election, now you’re back to your lame r2k self when it comes to your own country. You’re a real piece of work, Elder Hart.

    Like

  136. Darryl,

    2:04 comment.

    Whoa. Have you expounded on that to your Presbytery?

    Get ready for awkward silence if you do.

    Like

  137. Erik Charter
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink
    One thing that changed my thinking on this was seeing the media reaction to Dowling Catholic refusing to hire an openly gay teacher and coach in Des Moines. That and the reaction to Indiana’s law. The winds have changed.

    More like they’re blowing stronger. Gay marriage is not about adults–the way adultery is. No, this is about children and family. This is why Christianity [whatever’s left of it in America] lost, by arguing Biblical [im]morality for its own sake rather than the real life consequences of defying the natural law–the destruction of the family and kids being raised without a mother and father.

    Hey, rust never sleeps, and the decay of our societal institutions may have been inevitable. The state has replaced civil society, and we can’t even discuss morals and ethics anymore, just legalism and “rights.”

    But there is no virtue in Christians being silent as the destruction takes place. Sure, we’ll all be dead in 1000 years and all that matters is justification but that makes accepting the Gospel no more than a soteriological formality.

    Like

  138. Speaking of politics, I was just 5 feet from Chris Christie at Hickory Park in Ames. Picture on Twitter.

    Like

  139. D.G. Hart:
    Actually, the PCUSA kicked out Machen the same way Rome kicked out Luther.>>>>

    Okay, I see what you are saying. Yes, I had assumed that because he left Princeton to form Westminster Seminary he had also left the PCUSA under his own steam.

    Thanks for the correction. Unfortunate turn of events. I’ve always liked Machen. He was one of the good guys. Even though he would not have considered me his sister in Christ, I think I would have lied to be considered a friend. Tragic. I am not happy about what has happened in Presbyterianism. Not at all.

    I am not crazy about Luther. He got pretty offensive as time went on.

    I would never put Machen in the same category as Luther except for the getting kicked out part.
    —————————————————-
    Zrim, actually you were the one who said that justification was a settled matter. For me it is settled, but on the other side of the Tiber.

    Think infusion of Christ’s righteousness. Think seed of Christ’s righteousness planted in the soul that grows as it is watered with sacramental grace done in faith and the power of the Holy Spirit showing itself in good works done in love.

    It’s still not self righteousness as if a person does this on their own. Pelagianism is still heresy.

    Trent:
    Canon 1.
    If anyone says that man can be justified before God by his own works, whether done by his own natural powers or through the teaching of the law,[110] without divine grace through Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.

    —————————————-
    John Gresham Machen (/ˈdʒɒn ˈɡrɛsəm ˈmeɪtʃən/; July 28, 1881 – January 1, 1937) was an American Presbyterian theologian in the early 20th century. He was the Professor of New Testament at Princeton Seminary between 1906 and 1929, and led a conservative revolt against modernist theology at Princeton and formed Westminster Theological Seminary as a more orthodox alternative. As the Northern Presbyterian Church continued to reject conservative attempts to enforce faithfulness to the Westminster Confession, Machen led a small group of conservatives out of the church to form the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. When the northern Presbyterian church (PCUSA) rejected his arguments during the mid-1920s and decided to reorganize Princeton Seminary to create a liberal school, Machen took the lead in founding Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia (1929) where he taught New Testament until his death. His continued opposition during the 1930s to liberalism in his denomination’s foreign missions agencies led to the creation of a new organization, The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions (1933). The trial, conviction and suspension from the ministry of Independent Board members, including Machen, in 1935 and 1936 provided the rationale for the formation in 1936 of the OPC.

    Like

  140. Mrs. Webfoot
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink
    D.G. Hart:
    Actually, the PCUSA kicked out Machen the same way Rome kicked out Luther.>>>>

    Okay, I see what you are saying. Yes, I had assumed that because he left Princeton to form Westminster Seminary he had also left the PCUSA under his own steam.

    Compared to ordaining gay couples, what Machen left about is pretty small potatoes. Knowing what we do now, it would have been better for the conservatives to stay and fight another day. If the OPC “punches above its weight,” it’s still only about 108 pounds.

    For all practical purposes, whatever America thinks Presbyterian Church is, it’s not so great. The Presbyterian scorecard has too many scratchouts.

    Like

  141. “How do you think he carried the South in the 2012 primaries?”

    He was one of the least self-destructive members of that clown show?

    Like

  142. Mrs. DoubelYou, you’re not reading closely. My point wasn’t about justification being settled (and sides taken). It was about 1) your complaint about the Reformation and its descendants making too much of justification and 2) the relevancy of it to this discussion but your insistence on bringing it up.

    If you think the Reformed make too much of it in doctrinal disputes, where it IS relevant, how do you figure on bringiing it up in societal disputes where it ISN’T?

    Like

  143. TVD:
    For all practical purposes, whatever America thinks Presbyterian Church is, it’s not so great. The Presbyterian scorecard has too many scratchouts.>>>>>

    I see you point. It has lost whatever influence it could have had, or that it did have at one time. It has come a long way from the days of John Knox’s “Give me Scotland or I die” or the inspiring courage of the Covenanters.
    ——————————————————–
    …and BTW, Zrim, seth, and kent, and anyone else I may have insulted, I did speak a little harshly about there being no value in the Reformed view of righteousness. I know that there also must be a growth in personal righteousness. It’s not just a cloak of the righteousness of Christ. Otherwise, what did Owen write his On the Mortification of Sin in Believers for? So, anyway…my bad…I assume everyone here has read it. Be sure to make it to the last chapter where he makes it clear that this can be accomplished only by the work of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life.

    It’s just that the mischaracterization of Catholic teaching, as if she were promoting a kind of Pelagian heresy that gets to me.

    ..and I certainly cannot blame anyone for scrolling down when they see my comments. 🙂 I scroll most of yours down, too, so scroll away.

    Like

  144. Muddy a., if it rocks your boat to say “pray” under every post, have at it. Also, “be loving” and “do the right thing.”

    from a few of the comments, once again, today, here, it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, does it? (and you forgot, read your bible) You are a better man than I, not needing daily reminder. Interesting that you are a SS teacher of young adults; maybe you teach them Steven Colbert’s recent advice ‘you should seek your own standard and you should pursue that’ ?

    Like

  145. Zrim
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 3:54 pm | Permalink
    Mrs. DoubelYou, you’re not reading closely. My point wasn’t about justification being settled (and sides taken). It was about 1) your complaint about the Reformation and its descendants making too much of justification and 2) the relevancy of it to this discussion but your insistence on bringing it up.

    If you think the Reformed make too much of it in doctrinal disputes, where it IS relevant, how do you figure on bringiing it up in societal disputes where it ISN’T?>>>>

    Hmmm. I think it is relevant. If it is true that Reformed people are wearing the righteousness of Christ like a cloak, then wouldn’t what you call “societal disputes” involve things like loving our neighbor as ourself?

    I mean, wouldn’t the only thing that matters, faith working through love, apply here somehow?

    We can just let our neighbor go to hell, or we can find a loving way to share Christ with them. Something like that? In what situation of life does justification not apply? I know about standing before God at the end clothed only in the righteousness of Christ, but there is that little thing about our works justifying us.

    So, the answer to the question of whether we are justified by faith or by works, the answer is “yes.” Yes to both. It is not an either or proposition. Not to trash Reformed teaching, but I would gently and lovingly suggest that maybe you dear brothers are working from a false dichotomy. Maybe not. Maybe you get that about our profession of righteousness having to be backed up by works and actions. I would offer the following as a bit of evidence to support what I am saying.

    If you would accept the challenge, please do this. Go to Biblegateway and search for the word “works” in the book of Revelation. What do you notice about how Jesus judges the 7 churches? What does He look for? Maybe you already know.

    However you look at it, though, whether it is by cloak alone, or by infused righteousness, our actions must line up with our profession. Surely our action or inaction on this issue of gay marriage should be informed by our professed righteousness, right?

    Let me give an example from the 80s. When the whole AIDS crisis hit, and hit hard in the gay community, what were Christians doing? What were they saying?

    Now, what was Mother Teresa doing in San Francisco? Do you know?

    …and yes, it is an unloving thing to write so many words and be so annoying, but I don’t pretend to know what the righteous response is to the gay marriage question. However, I can’t believe that there is no righteous response. I can’t believe that we Christians are supposed to hole up waiting for it all to blow over.

    Like

  146. Mrs. Webfoot wrote: “Yes, I am righteous, but only in Christ, never in real life.” Is that the Gospel you preach?,

    YES! YES! YES!

    Like

  147. vd, t, yes, you’re right there with Harry Emerson Fosdick, “what incredible folly” to worry about such small matters of Christianity as salvation.

    See what I say about modernism?

    Like

  148. my narrative is largely Freud’s. Is he no longer acceptable? A lot has to do with the tricky relations between fathers + mothers + sons. It may be genetic, but most gay men I’ve known have also been with women. If you can construct a hetero identity for some relations, why not also a constructed homo one?

    Darryl, are you suggesting sexuality is largely a social construct?

    Like

  149. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, jurisdictions do matter. The PCUSA is not mine. Ireland’s is the pope’s — catholic and all that.

    Dude still can’t tell the difference between a country and a church. The Pope has jurisdiction over Vatican City. No gay marriage there, at least not yet.

