"Gay adoption" and the "transgendered" in the quiet backwaters of Indiana...

In the past couple of weeks, our congregation has been involved in bearing witness to our public servants in two areas: one, a local city ordinance that was passed this last week by our Bloomington City Council raising "gender identity" into a protected status equal to race, age, religion, and so forth. They'd already raised "sexual orientation" into protected status, but deemed that insufficient protection for various souls, particularly the "transgendered." Despite our witness at all three meetings where the ordinance was read and debated, it passed unanimously. Pastor Dave Curell engaged the city fathers in an E-mail correspondence that I'm hopeful can be put up here on the blog soon, but will first need some formatting.

Then the other shoe dropped. This same week the Indianapolis Star had a very large headline across the front page announcing that the Indiana Court of Appeals had ruled in favor of what the Indy Star called "gay adoption." The ruling was two to one, with an excellent dissent written by Judge Ted Najam. I've read the majority opinion and it's pure legal casuistry--all kinds of closely reasoned arguments making it appear that their ruling is only an absolutely necessary deduction from the plain meaning of adoption legislation passed by the Indiana legislature. But anyone who knows the Indiana legislative climate will recognize that as a joke.

Before reading anything about the decision and knowing who the judges were, I submitted the following letter to the editor of the Indy Star. Here's the letter, which today was responded to by three letters to the editor you can find here, here, and here.

Are you serving faithfully as salt and light in your community, steadfastly proclaiming both God's 'yes' and His 'no'? Or have you lost your savor, having convinced yourself that doctrine and truth don't really matter--only friendship evangelism and random acts of human kindness.

To the Editor:

The big news today? The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in favor of "gay adoption," two judges in the majority and one dissenting. And although I don't yet know the names of any of the three judges, one thing is clear: two judges have defied nature and nature's God, while the third fears God and loves the citizens of the state of Indiana--particularly her children...

The battle lines in our culture today have formed around the sin formerly known as "sodomy." But Sodom is the place where nature's God spoke definitively concerning His condemnation of same-sex intimacy, sending a fire that consumed the city and her inhabitants. So our language must change. Across past centuries the association between same-sex intimacy and God's judgment was clear, but now men are "gay" or "homosexual"--never "sodomites."

Those whose religion never rises higher than a mutual conspiracy to deny the existence and consequences of sin preen themselves at their victory over one more "religious prejudice." But this judicial decree is an enforcement of the judges' own quite-obvious religious creed which, simply stated, is "Can't we all just get along?" Under their leadership, then, our laws are no longer the product of precedent or our constitution, but the vacuous and cloying religious faith where mutual tolerance is the highest aspiration.

But in our heartless culture, there remain men who truly love others--men who, by faith, cross the dangerous boundary of tolerance with the compassionate warning, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life" (Galatians 6:7,8). Sadly, others condemn a little child to live his life without the single natural right of every child--the right to grow up with a father and mother who are married and love one another.

Sincerely,

Tim Bayly, Pastor
Church of the Good Shepherd

Comments

Tim,
Continue to fight the good fight. I, for one, have greatly benefited from your insight in these types of controversies. I agree with you whole heartedly and am encouraged by your faithfulness.

His word IS actually sharper than any two edge sword and it does cut down to the bone. Continue to use it as such.

Warmly,
Dave

Tim,
Excellent posting. I am soon to be a seminary student at Covenant, and I desire to learn from elders in my denomination of every viewpoint, and thus, I have a few quick questions about your post. I probably should preface this comment with the fact that I just graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill last May, so I am still in the process of discerning truth from all that I learned there. One, to what extent should law in a non-Christian (arguably) society mirror biblical law? Two, where does one draw the line on what constitutes a civil right (for either Christian or not) and what constitutes a natural law? In, other words, for example, should "transgenders" have the right to vote, but not the right to avoid discrimination because of their "gender identity" in employment? (I use the quotes because I tend not to recognize these as warranted, or valid, terms.) Three, how does one maintain a balance of proclaiming God's truth in the world and displaying his love? For instance, I know many people that would say that Christians should back off on opposing gay "marriage" in order to reconcile to the homosexual community. Four, to what extent should we expect an unregenerate people to obey God's moral law? Or, is your/our proclamation of their violation of God's law an attempt to convict them of their sin and provide a means of their regeneration? It seems (I use that word to convey submission) that Paul, in Romans 14:23, makes an argument against blind obedience. In other words, even if these people stopped living in their sin because of a civic law, they would still be in open rebellion against God's law by virtue of their unregenerate hearts. If this is an improper understanding of Paul's argument and the role of the law in modern, secular society, please correct me.

Please understand that I have a very high view of Scripture, and I certainly view homosexuality as a sin (sodomy) and "transgenderism" as a sin (if not a mental disorder). As I stated earlier, I am interested in submitting to and being taught by the elders in my denomination. I appreciate your enthusiasm for dialogue and your service in the name of our great Lord. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions.

Respectfully,
Todd

P.S. I posted some questions in regards to a posting about the nomenclature of Covenant College's chapel services a couple of weeks ago, and I was hoping that if you or David got a chance, you could respond briefly to those questions as well. Thanks!

It is a common lament that those who warn against the dangers of sin "hate" those to whom that warning is directed. It is not hate to tell someone that he or she is engaged in a sin - it is an act of love.

I told the City Council on April 12 that it is THEY who are committing an act of hatred. By glossing over sin, making excuses for sin and actually supporting sin as a healthy and moral lifestyle choice, the city council committed an act of hate against the very people they claimed to want to help.

Since I have been at Good Shepherd (especially the last two years) Pastors Bayly & Baker have pointed out my many sins and held me accountable for them. For this I am thankful.

