An argument frequently advanced by those attempting to defend homosexual practice is that Christians ‘cherry pick’ the commands in the Bible – that is, they chose to emphasise some commands while ignoring others.
The Old Testament may forbid homosexual acts (Leviticus 18:2; 20:13) but it also forbids eating seafood without fins and scales (Leviticus 11:9-12; Deuteronomy 14:9, 10).
So how can Christians then justify upholding laws on sexual morality whilst at the same time ignoring the food laws from the very same books of the Bible? Why may they eat shellfish but not be allowed to have sex outside marriage? Isn’t this inconsistent and hypocritical?
The solution is that God enters into “covenants” with his people, and the terms of those covenants change.
Especially dietary laws:
The answer to this question lies in an understanding of biblical covenants.
A covenant is a binding solemn agreement made between two parties. It generally leaves each with obligations. But it holds only between the parties involved.
There are a number of biblical covenants: Noahic, Abrahamic, Sinaitic (Old), Davidic and New.
Under the Noahic covenant, which God made with all living human beings (Genesis 9:8-17), people were able to eat anything:
‘Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything’ (Genesis 9:3).
But under the Sinaitic (Old) Covenant, which God made with the nation of Israel, people were able to eat certain foods, but not others.
Jesus clearly created a new covenant with his followers, where the dietary laws are lifted:
Jesus said that he had come to fulfil the ‘Law and the Prophets’ (Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:44). He would establish this new covenant with new laws, with himself as high priest based on his own sacrificial death on the cross.
This new covenant would completely deal with sin (Hebrews 10:1-18) and protect all those who put their faith in him from God’s wrath and judgement…
[…]‘In the same way, after the supper (Jesus) took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you”’ (Luke 22:20). ‘…we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ (Hebrews 10:10)
People would come under the protection of this new covenant, not by virtue of belonging to the nation of Israel, but through faith in Christ. In fact the function of the Old Testament Law (Sinaitic covenant) was to point to Christ as its fulfilment.
[…]So what then did Christ say about foods? He pronounced all foods clean for his followers to eat:
‘ “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:18-23)
Jesus was making that point that under the new covenant God required purity of the heart. Internal thoughts and attitudes were as important as external actions.
Food is OK for Christians, but sexual immorality – which includes premarital sex and adultery – are NOT OK for Christians.
I think sometimes when you are talking to people whose motivation is just to get rid of any objective moral law entirely, they tend to ask questions without really wanting a good answer. This is especially true when it comes to the morality of sex. They ask the question not to get an answer, but to justify getting rid of the moral rules governing sexuality. The answers are there for people who are willing to respect God in their decision-making to find. The answers are not found only by people who have a reason to not want to find them.
In case you’re wondering, I am one of those Christian men who takes chastity seriously. Marriage is about having a close connection with your spouse. Sure, I could break the rules and have a lot of fun now. A lot of Christians have a hard time turning down fun. But when I look at Jesus, I don’t see a man who is pursuing fun and thrills. I see a man who sees a need and then sacrifices his own interests to rescue others from peril.
I am tempted to say that this is the best podcast I have ever heard on the Unbelievable show. Do anything you have to do in order to listen to this podcast.
Prof Robert Gagnon has become a well-known voice advocating the traditional biblical view on sexuality. In a highly charged show he debates the scriptural issues on sexuality with Jayne Ozanne, the director of Accepting Evangelicals who came out as gay earlier this year.
Here’s a post from Christian apologist Terrell Clemmons about efforts by gay activists to redefine Christianity so that it is consistent with homosexual behavior. This particular post is focused on Matthew Vines.
In March 2012, two years after having set out to confront homophobia in the church, Matthew presented the results of his “thousands of hours of research” in an hour-long talk titled “The Gay Debate.” The upshot of it was this: “The Bible does not condemn loving gay relationships. It never addresses the issues of same-sex orientation or loving same-sex relationships, and the few verses that some cite to support homophobia have nothing to do with LGBT people.” The video went viral (more than three quarter million views to date) and Matthew has been disseminating the content of it ever since.
In 2013, he launched “The Reformation Project,” “a Bible-based, non-profit organization … to train, connect, and empower gay Christians and their allies to reform church teaching on homosexuality from the ground up.” At the inaugural conference, paid for by a $104,000 crowd-funding campaign, fifty LGBT advocates, all professing Christians, gathered for four days in suburban Kansas City for teaching and training, At twenty-three years of age, Matthew Vines was already becoming a formidable cause célèbre.
Terrell summarizes the case he makes, and here is the part I am interested in:
Reason #1: Non-affirming views inflict pain on LGBT people. This argument is undoubtedly the most persuasive emotionally, but Matthew has produced a Scriptural case for it. Jesus, in his well-known Sermon on the Mount, warned his listeners against false prophets, likening them to wolves in sheep’s clothing. Then switching metaphors he asked, “Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” The obvious answer is no, and Jesus’s point was, you can recognize a good or bad tree – and a true or false prophet – by its good or bad fruit. From this, Matthew concludes that, since non-affirming beliefs on the part of some Christians cause the bad fruit of emotional pain forother Christians, the non-affirming stance must not be good.