    As for the Presbyterian Church, you’re right, though. There’s no such thing anymore here in America or anywhere else. At least when you walk into a Subway franchise, you know what you’re going to get. Today, you tell somebody you’re Presbyterian, it’s like saying you’re Estonian.

    “How nice.”

    D. G. Hart
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, yes, you’re right there with Harry Emerson Fosdick, “what incredible folly” to worry about such small matters of Christianity as salvation.

    See what I say about modernism?

    Heh. JG Machen took on the liberal Fosdick, as you know better than anyone.

    http://www.challies.com/articles/the-false-teachers-harry-emerson-fosdick

    I only see you bagging on conservatives who stand up to liberals. This Two Kingdoms thing of yours poses no threat to liberalism, theological, political or social. How nice.

    Like

  150. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, so on judgment day you think your works are going to make up for your sins?

    She’s only said she doesn’t believe that about forty times.

    Like

  151. TVD
    This Two Kingdoms thing of yours poses no threat to liberalism, theological, political or social. How nice.

    It also doesn’t pose a threat to any other political system. Even more convenient.

    Maybe that’s the point.

    Like

  152. TVD
    “This Two Kingdoms thing of yours poses no threat to liberalism, theological, political or social. How nice.”

    Nate Paschall
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    It also doesn’t pose a threat to any other political system. Even more convenient.

    Maybe that’s the point.

    “Convenient” is quite the point. The world likes Christianity best when it puts itself in its place with no urging, no threat to anything, in thought, mind or deed. “How nice that you have beliefs.”

    “How admirable, how brave. As long as you keep them to yourself.” [Pat on the head.]

    Let’s let the man speak for himself, though, Jed.

    Like

  153. d4v34x
    Posted June 11, 2015 at 8:13 pm | Permalink
    Mrs. Webfoot wrote: “Yes, I am righteous, but only in Christ, never in real life.” Is that the Gospel you preach?,

    YES! YES! YES!>>>>

    You don’t either. That doesn’t even make sense. No progressive sanctification or good works at all? No godliness? No living an upright life? Christ’s righteousness has no effect on your personal life?

    Now, it is bad form to just provide a link without talking about it, but I have talked too much already today, for which I apologize. However, if you really want to understand the difference between Catholic and Protestant thinking on this, you might enjoy this article, or you might not. If you do not wish to read it, or if you wish to be upset with me, I will not take offense.

    Take care

    https://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/RIGHTEOU.HTM

    “Catholics, for their part, have no trouble saying that a person is legally righteous before God when they are justified. If God constitutes a person in righteousness Furthermore, Catholics don’t need to have any problem with saying that our righteousness is brought about by a decree of God. The Catholic can be perfectly happy saying that when we are justified God declares us righteous and his declaration bring about what it says. He declares us righteous, and so our guilt is taken away and our righteousness is restored.”

    Like

  154. Webster: “No progressive sanctification or good works at all? No godliness? No living an upright life? Christ’s righteousness has no effect on your personal life?”

    Why does OL go after your history? Because you exalt it so much. Why might we go after your (RC’s) behavior? Because you exalt it so much, as you do here. Well, we’re looking, and not seeing the superiority. But, to be fair, you aren’t as obnoxious as Methodists. Most of you, anyway. Well, OK, Cross is in that category. And TVD. And Kenny. But, other than those that show up here, yeah, better than Methodists.

    Like

  155. Mrs. DoubleYou, you’re sounding neo-Calish. It’s a matter of law and gospel. The things of earth pertain to law, the things of heaven to gospel. If you think justification is relevant to matters pertaining to earthly life, e.g. marriage, then try shoe horning the gospel into the current debate with those asking serious questions about it and see how far you really get with anyone. Sounds good and pious, but the gospel does not help sort out whether homosexuality should enjoy the sanction of marriage. Like a fish needs a bicycle and all that.

    Like

  156. a., have you read your Bible? Jesus describes the gospel:

    “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

    Are you mixing up your law and your gospel again? Pray about it.

    Like

  157. Mrs W wrote: You don’t either. That doesn’t even make sense. No progressive sanctification or good works at all? No godliness? No living an upright life? Christ’s righteousness has no effect on your personal life?

    That’s not what I said, nor you, even if it’s what you meant.

    Like

  158. what if an opc pastor preaches about definite atonement on Sunday mornings and then almost all his people move their membership to a different local Reformed church?

    not as subjunctive as you might think….

    was it because the pastor was talking about law and not the gospel in the pulpit?

    is the distinction between law and gospel the difference between “hard things” and “the comfort that the promise (unspecified) is for you personally”?

    is defining election in terms of those for whom Christ died not good news?

    Like

  159. Further for Mrs. W:

    [Our good works] proceed from his Spirit, and as they are wrought by us they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God’s punishment . . . Yet notwithstanding the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable and unreprovable in God’s sight, but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.

    from Chapter 16 of the LBC2

    Like

  160. Muddy, a., are you mixing up your law and your gospel again?

    don’t think so Muddy. The Father sent Jesus to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed

    ..He came to SET US CAPTIVES FREE

    …God grants repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, that we may come to our senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. Tim 2:25-26

    in any case we know….”the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,”

    Like

  161. and probably bottom line, if one says’ the ‘gospel’ doesn’t speak to such things as these major ones, then I think we must just then say to each other – there cannot be unity between us

    Like

  162. a period, more like if one says the gospel is faith alone and the other says faith and works then no unity. But if the former says one woman/one man and the latter agrees then unity. Until one or the other says because of the gospel instead of law, then back to square one.

    Like

  163. Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14 -15

    the kingdom is a spiritual kingdom, a place of divine blessing, a community of redeemed people who have come to salvation, who are under the rule, guiding, and leading of God

    Like

  164. oh AB, because I’m a. you mean, and unlike those like ‘muddy gravel’, ‘ cw l’,u’, ‘zrim’, etc.

    Like

  165. “repent and believe in the gospel.”

    So we have two words with a conjunction between them. Beans and rice. Peas and carrots. Cats and Dogs. But they’re verbs, right? So thrust and parry, duck and cover, hide and seek. Are you telling us that all these words joined by conjunctions are the same thing? Yes you are.

    Skip the Bible for now. Try a book on logic.

    Like

  166. Jas, LBJ looked gassed last night. Getting a 2-1 lead with than bunch was heroic but mortality is a limitation even for him. Delly? He went to the hospital after his big game. In their wins the Cavs played well for 3 1/2 quarters then just hoped GS wouldn’t come all the way back. I hope they pull it off but it’s not looking good.

    Do they drug test during the finals?

    Like

  167. Last I heard, they don’t drug test after the all star break. Hopefully the Cavs banked some blood bags enhanced with EPO drawn after some high altitude training. That and some ephedrine and caffeine stacks to go along with the cortisone injections might see them through. I mean, they just need some water, pasta and a nap.

    Like

  168. A man married to a man comes to your church. Says that he has believed the gospel and is saved. He desires to remain married to a man.

    Do you believe him that he has believed the gospel and is saved?

    Do you admit him as a member of your church?

    Why or why not?

    Like

  169. Chris – EC, How is it not akin to someone coming and being “married” to their pet dog – you’d just be like, dude, that’s not right and no.

    Erik – Aren’t we talking about a free gift here, unrelated to the works of the recipient?

    What grounds do we have to keep fellow sinners out of the church? Are we more worthy of the free gift than they are?

    Like

  170. EC, more worthy, of course not. If someone came in either situation the elders would have to advise them on on, I think, leaving such a relationship because it is sinful. I know that has gotten all sorts of debate here which only demonstrates that we’ll (read Presbys) debate anything – even prayer.

    The churches I’ve been a part of both OPC and RPCNA have had people come out of homosexual backgrounds and those individuals left those lifestyles and relationships pretty much naturally as new creatures in Christ are wont to do – some continued to struggle others not so much. Pretty much like everyone else with their own areas of struggle.

    You are an elder, right? Haven’t you had to deal with such things?

    Like

  171. Chris – “those individuals left those lifestyles and relationships pretty much naturally as new creatures in Christ are wont to do.”

    Erik – Would you agree or disagree with Zrim & Muddy that the gospel has nothing to do with marriage?

    I served for 2 years and never had to deal with anything related to homosexuality.

    Like

  172. The King
    LeBron
    Mailed her in
    Yet again

    Imagine we
    Brought back Einstein
    And showed him
    The replay

    Of a hard collision
    And LeBron stops
    And then suddenly catapults
    Ten feet for no apparent reason

    Bumps his head like Belarus Lugosi
    Falling off the back of a pickup truck

    Maybe egregious flopping is the secret to another dimension of physics

    Like

  173. LBJ likes him some drama.No cameras! No cameras!

    EC, When Inspector Clouseau arrests someone, is if for a violation of the gospel? No, it’s for a violation of the leuw, otherwise known as the law. Discipline is for a violation of the law. We’re just talking law/gospel distinction, not denying the proper place of the law. As for the rest of this potential conversation, I’ve done it at length recently and nothing’s changed since then.

