SSM round-up

by Jesse Johnson

“Yesterday I wrote about three obvious questions from the recent scrap about gay marriage. Today’s post is for those that have been sleeping for the past week and missed the controversy all together.  If you suffer from gay-marriage-controversy overload, you may have missed the newest twists and turns, which is a shame because you missed some really good writing.  Today I want to give a round-up of what others have written, and direct you to some of the better posts on this issue.

But first a little history: in the past few months gay “marriage” has been legalized in 17 states. Most of these saw marriage legalized by judges, and a few saw the turn at the ballot box. Since then there has been a tidal wave of additional lawsuits in the remaining 33 states that ban it. Every indicator is that those bans will fall as well.

In the meantime, some same-sex couples have sued bakers, photographers, and florists who have declined to provide their services to gay weddings. Denny Burk has a powerful articledetailing one of those examples.  The gist is that the florist served a couple she knew to be homosexual for almost ten years, and she considered them to be her friends. They then asked her business to provide flowers for their wedding, she refused, and was reported to the state, who filed suit against her (I wrote about these cases here).

This took gay marriage to whole new level. No longer is it something that can simply be recognized by the state, but it has morphed rapidly into something that every citizen could be force to actively approve of.  When a Christian DJ, pastor, baker, florist, or photographer refuses to service a same-sex ceremony, they fall on the wrong side of the law.

Tweet from Kevin DeYoung @RevKevDeYoung: “Marie Antoinette to French peasants: “Let them eat cake.” U.S. courts to Christian bakers: “Let them eat cake….or else.””

Some states (including Arizona and Kansas) proposed legislation that would specifically allow Christian business owners to decline service to same-sex marriage ceremonies without running afoul of the law. A good summary of what these proposals would/would not do is found at Christian Post. But these proposed laws were attacked, and eventually were discarded after a tsunami of public opposition. Ironically, some of that opposition was led by Christian columnists, such as Kirstin Powers (USA Today, who compared them to Jim Crow laws) and Jonathan Merritt (Daily Beast, who called these business leaders hypocrites for providing service to people on their second marriages). Together, their main point was essentially a WWJD kind of argument, and they suggested that Jesus the carpenter would have built the stage for a same-sex wedding, had he only been offered the job.

As for a response, I strongly suggest you read Al Mohler who systematically dismantled Powers’ and Merritt’s columns. Douglas Wilson offered his response as well (“Put an egg in their shoe” which is well worth reading for the way he interacts with Romans 1, and also for this sentence: “ I don’t know much about Merritt, but what I have seen seems to indicate someone who is being wafted along by the breezes emanating from the Zeitgeist Wind Farm, which is a bad metaphor because that’s not how wind farms work.”).

Meanwhile, Russell Moore responded to the accusation that it is hypocritical for Christians not to endorse same-sex ceremonies if they would sell their wares to a person on their second marriage.

Telling in most of the articles that compared Christians to racists is that the authors generally missed the distinction between denying service to a person because they are gay, and declining to use their business to promote a same-sex ceremony. I have not heard of any Christian arguing that others should not serve homosexuals (despite the hysteria on the issue), but instead have only heard of Christians arguing that they should not be forced by the government to make cakes for gay marriages. It is a distinction lost on Powers and Merritt, but strangely enough, one that was grasped by what is certainly the best secular post on this issue (here, at The Atlantic; I really recommend you read this, although you do have to get through the author saying, “You might not believe this, but I actually know a few Christians who are not bigots!” Yeah? Well I actually know an Atlantic columnist that isn’t condescending, but I digress).

Finally, if you are going to only read one of these posts, I suggest this one: The Institute on Religion and Democracy has a staff editorial (“Jonathan Merritt, Christian Artistic Expression and the Preferential Option for Caesar”). They summarize this issue quite well, and show the folly of asking the government to compel people’s consciences at the expense of religious freedom. It really is a must read.

Where does this leave us?