Terrell’s response to this is spot on, and I recommend you read her post to get the full response.
Matthew Vines in particular, and LGBTs in general, appear to be drivingly fixated on changing other people’s moral outlook. But why? Why are they distressed over the shrinking subset of Christianity that holds to the traditional ethic of sex? Note that Matthew found an affirming church in his hometown, as can most any LGBT-identifying Christian. Affirming churches abound. Gaychurch.org lists forty-four affirming denominations – denominations, not just individual churches – in North America and will help you find a congregation in your area. Why, then, given all these choices for church accommodation, are Matthew and the Reformers specifically targeting churches whose teachings differ from their own?
One gets the sense that LGBTs really, really need other people to affirm their sexual behavior. Certainly it’s human to want the approval of others, but this goes beyond an emotionally healthy desire for relational comity. Recall Matthew’s plea that non-affirming views on the part of some Christians cause emotional pain for others. He, and all like-minded LGBTs, are holding other people responsible for their emotional pain. This is the very essence of codependency.
The term came out of Alcoholics Anonymous. It originally referred to spouses of alcoholics who enabled the alcoholism to continue unchallenged, but it has since been broadened to encompass several forms of dysfunctional relationships involving pathological behaviors, low self-esteem, and poor emotional boundaries. Codependents “believe their happiness depends upon another person,” says Darlene Lancer, an attorney, family therapist, and author of Codependency for Dummies. “In a codependent relationship, both individuals are codependent,” says clinical psychologist Seth Meyers. “They try to control their partner and they aren’t comfortable on their own.”
Which leads to an even more troubling aspect of this Vinesian “Reformation.” Not only are LGBT Reformers not content to find an affirming church for themselves and peacefully coexist with everyone else, everyone else must change in order to be correct in their Christian expression.
This is the classic progression of codependency, and efforts to change everyone else become increasingly coercive. We must affirm same-sex orientation, Matthew says. If we don’t, we are “tarnishing the image of God [in gay Christians]. Instead of making gay Christians more like God … embracing a non-affirming position makes them less like God.” “[W]hen we reject the desires of gay Christians to express their sexuality within a lifelong covenant, we separate them from our covenantal God.”
Do you hear what he’s saying? LGBTs’ relationships with God are dependent on Christians approving their sexual proclivities. But he’s still not finished. “In the final analysis, then, it is not gay Christians who are sinning against God by entering into monogamous, loving relationships. It is we who are sinning against them by rejecting their intimate relationships.” In other words, non-affirming beliefs stand between LGBTs and God. Thus sayeth Matthew Vines.
The rest of her article deals with Vines’ attempt to twist Scripture to validate sexual behavior that is not permissible in Christianity.
Vines seems to want a lot of people to agree that the Bible somehow doesn’t forbid this sexual behavior so that the people who are doing it won’t feel bad about doing it. If he can just silence those who disagree and get a majority of people to agree, then the people who are doing these things will feel better.
Well. I am a chaste man now in my late 30s. I have not so much as kissed a woman on the lips. There is no societal celebration for what I am doing, not even in the church. But you don’t see me complaining that people need to validate my choice to be chaste. And the reason is, that even if the entire world were against me, the morality of chastity is self-authenticating. It doesn’t matter how many people make me feel bad about what I am doing, I have the direct experience of doing the right thing. Being chaste allows me to love women upward by treating them like equal partners in the gospel, and expecting them to work for the gospel like any man would.
Matthew Vines is annoyed that we expect homosexuals to work through their same-sex attractions, abstain from premarital sex, and then either remain chaste like me, or marry one person of the opposite sex and then confine his/her sexual behavior to his/her marriage. But how is that different than what is asked of me? I have opposite sex-attractions (boy, do I!), but I am also expected to abstain from premarital sex, and either remain chaste, or marry one woman for life, and confine my sexual behavior to that marriage. If I have to exercise a little self-control to show God that what he wants from me is important to me, then I am willing to do that. I’m really at a loss to understand why so many people take sexual gratification as a given, rather than as an opportunity for self-denial and self-control. I am especially puzzled by sinful people demanding that other celebrate their sin – and using the power of the government now to compel others to celebrate their sin.
Believe me, I understand what it is like to be without a woman’s love and support. I started out with a cold, distant, selfish, career-oriented mother. I dreamed about marriage since I was in high school – I remember praying about my future wife, even then. No one that I know has a stronger need for validation and encouragement from a woman than I do. Yet if I have to let that go in order to let God know that what he wants matters to me, then I will do it.
My service to God is not conditional on me getting my needs met. And my needs and desires are no less strong than the needs of people who engage in sex outside the boundaries of Christian teaching. We just make different decisions about what/who comes first. For me, Jesus is first, because I have sympathy with Jesus for loving me enough to die in my place, for my sins. I am obligated to Jesus, and that means that my responsibility to meet expectations in our relationship comes above my desire to be happy and fulfilled. For Matthew, the sexual desires come first, and Scripture has to be reinterpreted in light of a desire to be happy. I just don’t see anything in the New Testament that leads me to believe that we should expect God to fulfill our desires. The message of Jesus is about self-denial, self-control and putting God the Father first – even when it results in suffering. I take that seriously. That willingness to be second and let Jesus lead me is what makes me an authentic Christian.