    Like

  174. This makes Valerie Hobbs look like a piker:

    Transgender student files lawsuit against schools over bathrooms –

    By T. Rees Shapiro, Washington Post

    A 16-year-old transgender student who alleges that a school restroom policy that restricts where the teenager can go to the bathroom has filed a federal lawsuit against a Virginia school board, calling the policy discriminatory. The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Gavin Grimm, argues that the policy violates the constitutional rights of the rising junior at Gloucester High School, about 65 miles east of Richmond. In court documents filed in the U.S. District Court in Newport News, the ACLU alleges that the policy discriminates against transgender students such as Gavin by forcing them to use “alternative” restrooms, not the communal facilities available to their peers. “The school board’s policy is deeply stigmatizing and needlessly cruel,” said Joshua Block, an ACLU lawyer who filed the lawsuit. “Any student, transgender or not, should be free to use single-stall restrooms if they want extra privacy. Instead of protecting the privacy of all students, the school board has chosen to single out transgender students as unfit to use the same restrooms as everyone else. ”The case stems from a Gloucester County School Board decision in December that created a policy limiting the use of girls’ and boys’ bathrooms to students of “the corresponding biological genders. ”The 6-to-1 vote came amid pressure from parents and Gloucester County residents who apparently were uncomfortable with Gavin using the boys’ bathrooms at school. Grimm, who was born female but identifies as male, has been diagnosed by physicians with gender dysphoria, a condition that causes distress related to gender identity. The lawsuit claims that after his diagnosis, Gavin used the boys’ facilities for seven weeks without incident until the school board decision. “I just want to use the restroom in peace,” Gavin said in a statement. “Since the school board passed this policy, I feel singled out and humiliated every time I need to use the restroom. ”The ACLU filed a federal discrimination complaint with the Justice and Education departments in light of the school board’s action. An investigation into those claims continues, according to the ACLU. “High school is difficult enough for any student, without having the school board publicly single him out for special restroom rules,” said Rebecca Glenberg, a lawyer with the Virginia chapter of the ACLU. “Gavin is an extraordinarily courageous boy who is filing this lawsuit not only to protect his own rights, but the rights of all of the transgender students who come after him. We are proud to represent him.”The school board did not return a request for comment.

    – See more at: http://amestrib.com/news/transgender-student-files-lawsuit-against-schools-over-bathrooms#sthash.dFZhpiOf.dpuf

    Like

  175. Erik, Yes. Strictly speaking, the gospel has nothing to do with marriage. It is the proclamation of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done. That gospel makes no sense without the pedagogical use of the law. After conversion we need the normative use of the law to show us how we should strive to live as children of God and to show us that we should always seek remission of sins and our righteousness in Christ alone. You know this stuff, and probably better than me.

    How about after serving? No one, ever? Man, the churches I’ve been a part of have seen, seemingly, every possible kind: adultery, murder, homosexuality, pedophile, and plenty of the cleaned up stuff: gossip, lies, and on-and-on. You guys must live under rocks to have to speculate on these things and not to have to actually deal with them. Who needs TV drama (channel GtT).

    Anyway, yikes, back to work for me.

    Like

  176. @Erik
    I think the answer has to be no. Of course, we don’t wait to admit someone who has professed faith in Christ until they are perfect, but I seem to recall something about “public and notorious” or “scandalous and notorious” sins.

    I would welcome a gay couple to attend our church – particularly if they professed faith in Christ, but I would also require them to repent of their behavior (living in sin) before admitting them to the table or membership in the church (they could not take the vows with integrity while living in sin). I’m not an officer in the church, so this is all hypothetical, but I don’t think it is too far off from what would (has) actually happened in our congregation.

    Here is the much tougher question I think. Consider John McCain – he was married, had an affair, divorced his first wife (who is still living), and is now married to the woman with whom he had an affair. Let’s say John McCain professed Christ – can he join your church while living in an adulterous relationship? McCain is a public figure, so we know a lot more about his personal life than most others. What about the guy who was married for a year after he graduated high school some 50 years ago. They divorced while he was in the army and later he remarried. Would he be eligible for membership if he were to profess Christ without ending his current marriage? How deeply must we inquire about the private lives of potential members? I don’t think anyone ever asked if my current wife was my only wife. Maybe this gets to the “public and notorious” part?

    I think these are tough questions (at least for me…maybe one more reason why I can’t be an officer), but they are useful to talk about.

    It seems like the underlying question here though is what we should expect to see in terms of sanctification when a sinner is justified. It seems Paul is quite clear that sanctification should produce a noticeable change. “you once were…. now you are… ” is a common refrain throughout the epistles. Additionally, sexual sin is described as something different (all other sins occur outside the body, but sexual sins desecrate the temple of the Holy Spirit, have nothing to do with a sexually immoral brother [not meaning non-believers], and so forth). While our justification is never dependent on anything we do, it always produces fruit [at least that’s my reading of the NT and HC]. So while indwelling sin is always there messing things up, there is a change as we are characterized as those who walk in light rather than darkness (another common refrain throughout the NT).

    I think the empirical data bear this out as well. We keep hearing how being a Christian makes no difference on things like divorce, co-habitation, crime, etc… But this is false. For example, wilcox has shown that adherent conservative protestants really do have much lower rates of domestic violence than nones, adherent mainliners, nominal mainliners, and nominal conservative protestants (in that order). Adherence does matter though. Similarly with divorce – while the divorce in the population may be higher in the more religious south, the gap disappears when you look at the fraction of marriages that end in divorce (there is a big marriage gap). Again, adherence matters – when husbands attend church, divorce is much less prevalent as one might expect if there is a connection between church attendance and actually being justified. This isn’t to say that no one who goes to church gets divorce (duh!) or that everyone at church is better than everyone not in church (double duh!), but looking at a population – it seems to make a difference.

    There is the question of why this isn’t the case for RCs – they tend to be to the “left” (left means bad right?) of the general population on sexual politics, and adherence means something different (cultural catholic is a thing in a way that cultural protestant isn’t and I suspect that the surveys don’t have the granularity to tease out these subtleties). I’m skeptical at looking to arcane theology to understand broad sociological trends (no sola scriptura didn’t cause denominations, and sola fide didn’t inspire a protestant work ethic that makes prot countries better than catholic ones, etc…).

    Like

  177. @EC down here in the deep south, “gender inclusive” bathrooms are becoming a thing… Crazy, crazy, world. I feel bad for the ladies if they take our urinals away, there are days when my aim just isn’t what it should be!

    Like

  178. “Maybe egregious flopping is the secret”:

    What if he could shoot a high percentage and not simply a high volume? What if the refs called traveling and/or offensive fouls?

    Like

  179. @ Erik: Also FWIW, I have noticed and appreciated your turn for the serious since returning from exile.

    Like

  180. Jeff,

    Thanks. I’m still going to screw around at times, but I have hopefully made some other changes for the better.

    Like

  181. Erik Charter
    Posted June 12, 2015 at 1:14 pm | Permalink
    Now if I can only explain Tom Van Dyke…

    Erik Charter
    Posted June 12, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
    By my calculations, between Tom & Andrew, we have had hardcore antagonists making probably 80% of the comments for the past 6 months.

    This is akin to my hometown spending $20 million on a library remodel, the greatest beneficiaries of which appear to be marginally employed people who now have a nicer place to surf porn for free during the workday.

    Thanks for the slander, but 90% of my comments are in reply to someone else. I answer my fan mail, is all. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. 90% of your comments are in reply to nobody but yourself.

    Like

  182. Tom,

    No slander against you, just an observation that the site often appears to serve the interests of the antagonists of the host as opposed to the host.

    This is the price of being a staunch defender of freedom of speech, which the host most certainly is. I hope you appreciate that in spite of your never ending criticism of him. I dare you to find another blog that will give you 1/10th the length of leash you’ve been given here.

    Like

  183. Erik Charter
    Posted June 12, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    No slander against you, just an observation that the site often appears to serve the interests of the antagonists of the host as opposed to the host.

    This is the price of being a staunch defender of freedom of speech, which the host most certainly is. I hope you appreciate that in spite of your never ending criticism of him. I dare you to find another blog that will give you 1/10th the length of leash you’ve been given here.

    Darryl gets nothing from me he doesn’t loose on others. Measure for measure, it’s part of his re-education.

    Neither do I comment on every single thread, and ’twas not me for whom the 3-comment rule was instituted. So instead of gossiping about others, mind your own p’s and q’s and things will be a lot better for everybody. With all due respect.

    Like

  184. TVD: …90% of my comments are in response to someone else..

    100% actually, since your comments are by definition in response to the OP or to someone else’s comment.

    Well, I suppose you could slip in a random Amway commercial, so let’s give you credit for not doing that.

    Like

  185. Tom – Darryl gets nothing from me he doesn’t loose on others. Measure for measure, it’s part of his re-education.

    Erik – Key difference: You get to respond to him here. If you were responding to him at American Creation or your own blog, presumably hardly anyone who cares would read it.

    Like

  186. Jeff Cagle
    Posted June 12, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink
    TVD: …90% of my comments are in response to someone else..

    100% actually, since your comments are by definition in response to the OP or to someone else’s comment.

    Well, I suppose you could slip in a random Amway commercial, so let’s give you credit for not doing that.

    Reply to what I wrote, Jeff, or something that mentions me by name–like Erik’s gratuitous drive-by on me above. Are you being intentionally obtuse or is it just an Old Life custom? 😉

    Like

  187. Darryl can respond to Mark Jones, or Bryan Cross, or Rick Phillips, or Tom Van Dyke here, not on their blogs, and people read it and care about his opinion. That’s rare and deserves to be lauded. The rest of us are just piggybacking on his street cred and learning and need to have the humility to admit it.

    No one is seeking out Tom Van Dyke, Erik Charter, or Andrew Buckingham’s opinion on Christianity or the history of religion.