Eric Teetsel at the Manhattan Declaration gives a ten-minute crash course in why Christians should care about these issues. But ultimately we are seeing Romans 1 validated and vindicated  right before us.  In a culture ruled by homosexuality and idolatry, it is not enough to simply do evil, but it has to be celebrated and affirmed as moral good. And not being satisfied with the freedom to practice evil, those who are on this road insist that their own evil must be applauded by others. If you refuse… well, as Eric Erickson wrote almost one year ago, “you will be made to care.” Or, as the prophet of our day has said:

Tweet from Church Curmudgeon @ChrchCurmudgeon: “Coexist. Or else.””

-Jesse Johnson, 02-27-14, http://thecripplegate.com/ssm-round-up/

 

Gay is Not the New Black

by Voddie Baucham

It’s hard to deny that homosexual marriage appears to be a foregone conclusion in America. This is a frightening prospect not only for those of us who understand marriage to be a testimony of the relationship between Christ and his bride, the church, but also for all who value the family and its contribution to the well-being of society and human thriving. And while it’s difficult to watch a coordinated, well-funded, well-connected propaganda strategy undermine thousands of years of human history, it’s especially disconcerting to witness the use of the civil rights struggle as the vehicle for the strategy.

The idea that same-sex “marriage” is the next leg in the civil rights race is ubiquitous. One of the clearest examples of the conflation of homosexual “marriage” and civil rights is Michael Gross’s article in The Advocate, in which he coins the now-popular phrase “Gay is the new black.”1 Gross is not alone in his conflation of the two issues, however. At a 2005 banquet, Julian Bond, former head of the NAACP, said, “Sexual disposition parallels race. I was born this way. I have no choice. I wouldn’t change it if I could. Sexuality is unchangeable.”2

Nor is this kind of thinking exclusive to the political left. When asked by GQ magazine if he thought homosexuality was a choice, Michael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, replied:

Oh, no. I don’t think I’ve ever really subscribed to that view, that you can turn it on and off like a water tap. Um, you know, I think that there’s a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can’t simply say, oh, like, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being gay.” It’s like saying, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being black.”3

Even the California Supreme Court bought in to this line of reasoning. In a February 2008 decision they reasoned:

Furthermore, in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation—like a person’s race or gender—does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.4 (emphasis added)

The California Supreme Court, like Gross, would have us believe that the homosexual struggle for a redefinition of marriage puts them in the same category as my ancestors. However, they would rather you didn’t take a closer look, lest you see how flimsy the comparison turns out to be.

Unidentifiable Minority

The first problem with the idea of conflating “sexual orientation” and race is the fact that homosexuality is undetectable apart from self-identification. Determining whether or not a person is black, Native American, or female usually involves no more than visual verification. However, should doubt remain, blood tests, genetics, or a quick trip up the family tree would suffice. Not so with homosexuality. There is no evidence that can confirm or deny a person’s claims regarding sexual orientation.5

Moreover, the homosexual community itself has made this identification even more complicated in an effort to distance itself from those whose same-sex behavior they find undesirable. The Jerry Sandusky case is a prime example. Sandusky is accused of molesting numerous young boys during and after his tenure at Penn State. However, try placing the label “homosexual” on his activities and the backlash will be swift and unequivocal. “Pedophiles are not homosexuals!” is the consistent refrain coming from the homosexual community, media, academia, and the psychological/medical establishment.6

Hence, it seems same-sex attraction alone isn’t enough to identify a person as a homosexual. And what about LUGSin college, or same-sex relationships in prison? Are these people homosexual? How about men who are extremely effeminate but prefer women, or those who once were practicing homosexuals but have since come out of the lifestyle (i.e., 1 Cor. 6:9-11)? In short, it’s impossible to identify who is or is not a homosexual. As a result, how do we know to whom the civil rights in question should be attributed? Should a man who isn’t a homosexual (assuming we could determine such a thing) but tries to enter a same-sex union be treated the same as a woman who isn’t Native American but tries to claim it to win sympathy, or casino rights, or votes?

But this isn’t the only problem with the civil rights angle.