You can see a streaming video of the first City Council meeting here: rtsp://stream2.hoosier.net/BloomingtonCityCouncil20060412.smil

-"I know many people that would say that Christians should back off on opposing gay "marriage" in order to reconcile to the homosexual community."-

"Backing off," in this age, means softening God's truth to the lost so as to appease them and make our lives more comfortable. Yes, and that would confirm our fear of man over fearing God and loving his truth over the wisdom of this world and spirit of this age. If we back off proclaiming God's truth to unregenerate men and stop countering the wisdom of this world with the "foolishness of the Gospel;" with what are we "reconciling" homosexuals to? Yes, if we just "back off" we as Christians really would just 'blend in' to the lost souls heading down the wide path that leads to destruction.
The fact is, the Gospel is a dividing line and a mighty axe that falls upon the heart of men. It distinguishes the seed of the serpent from the seed of the woman. The fact that it does carry such power and clear divisions and distinctions, makes us uncomfortable. Any Gospel devoid of the sword of the spirit is no gospel at all and certainly not the Gospel the LORD or the apostles preached.

My brother, I would love to say to you I am always faithful in this task, but it would be foolish to say so. However, by God's grace and power, we must be willing to be fools for the sake of the gospel. We must be willing to have the burden of riducule pointed our way and not care what anyone says or thinks about us, as the Lord himself did. This means being who we are : salt and light in a world that hates our God. It means exhorting a fallen world to conform its laws to the just standard of a just and Holy God and warning them of the consequences of not doing so, for the nation and their own souls.

I leave you with JC Ryle on the salt and light teaching in Mathew 5.

"True Christians are to be in the world like SALT. Now salt has a peculiar taste of its own, utterly unlike anything else. When mingled with other substances, it preserves them from corruption. It imparts a portion of its taste to everything it is mixed with. It is useful so long as it preserves its savor, but no longer. Are we true Christians? Then behold here our place and its duties!

True Christians are to be in the world like LIGHT. Now it is the property of light to be utterly distinct from darkness. The least spark in a dark room can be seen at once. Of all things created light is the most useful. It fertilizes. It guides. It cheers. It was the first thing called into being. Without it the world would be a gloomy blank. Are we true Christians? Then behold again our position and its responsibilities!"
JC Ryle

Scott,

I agree with your statements. However, the reality is that WE know we don't hate the sinner, but the sinner believes we do hate them. I'm not saying christians should use a different approach, I agree 100% with Tim and his approach. In this culture perception is reality, maybe we just continue to fight the fight, but accept that only a small percentage will be converted from homosexuality. I think maybe the "sinner" sometimes confuses our frustration with our inability to convert them as hate.

In Christ,

Bill

I wrote a response to The Indianapolis Star and submitted it this afternoon. Hopefully they'll publish it. If you want to read it, click on my name and that will take you to my website. Or follow this link:
http://www.xanga.com/dancingyaks

--Abram

The primary fault is the legislatures's. The dissenting judge observed that the statute was "not artfully drafted." I agree with the dessenter that the m ost likely intent of the legislature was to prohibit this sort of adoption. But my leaving open the possibility of reading the statute otherwise, the legislature guaranteed that, sooner or later, if not in this case then in some other, it would be read as the majority here in fact read it.

Dear Dan, If the primary fault were the legislature's, there would have been no dissent. There's a thin line between bungling the writing of a law and failing to anticipate every possible construction that could conceivably arise in a polymorphously perverse society, but the line is there.

There are churches around the country that, when they wrote and adopted their bylaws, failed to anticipate the day when the church would rebel against God's clear prohibition against women exercising authority over men, and so their section concerning pastors and elders never explicitly limits the offices to men. Disingenuous sexual anarchists in such churches then claim that women are already allowed to serve because women are not explicitly barred from office.

Fairminded people recognize this logic is perverse, as is the logic that says the Indiana legislature should have explicitly barred sodomite couples from adopting the wards of the state.

What now--must our legislators explicitly state that a man living with a mule intimately cannot adopt because of his bestiality? And when the court rules he can because, after all, his bestiality doesn't make him any less an "individual," will we then fault the legislature for not anticipating this particular perversity, also?

And what about pederasts?

The real problem is that our entire culture, both followers of Christ and unbelievers, have decided that sexual crimes are not crimes at all, and thus that those who commit them are not criminals, and thus that they may not be discriminated against in any way, ever. Who would ever have thunk it?

Indiana's Adoption Act specifically speaks of "husband and wife" and "father and mother" in various sections; clearly this is an indication not just of the specific rules in the specific places those terms are used, but also of the context for the entire Act. Those who deny it are deaf and blind because they are opposed to hearing and seeing.

Dear Todd,

Both the questions you asked concerning the meaning and purpose of sexuality as they pertained to Covenant College's chapel, and these concerning a Christian's relationship to the civil authority and its law, are worthy of a whole semester of study. It would be hard to quickly respond and keep up with the rest of the work God calls me to as a pastor. However, some parts will, undoubtedly, be answered by others--as one already has been, if you noticed?

Having said that, I may be able to undertake some partial response in the next few days, but please don't take it personally if I don't. For every inquiry we get from our blog friends, we get many, many more from the souls we have been called to shepherd, personally, here in our churches. So priorities must be set.

Thank you for your understanding, dear brother.

Having said that, if you look back over the various categories in the index down the left column you will find a number of individual articles that do address your questions, at least tangentially.

Warmly in Christ,

Tim Bayly

Rom 1:32: Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Tim,

I certainly understand and appreciate the busyness that comes with shepherding God's flock. I will check through the archives and will continue to appreciate any feedback or thoughts you have time to share. Thanks.

Todd

Add new comment