    Like

  188. Then why do you talk so much, Erik? You’ve spent the day telling everyone what’s wrong with them and how much better you are now. Are you taking over from Andrew as hall monitor, drowning the comments you don’t like with even more of your own? Mercy.

    Like

  189. I did reply to what you wrote, Tom. For a fellow who bemoans “lack of love”, you sure are quick with the insult.

    Like

  190. Tom,

    The difference between us is I’m not antagonistic 95% of the time. To whom much has been given, much is required. Show some thankfulness occasionally as opposed to arrogance. Is that too much to ask? It might actually help your cause. As it stands I suspect you repel most everyone who is not firmly on your side to begin with.

    Like

  191. Jeff Cagle
    Posted June 12, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink
    I did reply to what you wrote, Tom. For a fellow who bemoans “lack of love”, you sure are quick with the insult.

    Did you willfully misunderstand what I meant or was it an accident? Either way, it was obtuse. That’s not an insult, but a fact.

    Reply to what I wrote, Jeff, or something that mentions me by name–like Erik’s gratuitous drive-by on me above.

    In fact, you inserted yourself into this thread and did your own drive-by on me. Another one with no room to talk. You guys are a real trip sometimes.

    Like

  192. CT: “Erik, Yes. Strictly speaking, the gospel has nothing to do with marriage. It is the proclamation of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done.”

    If we don’t rely on ‘the gospel’ for marriage, what else do we rely on, ourselves?; if ourselves, we are doomed

    the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith Rom 1:16-17 salvation – deliverance, from the penalty, power, presence of sin

    Like

  193. I propose we have something akin to Festivus here at OL, where we can air our grievances with one another once a year – it can be cathartic. But, haven’t we done this already just a few weeks ago – it’s too much, basically just gumming up the works. The SSM marriage discussion has been interesting, even if a little predictable, when I find myself enjoying Tom’s comments you know its good.

    Anyway, happy fighting and may the Schwartz be with you.

    Like

  194. a.,

    What exactly do you mean by “rely on the gospel for marriage”?

    Jed,

    Would this Festivus last only 24 hours?

    What would become of Tom & Darryl’s 24/7/365 sniping routine?

    Like

  195. We have an actual, virtual(how you like them apples) crazy train. It has roughly 4-5 passenger cars and no engineer that anyway can verify by sight, speed or direction. No one knows the front from the back and so far the only workable/pleasurable hypothesis is to get so plowed that it makes sense at some point. Outside of that, it’s a virtual torture room rumored to have been gleaned from the part of Eli Roth’s brain that was snipped off after a thanksgiving holiday with his family.

    Like

  196. Tom & Darryl would actually make the ideal couple as married men. Don’t they just remind you of the grumpy male/female pair that’s been together for 30 years — (and 30 years too long)?

    Like

  197. Erick,

    Would this Festivus last only 24 hours?

    Yeah, we could make a party of it – it’d be a blast, and the post gets taken down after a day or two, with the agreement that not a word is spoken of it here by any participant, unless of course its at the next Festivus.

    So we would for example have to say that we all secretly loathe Jeff, but only because we wish we could be more like him. Muddy’s tight biker shorts keep him from role model status.

    What would become of Tom & Darryl’s 24/7/365 sniping routine?

    I hope not, there’s a certain charm of watching 2 grown, highly intelligent educated men take off the gloves – as much as smart guys hate to admit it, they’re savages like the rest of us – haven’t you read Heart of Darkness or watched its cinematic corollary Apocalypse Now? . But, beyond Tom and Darryl’s “special” relationship, we have to save the beefs for Festivus.

    Like

  198. TVD:
    …. but 90% of my comments are in reply to someone else. I answer my fan mail, is all. >>>>>

    Yes. What I don’t quite get is this. If people don’t like certain comments or those commenting, why not just ignore them and scroll down? I expect people to ignore what I say if they don’t like it, they don’t like me, or they find what I say irrelevant or boring. Hey, I get nasty comments about my name! What’s up with that?

    No big deal.

    If people don’t like what you say, Tom, then why don’t they just scroll on down? I find your comments thought provoking. Others don’t. Live and let live.

    Like

  199. a period, so what are you saying, the marriages of unbelievers are doomed? Your gospel logic is making you look dumb.

    Like

  200. MW: If people don’t like what you say, Tom, then why don’t they just scroll on down?

    Mostly I do. But every so often, I get this crazy notion that it might be possible to have a civil conversation with him. Hasn’t worked out yet.

    Like

  201. Zrim: “making you look dumb”

    That’s ok Zrim, I don’t mind, that’s already been established – DGH called me illiterate and unintelligent

    anyway, logic….that’s a hard one – God says the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men, (1 Cor 1:25) and for me it’s often.. am I operating in my own logic, right now, or am I yielding to His -maybe you don’t struggle with that

    as best I know, it seems ‘dumb’, or shall I say, to me, it makes no sense for a believer to say , “the gospel does not help sort out whether homosexuality should enjoy the sanction of marriage”

    the same power that rose Jesus from the dead , is the same power at work in us and as we cannot do anything (of any value) without Him, how could only but ‘the gospel’ help sort out things; what? we in our flesh are left to sort things out? Fortunately not, we have gospel good news – we are now in the Spirit – such a gift of redemption – and He is with us and in us believers always, leading, guiding, helping us in these things.

    Like

  202. Jeff Cagle
    Posted June 12, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink
    MW: If people don’t like what you say, Tom, then why don’t they just scroll on down?

    Mostly I do. But every so often, I get this crazy notion that it might be possible to have a civil conversation with him. Hasn’t worked out yet.

    Thx for the character assassination, Jeff, but you treat each other so shabbily, I’m learning not to take this stuff personally.

    Like

  203. MW:
    If people don’t like what you say, Tom, then why don’t they just scroll on down?>>>>

    Jeff:
    Mostly I do. But every so often, I get this crazy notion that it might be possible to have a civil conversation with him. Hasn’t worked out yet.>>>>

    Um. Not gonna’ say it…. Oh, why not. Today wasn’t one of those days, I presume. 😉

    Dang it, you made me laugh! Not fair! Oh, not! I said “dang it”, dang it!

    I thank you, Jeff, for being one of my more or less faithful fans.

    Like

  204. Eric: “A.,What distinction do you make between law and gospel?”

    I’m just gonna say I’m a believer; I’m saved; sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption (Eph 4:33) ;

    so I’m concerned now since rebirth, about ‘joyfully concurring with the law* of God in the inner man’ (Rom 7:21), serving the law of God with my mind (Rom 7:25); and continuing in faith for the loss of ever more ground by the members of my body in the war

    *the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25) enabled because He has put His laws into my mind and written them on my heart (Heb 8:10; 10:16)

    Take care. Have a good evening

    Like

  205. Why get so upset over what Tom says?

    If it were just how you treat Tom, then I’d think it was Tom’s fault somehow. However, I also saw how Susan was treated, and she is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever seen online. She is knowledgeable as well, and worked very hard to give good answers to those who asked her questions. I couldn’t believe the insults that were sent her way.

    What gives? You are pretty hard on one another, even. AB is one of yours, but he wasn’t treated well either. I guess he was frustrated as well.

    Not mad at anyone, just very curious. Well, I’ve taken up a lot of you good people’s time, and made you do a lot of scrolling. This has been a learning experience for me, and not all bad by any means.

    Not sayin’ goodbye, ‘cuz I’ll be around, but will probably ignore comments made to me and will probably just lurk.

    Take care

    Like

  206. Tom,

    If I wanted to assassinate your character, I would do that.

    What I wanted to do is to express frustration at the fact that every.single.conversation with you ends badly. I didn’t claim it was all your fault. I didn’t put it down to bad character. I said what I meant. I wish that we could have civil conversations, and we can’t.

    Make of that what you will.

    Like

  207. Jeff Cagle
    Posted June 12, 2015 at 9:08 pm | Permalink
    Tom,

    If I wanted to assassinate your character, I would do that.

    What I wanted to do is to express frustration at the fact that every.single.conversation with you ends badly. I didn’t claim it was all your fault. I didn’t put it down to bad character. I said what I meant. I wish that we could have civil conversations, and we can’t.

    Make of that what you will.

    I make it it’s an Old Life problem, not mine. You spend so much time on personalities and discussing the discussions, and treat each other like dogspit. When I’m not around or there’s no Catholics to gnaw on, you turn on each other.

    I’m fascinated by this Crabbiness for Christ. It’s true–it’s like a car wreck, I can’t look away.

    Like

  208. TVD:
    I’m fascinated by this Crabbiness for Christ. It’s true–it’s like a car wreck, I can’t look away.>>>>

    That’s it! That’s what is so fascinating to watch about all this. Crabbiness for Christ.

    Well, there have been some good discussions, but then the Crabbiness takes over. It’s the weirdest thing.

    ———————————-

    AB, I didn’t mean that I was never going to comment again. I just won’t try to answer everyone’s questions. Don’t mean to ignore people or be disrespectful if they have wanted to engage me in polite conversation.

    Thanks, AB. Glad you’re okay. I was a little worried.

    Like

  209. A.

    I’m not picking a fight. Law vs. Gospel distinctions are awfully important. When you have some time let me know what you think about that. For instance, what was God giving Moses on Sinai? What was Jesus giving us in the Sermon on the Mount?