Unalterable Definition

An additional problem with the “gay is the new black” argument is the complete disconnect between same-sex “marriage” and anti-miscegenation laws. First, there is a categorical disconnect. Miscegenation literally means “the interbreeding of people considered to be of different racial types.” Ironically, the fact that homosexuals cannot “interbreed” shines a spotlight on the problem inherent in their logic. How can forbidding people who actually have the ability to interbreed be the same thing as acknowledging the fact that two people categorically lack that ability?8

Second, there is a definitional disconnect. The very definition of marriage eliminates the possibility of including same-sex couples. The word marriage has a long and well-recorded history; it means “the union of a man and a woman.” Even in cultures that practice polygamy, the definition involves a man and several women. Therefore, while anti-miscegenation laws denied people a legitimate right, the same cannot be said concerning the denial of marriage to same-sex couples; one cannot be denied a right to something that doesn’t exist.

It should be noted that the right to marry is one of the most frequently denied rights we have. People who are already married, 12-year-olds, and people who are too closely related are just a few categories of people routinely and/or categorically denied the right to marry. Hence, the charge that it is wrong to deny any person a “fundamental right” rings hollow. There has always been, and, by necessity, will always be discrimination in marriage laws.

Third, there is a historical disconnect. As early as the time of Moses, recorded history is replete with interracial marriages. In our own history, the marriage of John Rolfe and Pocahontas in the 17th century,9 along with the fact that anti-miscegenation laws were usually limited only to the intermarrying of certain “races” of people (i.e., black and white), stands as historical evidence of the legal and logical inconsistency of such laws. Thus, unlike same-sex “marriage” advocates, those fighting for the right to intermarry in the civil rights era had history on their side.

Fourth, there is a legal disconnect. One thing that seems to escape most people in this debate is the fact that homosexuals have never been denied the right to marry. They simply haven’t had the right to redefine marriage. But don’t take my word for it; listen to the Iowa Supreme Court in their decision in favor of same-sex “marriage”: “It is true the marriage statute does not expressly prohibit gay and lesbian persons from marrying; it does, however, require that if they marry, it must be to someone of the opposite sex.”

There it is: not only in black and white, but in a legal decision. Homosexuals haven’t been deprived of any right. How, then, do those on the side of same-sex marriage continue to make the claim that this is a civil rights issue? The key is in the next paragraph:

[The] right of a gay or lesbian person under the marriage statute to enter into a civil marriage only with a person of the opposite sex is no right at all. Under such a law, gay or lesbian individuals cannot simultaneously fulfill their deeply felt need for a committed personal relationship, as influenced by their sexual orientation, and gain the civil status and attendant benefits granted by the statute.

I feel the need to remind the reader that this is a legal decision, since phrases like “gay or lesbian individuals cannot simultaneously fulfill their deeply felt need for a committed personal relationship” tend to sound out of place in such a document. Further, this is asinine logic. For example, following this line of reasoning, one could argue, “I have the right to join the military, but I am a pacifist. Therefore, I don’t really have the right (since it would be repulsive to me). Therefore, we need to establish a pacifist branch of the military so that I can fulfill both my desire to join, and my desire not to fight.”

However, this reasoning is critically important in order to make the next leap in logic. “[A] gay or lesbian person can only gain the same rights under the statute as a heterosexual person by negating the very trait that defines gay and lesbian people as a class—their sexual orientation.”

Unsustainable Precedent

Perhaps the most damning aspect of the civil rights argument is logical unsustainability. If sexual orientation/identity is the basis for (1) classification as a minority group, and (2) legal grounds for the redefinition of marriage, then what’s to stop the “bisexual” from fighting for the ability to marry a man and a woman simultaneously since his “orientation” is, by definition, directed toward both sexes?10 What about the member of NAMBLA whose orientation is toward young boys?11 Where do we stop, and on what basis?