There is a good debate featuring Robert Gagnon and a gay activist in this post, so you can hear both sides.
The image of a cake reading “Love Wins ***” caused a stir of social media recently after an openly homosexual pastor posted a video online, but the company that sold the cake says the claim is fraudulent and they are countersuing.
KEYE-TV is reporting, the attorney for Pastor Jordan Brown says he ordered a cake from the Whole Foods store in Austin, Texas with the personalized message “Love Wins,” but when he received it read “Love Wins ***.”
[…]On Tuesday, Whole Foods released store security video and a statement on the cake purchase, and they claim the cake box was altered.
“Mr. Brown admits that he was in sole possession and control of the cake until he posted his video, which showed the UPC label on the bottom and side of the box.” the statement reads.
“After reviewing our security footage of Mr. Brown, it’s clear that the UPC label was in fact on top of the cake box, not on the side of the package. This is evident as the cashier scans the UPC code on top of the box.
“After a deeper investigation of Mr. Brown’s claim, we believe his accusations are fraudulent and we intend to take legal action against both Mr. Brown and his attorney.”
Whole Foods Market has filed a defemation lawsuit against Brown and his attorney seeking $100,000 in damages.
You’ll notice that I blanked out the curse word, because I think it’s horrible to make people that I disagree with uncomfortable with curse words. I don’t like what some gay activists are doing with respect to using the education system and government coercion to push an agenda against natural marriage and first amendment right, but I don’t want to say anything intimidating. I just want to disagree.
On Wednesday, Fox 7 Austin reported that Brown was sued just one month ago for nearly $30,000.
The complaint was filed on March 11, 2016 for breach of contract by the National Collegiate Student Loan Trust for unpaid student loans related to his education at Slippery Rock University, a public, master’s level university in Pennsylvania. Brown is being sued for an unpaid student loan balance of $24,885.25 and unpaid interest of $3,030.26, for a total of $27,915.51.
Fox 7 Austin also reported that the Facebook page of Brown’s church, the “Church of Open Doors,” was soliciting donations claiming that they are moving to a new location and expanding, but when they visited the address listed, they “found nothing, just an apartment complex.”
A Google search for the address listed on the Facebook page brings up the AMLI South Shore apartments. A nearby address listed on the Church of Open Doors’ website isn’t a church either, but a postal/courier businesst hat also rents U-Haul trucks.
Anyway, so it looks like another fake hate crime. Here are some tips from The Federalist about how to commit a successful fake hate crime.
Pick A Believable Villain
A Good Witness
Pick Better Ironclad Proof Than An Easily-Resealable Adhesive Sticker.
Make Your Victimization As Anonymous As Possible
Know What You Don’t Know
Here is the most important one:
#4 Make Your Victimization As Anonymous As Possible
A good social justice hoax will just blame “Christians who came into my restaurant” or “someone in my town, don’t know who.” In these examples, you’re claiming to have been victimized by someone in a pool of tens of thousands to millions of people. In the case of Brown, he named the specific Whole Foods, where specific people are on record as having decorated specific cakes. Probably with video evidence.
The specific employee who was accused of bigotry, it turns out, is, in the parlance of 2016 America, a “member of the LGBTQ community.” And the record shows, according to Whole Foods, that the cake was made as requested, with “Love Wins” written on the tip top of it.
It can’t be said enough: Never pin your hoax on an actual, specific person who can be questioned and who can refute your dumb story.
Dear, oh dear. The person who baked the cake is gay. That won’t work for this hate crime.
I blogged before about several other fake hate crimes in this post, this post and this post. It happens a lot. It might be a good idea to assume that hate crimes committed against the secular left are false unless they are proven true. There is a lot of mental illness in the secular left crowd.
A debate about what marriage is, hosted by the Federalist Society at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, featuring Ryan T. Anderson and Alastair Gamble.
The debate took place at the law school at Arizona State University.
Ryan T. Anderson:
Ryan T. Anderson researches and writes about marriage and religious liberty as the William E. Simon senior research fellow in American principles and public policy at The Heritage Foundation.
Anderson is the author of the “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.” He is the co-author with Princeton’s Robert P. George and Sherif Girgis of the book “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.”
Anderson received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. He holds a doctoral degree in political philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. His dissertation was titled: “Neither Liberal nor Libertarian: A Natural Law Approach to Social Justice and Economic Rights.” He also holds a master’s degree from Notre Dame.
Alastair Gamble is an attorney in the firm’s Litigation group and focuses his practice on Labor and Employment at both the trial and appellate level.
From 2008 – 2012, Mr. Gamble practiced in Los Angeles, California, where he focused on Labor and Employment and Securities litigation. Before that, he served as a law clerk to Hon. Andrew Hurwitz of the Arizona Supreme Court and as a judicial extern to Hon. Michael Daly Hawkins of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Mr. Gamble holds the J.D., Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and the B.A., History, Emory University, 2000.
The video is 70 minutes:
The format is 15 minute opening speeches, 5 minute rebuttals, then Q&A.