    Like

  210. …it makes no sense for a believer to say , “the gospel does not help sort out whether homosexuality should enjoy the sanction of marriage”…

    a period, it’s a question of law (not gospel), creation (not redemption). Unbelievers have equal access to law and creation, so they have a fair shot at sorting out non-redemptive matters, and often times they do it quite well. Nobody needs the gospel to know how to order society (they need it to sort out the church). Have you really never witnessed a believer getting creation wrong and an unbeliever getting it right? If not, come out from your cave. If so, how do you explain that?

    Like

  211. Mermaid, you belittle Protestantism no matter how nice you think you are, you’re going to get grief here.

    You say, yes, Roman Catholicism has problems and we don’t have ground to beat our breasts, just like Protestantism has evangelicalism, and you might get a more receptive hearing. But that wouldn’t confirm your switch. You need to prove your own superiority.

    It’s so obvious. If you have the truth, why don’t you use it on yourself?

    Like

  212. vd, t, if it’s an Old Life problem, why have other blogs banned you from commenting?

    And why do things also turn nasty with out at American Creation?

    It’s out there for everyone to see.

    Like

  213. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 12, 2015 at 10:49 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, if it’s an Old Life problem, why have other blogs banned you from commenting?

    And why do things also turn nasty with out at American Creation?

    It’s out there for everyone to see.

    Nice dirty pool, Butch. Well done. I’ve seen what people have said about you all across the internet. Homie don’t play that. 😉

    The answer to both is liberals, Butch. Facts and argument are like kryptonite to them. They push, I push back. They’re not used to that. That’s how they won the culture war, bullying the rest of us into giving awards to Bruce Jenner and baking gay wedding cakes.

    I hate to actually stay on topic and interrupt you trolling your own blog

    but as I wrote on the first page of this “discussion”

    sdb
    Posted June 10, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink
    “I think if the ssm revolution had unfolded like the no-fault divorce revolution, then your synopsis would more or less be correct. But it has unfolded like the miscegenation laws. Perhaps if the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition had used different language and our political allies hadn’t been such creeps (e.g., Ralph Reed, Sen. Vitter, Rep. Hastert, Rep. Gingrich, Sen. Craig, Rep. Foley) things could have unfolded differently but that isn’t the reality we face.”

    Yes, all the “cool” Christians, the ones who hang out in the elite circles, left the dirty work to unappetizing incompetents like those. No wonder they lost.

    And they did the same thing with Hobby Lobby and they’re going to do the same thing with gay wedding cakes and so on and so on down the line,* to the many things you predict. For Christians wanting to raise their children somewhere else than Gomorrah, it’s back to the catacombs.

    At least the Democrats are honest–when they turn against their principles for political gain, as Teddy Kennedy and Jesse Jackson and Al Gore did on abortion, and the Clintons and Obamas did on gay marriage–when Democrats abandon their values they stomp them into the ground, throw them in a dumpster and set it on fire. Then have them towed out to the ocean and used for target practice.

    Meanwhile, the “cool” people stand by silently at that too.

    Now, you’re not a liberal [according to you], but you do their dirty work by attacking their enemies, the Religious Right. Now, I don’t mind conscientious objectors, if your version of Two Kingdoms Theology demands you be a non-combatant.

    But you are a combatant, and an unwitting–or witless–ally of the bad guys. So that’s my point, Darryl. “Neutrality” is never neutral.

    Like

  214. I haven’t seen anything like Darryl, Tom, & Mrs. Webfoot since “Jules & Jim”.

    I think I’m boycotting their back & forth until further notice. Will report back if I find my life less enriched.

    Like

  215. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 12, 2015 at 10:37 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, “Reply to what I wrote”

    #who’sblogisitanyway

    I’m still waiting for your reply to the Phillies analogy.

    Butch, Butch, Butch.

    Sigh. This is where your army of sycophants gets me over a barrel. I reply to my fan mail and I write too much; I let pass a single fan letter from you, and I’m somehow dodging. Old Life gets you coming or going.

    But our colloquy is the priority, the rest is the sideshow. I apologize for letting them distract us.

    OK, without remembering what you wrote–and this is your 3rd shot at me on this, you must think it’s some of your best work–I’m going to click the link, and either take your zinger and zing you back or take your sincerity and sincere you back.

    I’m doing this live, people:

    “I’m still waiting for your reply to the [link] Phillies analogy.”

    https://oldlife.org/2015/06/white-smoke-over-synod-of-dordt/comment-page-7/#comment-326772

    your link to the Phillies analogy isn’t coming up.

    Dang, that’s live TV, folks. This one came out like Geraldo Rivera and Al Capone’s secret vault. Shoot us that Phillies thing again and I promise I’ll answer.

    And thx for asking, Darryl. I’m sure it’s a potent argument. No disrespect was intended in not addressing it. Baseball has a sacredness, it’s so.

    Like

  216. Erik Charter
    Posted June 12, 2015 at 11:49 pm | Permalink
    I haven’t seen anything like Darryl, Tom, & Mrs. Webfoot since “Jules & Jim”.

    I think I’m boycotting their back & forth until further notice.

    Please, please boycott, Erik. And the rest of you, too. Darryl and I have a colloquy going. He even wants me to reply to his “Phillies analogy.” We’re the same age, from the same town near Philadelphia. It’s a beautiful thing.

    It’s bony, thorny, jagged, and chafing, but it’s a colloquy, and it’s you who made it the main attraction. And to her credit, it was Mrs. Webfoot who put the proper topic on the floor

    For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

    Mrs. Webfoot nails the first question not just for all Christians, but for all men, regardless of religious stripe:

    [KJV] Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

    All theologizing must start with this. He said so Himself.

    Like

  217. It’s not so much crabbiness for Christ as it is this toxic mix of humorless, thin-skinned pietists of RC and prot stripe who are easily overwhelmed by other’s quips. Then there’s a few who are just bitter, for whom everything is an opportunity to take offense. Turds in the punch bowl.

    Like

  218. Little A, also give these a listen. Off to do some fly fishing with my wonderful children and enjoy the glory of God in creation. As AB says, next…

    Like

  219. Tom,

    Is “colloquy” a fancy word for “obsession”?

    You make my chronicling of “Drunk Ex-Pastors” look normal.

    Get a (better) life.

    Like

  220. C-dubs, this crazy train is readily identifiable. They like to throw smoke bombs of accusation and obfuscation to make it seem like a general malaise of hate and discontent, but it’s no great mystery or inoperable growth.

    Like

  221. Muddy marinates his discontent in pills, booze and tobacco and is charitable enough to mumble just out of earshot.

    Like

  222. d4v34x:Why can’t the apostates ever be the ones who throw a fit and leave?

    Apostate.

    I appreciate what my former pastor used to say about not knowing the heart the way the Lord does.: I don’t know if you are saved, but it’s not looking good. (specifically speaking of obvious, outwardly rebellious people)

    Anyway, Jesus says about some (thru Jude) v 22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.

    And I appreciate this straight forward, non-personalized warning to some you might be talking about d4v34x :

    “For example, I believe we have idols today in Romanism. Traditionally, Romanism venerates Mary, worships Mary. Venerates to worship the saints, venerates and worships angels. That’s idolatry. And at the same time, I really believe that many Roman Catholics have come to know Jesus Christ and I’m thankful, many priests have. And that’s super, thrilling. I praise God for that. But I’ll tell you something, when you come to know Jesus Christ and stay in that environment, an environment that fosters improper worship and worship of the wrong person and the wrong personality, you can’t stay there. You’re pushing your liberty to the edge where you’re going to have that affect your theology. Ultimately, you’re going to come up with some kind of a syncretism, some kind of a union.I had a lady…well, I mentioned something about it a few weeks ago and I got a letter from a dear lady and she was very conscientious and very concerned and also very angry. And she wrote me about six pages of, boy you know, it was just going up and down on the desk. You know, it just really was…and she was saying why…how can you attack the church of Jesus Christ and how can you attack…I’ve never attacked the church of Jesus Christ believe me. But how can you say that against those that are truly Christians. And she said I want you to know that I am a Christian, that I am a Roman Catholic, and I am a Christian, but I know the truth. I do not believe in the worship of Mary. I do believe in the worship of the saints and the veneration of angels and I do not believe in the actual sacrifice of Christ in the mass. And I do not believe this and I do not believe this. And you know, I wrote back and said you are no Catholic. You are a Christian. Thank God. What are you doing in there? If you stay there long enough, all that stuff is going to stay.”

    and he goes on: “The same thing is true in Protestantism. There are people who sit in a Protestant church where they know they’re not hearing the truth and idolatry is to think anything less of God than He is worthy of, right? And people will sit in a church year after year after year in a Protestant church and here untrue things about God and wonder why they have an emaciated Christian experience. They’re going to allow that stuff to infiltrate their true understanding of God and Christ and salvation until finally the whole thing gets confused and the same kind of syncretism that existed in Corinth and existed in Israel.” http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/1839)

    Like

  223. I teach a special yoga class that involves cigars, John Lee Hooker, and Templeton Rye Whiskey. “Hooker and Whiskey: What a Stretch.” Eh, that needs another tweak.

    Like

  224. vd, t, If you were to make a case for the superiority of the Phillies and only pointed to the 1950, 1980, and 2008 teams, someone could well question your argument by bringing up Chico Ruiz and 1964.

    It’s not that complicated seeing what I do here. But Bryan and the Jasons keep saying that 1964 doesn’t disprove anything they say about the superiority of the Phillies.

    Like

  225. ec, you hurt my feelings. I’m leaving Old Life altogether. The never that someone doesn’t think my exchanges with ec and greg vd, t and mermaid isn’t edifying.