Homosexual advocates are loath to answer this question. In fact, they are adept at avoiding it (and are rarely pressed on the point). However, the further legal implications of court decisions about same-sex marriage are inevitable. Nowhere is this clearer than inLawrence v. Texas. In the majority decision, Justice Kennedy wrote:

These matters [of homosexual marriage], involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.12

I have no legal training, and I recognize the limits of my ability to fully evaluate the implications of such a decision. However, I do take notice when Justice Scalia responds to this assertion by stating:

I have never heard of a law that attempted to restrict one’s “right to define” certain concepts; and if the passage calls into question the government’s power to regulate actions based on one’s self-defined “concept of existence, etc.,” it is the passage that ate the rule of law.13(emphasis added)

Inescapable Confrontation

It is very important for those of us who oppose the idea of same-sex “marriage” to do so not because we wish to preserve our version of the American Dream, but because we view marriage as a living, breathing picture of the relationship between Christ and his church (Eph. 5:22ff), and because we know that God has designed the family in a particular way. While the design of the family promotes human thriving (Gen 1:27-28), the testimony points people to their only hope in this life and the next. As a result, silence on this issue is not an option.

Unfortunately (and quite ironically), many Christians have been bullied into silence by the mere threat of censure from the homosexual lobby. “Oppose us and you’re no better than Gov. Wallace, Hitler, and those homophobes who killed Matthew Shepard!” is their not-so-subtle refrain. Consequently, we spend so much time trying to prove we’re not hate-filled murderers that we fail to recognize that the Emperor has no clothes. There is no legal, logical, moral, biblical, or historical reason to support same-sex “marriage.” In fact, there are myriad reasons not to support it. I’ve only provided a few.

-Voddie Baucham,  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/07/19/gay-is-not-the-new-black/


1 Michael Joseph Gross, “Gay is the New Black,” The Advocate, November 16, 2008 (available online at http://www.advocate.com/exclusive_detail_ektid65744.asp).

2 Ertha Melzer, “NAACP chair says ‘gay rights are civil rights,'” Washington Blade, April 8, 2005. It should also be noted that the NAACP recently endorsed same-sex marriage (http://graftedthemovie.blogspot.com/p/watch-grafted.html)—significant since the organization exists for the “Advancement of ‘Colored’ People.”

3 Micheal Steele interview in “The Reconstructionist,” by Lisa Paulo, GQ (March 2009), available at http://www.gq.com/blogs/the-q/2009/03/-the-reconstructionist-michael-steele.html.

5 Even if brain studies, twin studies, etc., provided conclusive links (which they do not), one would still be left with the fact that while blackness and maleness are attributes one cannot deny, homosexual behavior is not. Thus, even if there were a genetic connection, it would be insufficient to propel sexual orientation into the same category as race or sex.

7 The term “Lesbian Until Graduation” refers to young women who participate in lesbian relationships only during the duration of their college life.

8 It is important to note that this is a categorical distinction, and not a determination based on fertility. Otherwise, the same could be said about men and women beyond child-bearing years, or those with defects preventing conception.

9 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/pocahontas-marries-john-rolfe. Though it is commonly thought that Pocahontas married John Smith, it was actually English tobacco farmer John Rolfe whom she married on April 5, 1614, in Jamestown, Virginia.

10 See Elizabeth Emens’s February 2003 Chicago Law School White paper,MONOGAMY’S LAW: COMPULSORY MONOGAMY AND POLYAMOROUS EXISTENCE,available at http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/58-monogamy.pdf.

11 North American Man/Boy Love Association. Their motto is “Eight is Too Late.” http://www.nambla.org

12 Justice Kennedy Majority Opinion, “John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner, Petitioners V. Texas ” in 539 U. S. (2003), ed. Supreme Court of the United States (2003).

13 Antonin Scalia Dissenting Opinion, “John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner, Petitioners V. Texas ” in 539 U. S. (2003), ed. Supreme Court of the United States (2003).

Mutual Submission: Biblical or a Myth?

Tim Challies brings us another gem in his article on a consistently controversial yet vitally important subject. This post reminds us to shape our theology on a proper interpretation of the Word of God, not because of social pressure or political correctness.

“There is a lot of debate over how to take the command in Ephesians 5:18-21 to “Be filled with the Spirit … submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” How you interpret this text is, for many, the dividing line between being egalitarian or complementarian in their view of the roles of men and women in general and husbands and wives in particular.

The two main lines of interpretation are

1. “Submitting to one another” indicates mutual submission, which means that Spirit-filled Christians are to submit equally to one another without making hierarchical distinctions. This is the traditionally egalitarian interpretation.

2. “Submitting to one another” is a call to recognize the differing roles of authority that God has established in society and to submit appropriately to each one. This is the traditionally complementarian interpretation.

Peter O’Brien, in his excellent commentary on Ephesians, offers a helpful outline of the arguments behind each of these interpretations. Below is a summary of what he has written.

The first interpretation is often supported by the arguments that

1. Grammatically, Paul uses the verb “submit” in a form (the “middle/passive voice” for you Greek-ers) that softens its meaning so that it indicates a more voluntary, self-sacrificing kind of submission.

2. Paul adds the expression “to one another” after the verb to indicate the elimination of any idea of hierarchy in how we understand who is supposed to submit to whom. Submission is to be across horizontal lines, among equals.

The second interpretation is often supported by the arguments that

1. Wherever else the verb “submit” occurs in the New Testament, regardless of its form, it implies an ordered relationship in which one party is “over” and another “under.” And since the same understanding of “submit” fits well in Ephesians 5:21 and it’s context, there is no warrant to go beyond its usual semantic range and interpret it otherwise.

2. The expression “to one another” does not always indicate a fully reciprocal relationship in the New Testament (see Revelation 6:4 and Galatians 6:2, where the actions in view are not always two-way streets).

3. The flow of the argument—seen in how Paul moves immediately in 5:22-6:9 to spell out what submission looks between wives and husbands, children and parents, and slaves and masters—illustrates that he sees a God-designed order in society for who ought to submit to whom.

O’Brien concludes that, “on grounds of semantics, syntax, and the flow of Paul’s argument we prefer the latter interpretation. The apostle is not speaking of mutualsubmission in the sense of a reciprocal subordination, but submission to those who are in authority over them.” You will not be surprised to learn that I find his argument compelling.”

Tim Challies, 01/23/2012, Posted at: http://www.challies.com/resources/mutual-submission

Should I Marry a Man with Pornography Struggles?

Should a godly woman marry a guy with pornography struggles? This morning Dr. Russell D. Moore posted a powerfully perceptive article on marriage, sin and repentance. This is one of the wisest articles I’ve read in quite some time on the mortification of lust. His theological extrapolations on the grievous nature of sexual misconduct are uniquely profound. Here are a few highlights:

“Pornography is a universal temptation precisely because it does exactly what the satanic powers wish to do. It lashes out at the Trinitarian nature of reality, a loving communion of persons, replacing it with a masturbatory Unitarianism.

And pornography strikes out against the picture of Christ and his church by disrupting the one-flesh union, leaving couples like our prehistoric ancestors, hiding from one another and from God in the darkness of shame.

And pornography rages, as Satan always does, against Incarnation (1 Jn. 4:2-3), replacing flesh-to-flesh intimacy with the illusion of fleshless intimacy.”

Read the entire post here: http://www.russellmoore.com/2012/01/23/should-i-marry-a-man-with-pornography-struggles-my-response/

Women, Stop Submitting to Men

“Unpacking a controversial scripture.

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.”

Quote Ephesians 5:22 in a small group, a meeting, a marital argument, a dinner among friends or even a Facebook status and just watch what happens. This little line from one of Paul’s many letters is perhaps one of the most hotly debated in all of Scripture. But why is it so controversial—and what does it really mean?

Those of us who hold to so-called “traditional gender roles” are often assumed to believe women should submit to men. This isn’t true. Indeed, a primary problem in our culture and in our churches isn’t that women aren’t submissive enough to men, but instead that they are far too submissive.

First of all, it just isn’t so that women are called to submit while men are not. In Scripture, every creature is called to submit, often in different ways and at different times. Children are to submit to their parents, although this is certainly a different sort of submission than that envisioned for marriage. Church members are to submit to faithful pastors (Heb. 13:17). All of us are to submit to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). Of course, we are all to submit, as creatures, to our God (James 4:7).