    Like

  226. Darryl,

    Edifying is too high a bar. I’d settle for not resembling fingernails on a chalkboard.

    Plus, I don’t think you’re allowed to leave.

    Like

  227. Responding to Tom & Mrs. 10 times a day yields 20 more comments to respond to.

    Responding zero times a day might yield only 15.

    That’s a win.

    Like

  228. a period (the eeeevangelical), but you confuse law and gospel as much as Mrs. DoubleYou (the Catholic). Careful with all that “romanism” schtick.

    Like

  229. I am.

    The fan club all agrees, but they can’t remove their lips from your backside long enough to tell you.

    Like

  230. Erik, who’s the fan club? And what’s up with all the hall monitoring? You might want to beg off the first question, but I’d like to know what’s up with the second. You’ve been vibing convenient sanctimony with lead boots at different times since your recant and return.

    Like

  231. Erik Charter
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Permalink
    Responding to Tom & Mrs. 10 times a day yields 20 more comments to respond to.

    Responding zero times a day might yield only 15.

    That’s a win.

    See what happens when you try zero. And take that other fellow with you. Some days the two of you occupy all 10 of the Recent Comments. 😉
    ___________

    D. G. Hart
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, If you were to make a case for the superiority of the Phillies and only pointed to the 1950, 1980, and 2008 teams, someone could well question your argument by bringing up Chico Ruiz and 1964.

    It’s not that complicated seeing what I do here. But Bryan and the Jasons keep saying that 1964 doesn’t disprove anything they say about the superiority of the Phillies.

    I would make the case for the superiority of the Yankees, especially compared to the Camden Riversharks.

    All that for that? Dude.

    Like

  232. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, so you agree. Protestantism is superior to Roman Catholicism.

    That wasn’t so hard.

    Nice try. You think you fooled anyone with that one?

    Probably one or two. 😉

    Like

  233. vd, t, but you said the Yankees are superior. Every honest Phillies fan knows that. Roman Catholic apologists are like Phillies fans who think the Phillies are superior to the Yankees.

    Glad you agree.

    Like

  234. D. G. Hart
    Posted June 13, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, but you said the Yankees are superior. Every honest Phillies fan knows that. Roman Catholic apologists are like Phillies fans who think the Phillies are superior to the Yankees.

    Glad you agree.

    So saith the Camden Rivershark. 😉

    Like

  235. “And what’s up with all the hall monitoring?”

    Sean, it all depends on whether EC is Assistant Manager or Assistant to the Manager.

    Like

  236. a,

    To identity an antinomian you would first have to be able to identify law as opposed to gospel.

    How is that done?

    Like

  237. a period, because you think the gospel applies to marriage. Does it also bear on crime and punishment? Do you want your sheriff applying grace to criminals? Better lock your doors.

    Like

  238. Zrim, you keep changing the subject.. the Lord came to set the captives free from sin – can you really be neutral, even support ssm – don’t you want captives to be rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son

    Like

  239. James 2.8 – “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing right.”

    That’s it?

    So you would say an antinomian is someone who doesn’t love his neighbor as himself?

    Why do you think marriage is a gospel issue as opposed to a law issue? From your definition here it appears that it is more of a law issue.

    Isn’t a command to love a spouse similar to a command to love a neighbor?

    Like

  240. a,,

    If marriage is a “gospel issue”, what other things that we have in common with unbelievers are gospel issues?

    Both believers and unbelievers get married.

    Like

  241. Erik: “things that we have in common with unbelievers”

    how about things we have ‘uncommon’ with some ‘believers’
    even demons believe

    Like

  242. a – how about things we have ‘uncommon’ with some ‘believers’ even demons believe

    Erik – O.K. How about it?

    Like

  243. C’mon, a, let’s get this sorted out.
    1. Distinguish gospel from law.
    2. Distinguish moral law from civil law.
    3. Argue about what appropriate civil law should be, should you wish to be so imprudent.

    I don’t think you’ve understood #1 yet.

    Like

  244. I think a. is Petros peddling weaker sauce.

    They both make me miss Richard Smith. You knew exactly where that dude was coming from.

    Like

  245. unbelievers have one choice; believers have another because of receiving Jesus – to live by the power of the Spirit

    gotta go… . kids SS lesson today -1 John 1:5-2:6; John 12:35-36, 44-50

    have a good day guys.

    Like

  246. a period. to the contrary, the subject hasn’t changed one bit. Why does the gospel mean everyone will have the same political opinion on marriage? They don’t on theocracy. Some think idolatry should result in civil punishment, others don’t. If I don’t, does that mean I morally endorse idolatry? That’s a distinction between the moral and the political. You speak as if the gospel is the great political leveler, but it comes off as not really thinking seriously for more than two minutes.

    Like

  247. a., one way to put it is that the Gospel and the Law perform very different functions (cf 2 Cor 3, Gal 3). In the main, the Gospel justifies and sanctifies, while the Law exposes and directs. Both are good and necessary in the life of the believer, but they are confused at our peril (per Galatians, Romans).

    The Law was given to Adam thence through Moses and thus applies to all; the Gospel was given through Christ, such that its benefits are available only to believers.

    So since marriage is available to all, we view it as of the Law and not of the Gospel. And since it is not a sacrament (h/t: Reformers), it does not serve a Gospel function in our lives. Getting married does not supply grace.

    That doesn’t deny the fact that marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship to the church. It just means that that picture is a law-function, not a gospel-function.

    Like

  248. a. – unbelievers have one choice; believers have another because of receiving Jesus – to live by the power of the Spirit

    Erik – So you would say that the gospel is “to live by the power of the Spirit”?

    So the gospel is about how we live?

    Like

  249. Erik: So the gospel is about how we live?

    the gospel is salvation, the deliverance from the penalty, power, and presence of sin

    Like

  250. a. – the gospel is salvation, the deliverance from the penalty, power, and presence of sin

    Erik – So if someone has believed the gospel and still sins, they haven’t really believed the gospel?

    Like

  251. Erik – So if someone has believed the gospel and still sins, they haven’t really believed the gospel?

    Dear Erik , My little (born-again) children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 1 John 2:1 Love, Jesus

    His children – justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God – who is just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus- displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law. Rom 3:24-31

    Like

  252. Just like the last time the Warriors win it all, GST is led by a great shooter and defeating an opponent who is led by a very talented individual who is a total pant load and painful to have to watch as the media and refs baby him through another failure.

    Like

  253. Kent, he can be obtuse. He’s babied by the refs. “The Decision” was horrendously executed. But this might be the best finals performance in the history of the game. Just think – LBJ could have taken a team to the finals with you as the back up point guard.

    Curry’s got the life. He actually has capable team mates who can keep it close enough for three quarters so he’s tanned, rested, and ready to dominate. Love that one three pointer where he was running back while it was still in the air and did that snarly face.

    Like

  254. Is there a new rule that I missed that says that LeBron hasn’t committed an offensive foul unless the defender flies more than six feet backwards upon contact?

    No way Cleveland has a chance under normal NBA rules. Cleveland has the best player but Golden State has the best 9 players on the court after that.

    Like

  255. A depressing show the whole Finals, the worst of my 43 years of watching.

    I’ve seen some horrible teams get to the Finals, Iverson by himself, the Kidd Nets, any team that the Spurs beat in the Finals, but this year is just plain awful

    Oh well, the Warriors were the best all regular season and they are what they are and hopefully put an end to it quickly.

    Like

  256. He is up 2-1 and playing in front of his fans and….

    He totally QUITS out there from layup line.

    It’s hard to exactly pinpoint why he is so disappointing overall. I guess it’s could be because his job is to play sports but he wants to present a razxle-dazzle package beyond sports but has zero personality or killer instinct to be interesting beyond his game, when he wants to try.

    Like

  257. most recent thing like this was LaDainian Tomlinson sitting there on the bench for the fourth quarters of his playoffs games in San Diego. He wasn’t hurt enough to be carted off or leave the field. He just sat there quietly on the bench with his helmet tucked into his arm.

    WT* was that all about?

    Like

  258. And what if “What If?” ain’t?

    Check out David Murray’s article:

    Gay marriage is not primarily about gay marriage; it’s mainly about silencing gay consciences.

    Given that so few homosexuals and lesbians actually marry when given legal opportunity, their vigorous and often vicious campaign for gay marriage has always puzzled me.. . . .

    The answer lies in Romans 1v18-32, where the Apostle Paul explains what desperate measures that homosexuals (and other unrepentant sinners) take to silence the voice of their conscience. They hear God’s prohibition and condemnation in their consciences, hate it, and do everything they can to shut it up – including, in our own day, getting gay marriage legalized everywhere, even if relatively few ever make use of it. Because, in most cases, it’s not about the right to marry; it’s mainly a vain attempt to muffle the inner voice of conscience by multiplying and amplifying external voices of approval.

    If I’m wrong, then why don’t they leave alone the alleged minority who still disapprove of gay marriage. Why will they not tolerate any dissenters?

    Why?
    Thomas the troll gets it right for a change.
    It is all about Whatever is Not Forbidden is Required.
    That’s what makes Marriage Equality different than abortion and pornography so far, but look for retroactive measures.
    Which was what the HobbyLobby thing was all about.

    Meanwhile in Corinth, Iowa a guy wants to join the church and he’s married to his boyfriend stepmother (1 Cor. 5:1).
    Division reigns because the jury is still out on whether the gospel has anything to do with marriage.