And, yes, wives are called to submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22; 1 Peter 3:1-6). But that’s just the point. In the Bible, it is not that women, generally, are to submit to men, generally. Instead, “wives” are to submit “to your own husbands” (1 Peter 3:1).

Too often in our culture, women and girls are pressured to submit to men, as a category. This is the reason so many women, even feminist women, are consumed with what men, in general, think of them. This is the reason a woman’s value in our society, too often, is defined in terms of sexual attractiveness and availability. Is it any wonder that so many of our girls and women are destroyed by a predatory patriarchy that demeans the dignity and glory of what it means to be a woman?

Submitting to men in general renders it impossible to submit to one’s “own husband.” Submission to one’s husband means faithfulness to him, and to him alone, which means saying “no” to other suitors.

Submission to a right authority always means a corresponding refusal to submit to a false authority. Eve’s submission to the Serpent’s word meant she refused to submit to God’s. On the other hand, Mary’s submission to God’s word about the child within her meant she refused to submit to Herod’s. God repeatedly charges His Bride, the people of Israel, with a refusal to submit to Him because they have submitted to the advances of other lovers. The freedom of the Gospel means, the apostle tells us, that we “do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

Despite the promise of female empowerment in the present age, the sexual revolution has given us the reverse. Is it really an advance for women that the average high-school male has seen images of women sexually exploited and humiliated on the Internet? Is it really empowerment to have more and more women economically at the mercy of men who freely abandon them and their children, often with little legal recourse?

Is this really a “pro-woman” culture when restaurant chains enable men to pay to ogle women in tight T-shirts while they gobble down chicken wings? How likely is it that a woman with the attractiveness of Henry Kissinger will obtain power or celebrity status in American culture? What about the girl in your community pressured to perform sexual favors for a boyfriend; what is this but a patriarchy brutal enough for a Bronze Age warlord?

In the church it is little better. Too many of our girls and young women are tyrannized by the expectation to look a certain way, to weigh a certain amount, in order to gain the attention of “guys.”

Additionally, too many predatory men have crept in among us, all too willing to exploit young women by pretending to be “spiritual leaders” (2 Timothy 3:1-9; 2 Peter 2). Do not be deceived: a man who will use spiritual categories for carnal purposes is a man who cannot be trusted with fidelity, with provision, with protection, with the fatherhood of children. The same is true for a man who will not guard the moral sanctity of a woman not, or not yet, his wife.

We have empowered this pagan patriarchy. Fathers assume their responsibility to daughters in this regard starts and stops in walking a bride down an aisle at the end of the process. Pastors refuse to identify and call out spiritual impostors before it’s too late. And through it all we expect our girls and women to be submissive to men in general, rather than to one man in particular.

For women, sexual and emotional purity means a refusal to submit to “men,” in order to submit to God and to their own husband, even one whose name and face they do not yet know. Closeness with a husband, present or future, means a distance from every man who isn’t, or who possibly might not be, him.

Beauty is found not in external (and fleeting) youth and “attractiveness” but in the “hidden person of the heart” which “in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3-4). And it will be beautiful in the sight of a man who is propelled by the Spirit of this God.

Women owe no submission to Hollywood or to Madison Avenue, or to those who listen to them. Worth and dignity cannot be defined by them. Girls, stop comparing yourselves to supermodels and porn stars. Stop loathing your body, or your age. Stop feeling inferior to vaporous glamor. You are beautiful.

There is no biblical category for “boyfriend” or “lover,” and we owe such designation no submission. In fact, to be submissive to her future husband, a woman must stand back and evaluate, with rigid scrutiny, “Is this the one who is to come, or is there another?” That requires an emotional and physical distance until there is a lifelong covenant made, until she stands before one who is her “own husband.”

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as unto the Lord. Yes and Amen. But, women, stop submitting to men.”‘

-Dr. Russell Moore, read here: http://www.russellmoore.com/2011/12/05/women-stop-submitting-to-men/

Marriage and Cohabitation

Should pastors marry those who have been cohabitating?

“Pastors are stewards of a biblical understanding of sexuality. Marrying cohabiters miscommunicates the teaching function of marriage. I would only marry couples that were repentant, had forsaken the sin of cohabitating,
and sought the remedy of marriage. Marriage does not simply validate the long-term commitment of a couple whose relationship has been based upon cohabitation. There’s another problem, which has to do with the fact that
pastors are not the only stewards of marriage. In other words, marriage is accessible to persons outside the church. So when the church allows a marriage to take place within its life, it should be validating this in a way that goes
beyond marriage as a creation institution and gets to what marriage is teaching in the ceremony of the church and the church’s stewardship of marriage.”

-R. Albert Mohler Jr, president, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/10/07/should-pastors-perform-marriages-for-cohabitating-couples/

Who Pays for Your Spouse’s Sin?

“…“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (Eph. 5:25-26, ESV).

Christ did not make me pay for my sin. He sacrificed for my sin by giving His life for me. If I truly understand the Gospel in the moment of my wife’s sin, my response would be a Gospel-motivated sacrifice rather than self-centered punishment.

Therefore, rather than choosing anger (punishment) as a response to her sin, I must choose an attitude of forgiveness (sacrifice) when she sins against me. Too often I choose anger and when I do, it distorts our relationship. Rather than serving my wife, by helping her get to Christ where she can be forgiven, I convolute the situation by sinning in response to her sin.

I become the judge and, thus, feel justified to make her pay for her sin. This is an emasculation of the Gospel. It mocks Christ’s death. I am saying in essence, “I don’t care that You died for her sin. She has sinned against me and I am going to circumvent what You did on the cross by making her pay right now. Sin demands a punishment and I feel it would be better if she received my punishment rather than allowing her to experience the cleansing power of the Gospel. Yes, You were bruised for her iniquities, but right now I feel the need to bruise her for her iniquities.”

However, when I am practically applying the Gospel in the moment of her sin, I am living out Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 5:25-26. Our relationship is not distorted by my sin, while my wife is being sanctified, cleansed, and washed by God’s Word. Rather than me forcing sanctification through fear and intimidation, she experiences the freedom, favor, and power of the Cross in her life where true cleansing happens.

My goal is for my wife to walk in holiness. However, when I punish her rather than forgiving her for her sin, I am making it harder for her to accomplish the very thing that I desire the most for her….”

-Rick Thomas, on the Grace & Truth Blog, Read the full article here: http://biblicalcounselingcoalition.org/blogs/2011/09/20/who-pays-for-your-spouse%E2%80%99s-sin-your-spouse-or-christ/

Alzheimers, Pat Robinson and the Bible

Dr. Russell D. Moore from Southern Seminary responds on the latest statement by Pat Robinson.

“…A woman or a man with Alzheimer’s can’t do anything for you. There’s no romance, no sex, no partnership, not even companionship. That’s just the point. Because marriage is a Christ/church icon, a man loves his wife as his own flesh. He cannot sever her off from him simply because she isn’t “useful” anymore.

Pat Robertson’s cruel marriage statement is no anomaly. He and his cohorts have given us for years a prosperity gospel with more in common with an Asherah pole than a cross. They have given us a politicized Christianity that uses churches to “mobilize” voters rather than to stand prophetically outside the power structures as a witness for the gospel.

But Jesus didn’t die for a Christian Coalition; he died for a church. And the church, across the ages, isn’t significant because of her size or influence. She is weak, helpless, and spattered in blood. He is faithful to us anyway.

If our churches are to survive, we must repudiate this Canaanite mammonocracy that so often speaks for us. But, beyond that, we must train up a new generation to see the gospel embedded in fidelity, a fidelity that is cruciform…”

Read the Full article here: http://www.russellmoore.com/2011/09/15/christ-the-church-and-pat-robertson/

Sacred Marriage

“A magnificent marriage begins not with knowing one another but with knowing God.”

“Think of the impact if the first thing radical feminists thought of when the conversation turned to evangelical men was that they had the best reputation for keeping their marriage vows and serving their wives in the costly fashion of Jesus at the cross.”

-Gary Thomas, Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0037YLBNQ/ref=r_soa_po_i