    Last but not least, the reason why heterosexuals are not marrying, but shacking up? Narcissism/lovers of pleasure, much more that yeah, sexual promiscuity in time leads to sexual perversion.

    But that still doesn’t excuse the latter or make it go away.

    But then again, maybe the gospel isn’t supposed to/won’t make it go away either, ya think?

    cheers

    Like

  259. Bob S. – Last but not least, the reason why heterosexuals are not marrying, but shacking up?

    Erik – 90% of the reason is women who have been duped.

    A wise woman (1) makes it legal so 50% of what he owns is hers, (2) doesn’t get with a guy that she is carrying financially.

    Like

  260. I haven’t been in town, so I haven’t stopped by here in a while. But given that I identify as queer (or at least heteroflexible), I’ll chime in.

    I pretty much agree with DGH. Same-sex marriage (SSM) is a non-issue. In my view, it contains the seed of its own obsolescence. In fact, we don’t even have to speculate about this. We can simply look at Canada, Australia, and western Europe. The main effect of SSM is a movement away from a romantic-erotic view of marriage towards a more pragmatic-contractual view of marriage. As this latter view of marriage takes hold, the number of SSMs seems to decline. Why is this?

    I’d argue that’s because there is no such thing as “heterosexuality” and “homosexuality.” These are largely socially constructed categories that are heavily influenced by debunked Freudian psycho-sexual theories. Truth be told, most of us are a lot more sexually fluid than we realize. In fact, as Lisa Diamond’s research has shown, even most gay-identifying people are actually more attracted to the opposite sex than to the same sex. Thus, the primary difference between “gay” and “straight” lies not so much in sexual attraction, but in how people respond to society’s stigmatization of the same-sex aspects of that sexual fluidity. In fact, very few people actually are primarily attracted to members of the same sex (maybe 1%). Even so, very few people are exclusively attracted to members of the opposite sex (maybe 3%). So, the chief problem lies in that our definition of “normal” does not actually describe the normal condition of most people. To be “normal,” people have to repress something.

    Once we stop stigmatizing same-sex attraction, most people will be able to assess their sexual fluidity better. Moreover, most (>99%) will come to assess that they are primarily attracted to the opposite sex, thereby rendering same-sex marriage largely obsolete.

    In a somewhat ironic sense, evangelical Christians are the culture’s most staunch defenders of modernist Freudian views of sexuality. I’d suggest that this has more to do with the simplicity of the Freudian formulation than with its actual merits. After all, there’s nothing that evangelicals hate more than complexity and ambiguity.

    Like

  261. Bobby,

    I heard you were summering on Fire Island.

    You used “fluidity” way too many times in that post for my comfort level.

    Count me in the 3%. I totally dig chicks.

    Like

  262. Erik,

    Those who are quickest to disavow same-sex attractions are usually the ones who are trying hardest to repress them.

    Honestly, I don’t know why so many American men fear fluidity. The Japanese, for example, are quite fine with it. I didn’t think that I was sexually fluid either until I took a three-year work assignment in Japan. In my view, the honesty leads to the Japanese to be much less hung up about sex, nudity, etc. Sex is simply viewed as a much more prosaic part of life.

    Like

  263. Bobby,

    Now you’ve made it worse by prefacing “fluid” with “sexually”.

    I’m pretty sure I’m in the 3%, but If you send Sean over in yoga pants I might be willing to re-assess.

    I actually think you’re about 90% off on that 3% figure. You started out here with potential, but get increasingly wack every time you reappear.

    Like

  264. Bobby, I don’t know. I had a lot of opportunities to be sexually ‘fluid’ with the same sex and I can’t say it ever crossed my mind much less rose to the level of sexual attraction. Innate sexual attraction reinterpreted as primarily social construct? That seems like a reach. I know some guys and gals who got confused and struggle/d after coercive encounters but that’s trauma induced not capitulation to an ‘unnatural’ social constraint. And, of course, I know some folks who just have plain same sex attraction. I imagine there’s everything in between, from rebellion, to drug induced, to boredom, to debasement, to the aforementioned trauma induced spirals, but false freudian social construct as primary driver? That’s just trying too hard.

    Like

  265. Erik, I’m sure I’m not familiar, but go ahead and get whatever you need off your chest. This is a safe place.

    Like

  266. Bobby, where does your theorizing leave any room for non-sexualized friendship between same sexes (the kind that allows a man to say his wife, contrary to modern romanticism, isn’t his best friend and vice versa)? It almost seems like it takes that category and sexualizes it in the name of “fluidity.”

    Like

  267. Zrim,

    Do folks in OPC circles not read Foucault? I’m not saying anything that Foucault and most scholars on this topic haven’t said.

    I think I would say that, because sexuality is a part of who we are, there’s probably no aspect of our lives that isn’t affected by it in some way. That only becomes creepy, though, if you insist on drawing certain Freudian conclusions from it. I think we would be much better off if we could move beyond our Oedipal obsessions. In an odd sort of way, conservative evangelicals are Freud’s last and fiercest defenders.

    Like

  268. Bobby, sure, if sexual fixation is the tie that binds. But isn’t this part of the problem in the culture wars, reducing complex human beings to one aspect of being human, their sexuality? Not to sound like a philistine here (I’m liberally educated, Freud has his merits), and I’m as red blooded as the next male, but seeing sex everywhere and under every doily seems not a little problematic.

    Like

  269. Bobby – Do folks in OPC circles not read Foucault?

    Erik – No, not that they would admit to.

    Like

  270. Sean – I imagine there’s everything in between, from rebellion, to drug induced, to boredom, to debasement, to the aforementioned trauma induced spirals,

    Erik – Sometimes all in the same evening…

    Like

  271. The Onion is on this story:

    Department Of Interior Sets Aside 50,000 Acres Of Federal Land For Anonymous Sexual Encounters

    WASHINGTON—Replacing the patchwork of empty fields, municipal parks, and wooded roadside areas throughout the country where Americans currently engage in such recreational activity, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced Friday that it had set aside 50,000 acres of federal land for anonymous sexual encounters. “It’s vitally important that U.S. citizens, both now and in the future, have access to a designated, federally protected expanse of dense wilderness and verdant undergrowth in which they can furtively solicit and engage in sex with strangers,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, adding that the lands, which span remote portions of southern Wyoming and northern Colorado, would feature plenty of small forest clearings, abundant tucked-away gullies, and numerous bathroom facilities where individuals could embark on spontaneous, uninhibited trysts with nameless strangers. “Every American should have the right to experience the thrill of flashing one’s car headlights in a dimly lit parking lot, retreating into the park’s vast expanses of tall grasses, and engaging in surreptitious and liberating sexual activity under the cover of darkness before wordlessly departing, never to see that partner again.” Jewell then revealed that an additional 10,000 acres directly adjacent to the parkland would be set aside for perverts who like to peer in and watch that type of thing.

    Like

  272. Zrim,

    I don’t think it’s problematic unless you see sexuality as something other than ordinary. Most Japanese towns have fertility festivals, where young kids carry around big replicas of male penises. In short, seeing sex everywhere is only a problem if you’re drawing certain Freudian inferences from it.

    Further, most people are terrible at perceiving their own erotic-romantic preferences. We tend to describe those preferences in terms of socially constructed ideals. When placed into actual situations, people rarely choose in accordance with those preferences. This is especially true when people claim membership in subcultures that may stigmatize certain preferences. In most cases, people will not admit to themselves that they exhibit preferences that may run counter to such subcultures’ dictates, even if there’s ample objective evidence to the contrary. In fact, I’d suggest that the tendency of American men in conservative subcultures to “defeminize” themselves is probably a consequence of repressing underlying sexual fluidity.

    I largely denied these things as well. But when I was a grad student, I worked on a project in which we collaborated with a research group at a university in Japan. So, I moved to Japan for three years and lived among early-20-something Japanese guys for three years. It was a fairly eye-opening experience. They were just much less anxious about sex and their bodies than we are. In fact, the whole gay/straight thing doesn’t make sense to most Japanese, at least in terms of an orientation. There’s a social expectation that one eventually marry someone of the opposite sex and further the race, but this is seen as having more to do with third-party obligations than with expressions of one’s sexual orientation. I did not engage in gay sex while I lived there (and haven’t since). But most guys in my had hooked up with each other from time to time, and didn’t really think that much about it. Most of these guys are now happily married to women and have kids.

    Like

  273. “I’d argue that’s because there is no such thing as “heterosexuality” and “homosexuality.” These are largely socially constructed categories that are heavily influenced by debunked Freudian psycho-sexual theories.”

    No concepts of hetero or homo until 1900. Uh huh.

    “very few people actually are primarily attracted to members of the same sex (maybe 1%). Even so, very few people are exclusively attracted to members of the opposite sex (maybe 3%).”

    1%. 3%. From where do you pull these figures?

    “Honestly, I don’t know why so many American men fear fluidity. The Japanese, for example, are quite fine with it” “Most Japanese towns have fertility festivals, where young kids carry around big replicas of male penises.“

    You are quite selective in the way you draw conclusions from cultural practices as you jettison most of the history of the world and hold up, umm, Japan as a model.

    “Further, most people are terrible at perceiving their own erotic-romantic preferences. We tend to describe those preferences in terms of socially constructed ideals.”

    Except you are somehow exempt.

    Foucault? Your views look like old time paganism.

    Like

  274. Bobby, Foucault is not read and likely not spelled correctly.

    But the problem you face is that the gay lobby has based its argument on the notion that homosexuality is like race — it’s genetic. Not real fluid there. See what’s happened to Iggy Azalea?

    Like

  275. Bobby, we once hosted Japanese exchange students for a local college program. I can’t say this was ever noted particularly either in theory or practice. In fact, Japanese culture seems quite modest. maybe it was just our two awkward boys, but I can’t imagine either of them carrying around phallic pieces without dying of embarrassment.

    Like

  276. Bobby – Most Japanese towns have fertility festivals, where young kids carry around big replicas of male penises.

    Erik – Just when I was thinking this thread couldn’t go downhill any further…

    Bobby – Further, most people are terrible at perceiving their own erotic-romantic preferences.

    Erik – God’s given men a pretty good method to “perceive” said preferences…

    Bobby – When placed into actual situations, people rarely choose in accordance with those preferences.

    Erik – If this weren’t a family website I could probably cite over 2,000 actual situations where I’ve chosen in accordance with my preferences over 22 years of marriage.

    I think you are talking absolute shite.

    Like

  277. Aren’t Japanese people also really excited about Hello Kitty?

    Not sure they should be our standard.

    Like

  278. I kind of grew up thinking that life would be like Penthouse Forum letters, and I know a few people who actually lived like this (less so as they got older).

    But I kind of haven’t sought out this kind of lifestyle and don’t want it anyways.

    Like

  279. I’m going to ask my wife. My colleagues. The folks at church. People here.

    “Have you not read Foucault?” (Flavor with haughty surprise)

    Like

  280. Erik, (unshun), arrogant and self-important Americans have plenty to learn from modest and self-effacing Japanese (reshun).

    Like

  281. Anthropologists have found entire city blocks that can’t help themselves when this song plays…

    (great song)

    Like

  282. Kent tipped me off to a great movie to understand the Japanese – Paul Schrader’s “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters”.

    Like

  283. Good movie, great soundtrack.

    My favourite work from Glass, I like how everything he does sounds like:

    this
    this this
    this this this
    is
    is is
    is is is
    lame
    lame lame
    lame lame lame

    Like

  284. Highlight of Christian college was the Christian Ethics class where I routinely took the opposite side on most every issue from the other 15 students in the class — and the professor.

    Also great was the Western Civ class freshman year where the students noted that an old test was available with which they could memorize the pattern of answers for the upcoming test. I enjoyed mentioning that to the professor in front of the class of 60. The groans were audible.

    Good times.

    Like

  285. In the sixth deal of a Texas no-hold’em game with more around the table than would be needed and a $200 buy in, I noticed the King of Diamonds as a hole card was a little bit off in colour from the other.

    So when the next deal ended and the top unturned card on the unused card pile seemed light, I turned it over and it was the King of Diamonds. I calmly asked for a new deck and gave my reasons why, half the table looked very angry, but I said it didn’t matter for the prior hands.

    I should have said “is your card the King of Diamonds?” and then turned it over from the pile, that would have led to a few acts of violence.

    Like

  286. Most recent highlight was a congregational meeting on which a Christian school related issue arose. Me and three other guys enjoyed taking on the Davy Crockett at The Alamo role against the other 25 in attendance.

    Like

  287. @DGH

    I now attend a progressive evangelical mega-church. I find that it fits better with my neoliberal assumptions about life than the PCUSA.

    Like

  288. Bobby,

    Do you change your underwear or your theological convictions more frequently?

    Boxers or bikini briefs?

    Like

  289. “I actually love Japan. I find it to be the closest thing to a perfect neoliberal culture.”
    Wow! Given the ongoing widespread racist, xenophobic, and sexist attitudes that presently prevail in Japan coupled with one of the highest suicide rates and lowest fertility rates in the world, I have to wonder about someone who finds Japan to be the “perfect neoliberal culture”.

    “Most Japanese towns have fertility festivals” So did Canaan & Rome – this isn’t exactly something to commend these societies. I wonder if their prosaic attitude about sex played a role in the rape of nanking and the treatment of Korea over the years?

    Like

  290. I guess I’m missing out on implementing Foucault and Japanese fertility parades into my daily walk with Jesus from Nazareth.

    I have read a few books by Dr F, it helped me with my congenital exuberance for the postmodern world, but it didn’t stand out amongst the other 50 or so “serious” writers I’ve enjoyed or had to plow through.

    Like

  291. sdb, sure, if one wants to vilify a whole society or even a theoretical culture. Just link both to all manner of vice and then to each other, laced with stats which can be made to say whatever one wants.

    Like

  292. let’s see if we can get Greg interested in a very very light reading of the first 10 pages of Foucault, it would be more interesting than the perpetual hamster wheel rut of attempts to define Van Til in less than 140 words.

    Like

  293. We had a South Korean student in our home for a year, and she was pretty upfront about her loathing for the Japanese. When my daughter went to South Korea she found out why: multiple historical sites related to the ravages inflicted by the Japanese upon Koreans. Just FYI.

    Kent, that’s cruel. But I’ll pay you 10 OL Bucks if you get him to do it.

    Like

  294. sdb, it’s all relative. By perfection, some antagonists might mean that’s exactly what neoliberalism yields–vice. Isn’t this the same tactic certain propagandists use to indict western civilization, i.e. the west with all its liberties is addled with all manner of social ills? But others like Bobby mean something quite the opposite and could probably come up with stats to back it up. All of which to certain observers can look rather like a sophisticated Miller Lite commercial.

    Like

  295. Muddy, I guess it might take a few times to sit down over a coffee to discuss our differences before he takes on the assignment.

    Nanking still evokes strong emotions in my colleagues, even 3 generations later, that won’t ever be forgotten (and hopefully not enacted in revenge over the next 300 years)

    Like

  296. “All of which to certain observers can look rather like a sophisticated Miller Lite commercial.”
    Hey, no hitting below the belt!

    Like

  297. Zrim,

    I think I’d probably sum up my views along the lines of Richard Posner: “In a world of limited resources, the only sin is waste.” In my view, nothing brings us closer to the mind of God than efforts at minimizing transaction costs. Thus, we should be constantly subjecting every human institution to econometric analysis to ensure that we aren’t promoting transactionally inefficient models of living.

    Like

  298. Bobby
    Posted June 18, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
    Zrim,

    I think I’d probably sum up my views along the lines of Richard Posner: “In a world of limited resources, the only sin is waste.” In my view, nothing brings us closer to the mind of God than efforts at minimizing transaction costs. Thus, we should be constantly subjecting every human institution to econometric analysis to ensure that we aren’t promoting transactionally inefficient models of living.

    That’s funny because I have always thought that thrift is the most overrated of “virtues.” The Bible teaches more the opposite, to be fruitful and multiply. The Prodigal goes off and blows his inheritance, but is taken back and a party is thrown. The servant who buries his talents instead of growing them is cast out. That sort of thing.

    I’ve never seen the sola scriptura Bible roundup on this, and I know y’all don’t do “worldview,” but I think a fear of waste is not Judeo-Christian, in fact the opposite.

    Like

  299. Tom, if thrift is a sin (well, maybe not Bobby’s kind of thrift) I live among antinomians. But surely this is a cultural thing to some extent. Serious question, Tom – in what kind of cultural/family setting did you grow up?

    Like

  300. @tvd the point of the prodigal parable is that he had to repent of what he had done. He wasn’t being rewarded for squandering. The illustration of the talents was to condemn squandering…burying resources instead of growing them.

    “Waste not, want not” may not be in the bible, but the sentiment arose in a Calvinist milieu. Perhaps why dutch, scots, and new Englanders have reputations for being so…thrifty. Fear of waste is a major theme in Edwards too (mostly in context of time). If I were a triumphalist prot, I might point out this is part of why prot nations are better than RC ones…paging Mr. Weber…

    That being said, at the risk of prolonging the dick phallic slinging contest with zrim, I find Bobby’s perspective utterly blinkered. Waste matters but it isn’t foundational.

    Like

  301. TVD, how you get a point about thrift from the story of the prodigal is odd. It’s about repentance.This might explain a few things about how you read and conclude. Still, in championing the Judeo-Christian worldview and opposing gay marriage you’ve made the arguably pragmatic point before that marriage is about procreation, filling the earth, the alleged right of children to have a father and a mother, etc. The implication would seem to be that gay marriage is a waste of resources since it doesn’t produce more human beings to fill the earth. Now you tell us the Judeo-Christian ethic has nothing against waste?

    Like

  302. Bobby almost came to the Hart/Strange Conference in Des Moines if I remember correctly.

    And the Bible warns against hoarding resources and against spending them foolishly so you are all both right and wrong. Be prudent, but generous. You can’t take it with you.

    Like

  303. Bobby,

    Thus, we should be constantly subjecting every human institution to econometric analysis to ensure that we aren’t promoting transactionally inefficient models of living.

    But who econometrically analyzes the econometric analysts?

    Like

  304. TVD: I’ve never seen the sola scriptura Bible roundup on this, and I know y’all don’t do “worldview,” but I think a fear of waste is not Judeo-Christian, in fact the opposite.

    Once again, for the 85th time by my count, Tom pretends to give a rat’s behind about exegesis, he just floats the empty and vapid “I’ve never seen”, mainly because he doesn’t care at all.

    And when he is answered for the 85th time he shakes it off and pretends he wasn’t 100% answered and gets ready for the 86th asking….

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s