Libertarian rhapsodies...

Too late, my time has come,
Sends shivers down my spine, body's aching all the time.
Goodbye everybody-I've got to go. Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth.
Mama, ooh, I don't want to die, I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all... -Freddie Mercury, who died of AIDS twenty-six years later.

Recently, I exchanged E-mails with a friend who has written a book for Christians interested in the interface of public policy and faith. After reading the first quarter of it or so, I put it down and sadly wrote my friend telling him that I couldn't recommend his work due to any number of errors in the way he dealt with God's revelation in Scripture. There were many problems, but two stuck out.

First, in a chapter opposing the legislation of morality one section titled "Worshiping a God of Freedom" begins with this statement: "We worship a God who is concerned with freedom over virtually anything else." My response?

Really, dear brother, that is no god, but only an idol.

Not surprisingly, my friend goes on to argue against sodomy laws. By now, you know the arguments: sodomy was "not even a primary reason for the Sodomites' destruction"; sodomy is not the sin of evangelical churches (one wonders what church he attends, and how he could be so blind to those sitting in the pew next to him?); those who oppose sodomy are doing so out of self-righteousness; sodomites are engaging in "consensual acts" that hurt no one but themselves; and so on.

He states categorically that laws against sodomy are "not consistent with God's will." Ah, the glorious certitude...

of those who are ignorant of two-thousand years of Church history. Sadly, though, not completely ignorant...

In full, here is his dismissal of Calvin on the three purposes of the law:

John Calvin argued that the law served three purposes from a Christian perspective: to demonstrate unrighteousness to non-Christians so that they would embrace God's grace (justification); to instruct Christians on how properly to walk with God (sanctification); and to restrain the evil acts of individuals for the good of society (order vs. chaos). But there are a number of problems with his view: When law is inconsistent with Christian morality, it fails to accomplish these purposes; civil law is not necessary for instructing non-Christians or Christians; and it leaves unasked and unanswered which evil acts should be restrained by law.

Of course, such eminent theologians as Dallas Willard and Walter Wangerin escape such a thorough drubbing, being amazingly prescient and wise in a way that old foggies like Calvin and Luther can't quite match.

Evangelicals today tear down two thousand years of work by their godly fathers in the faith and self-righteously claim the havoc they're wreaking is really only a continuation of the still-incomplete reformation. You know...

The reformers couldn't do everything, and few could entirely escape the errors of their time. Thus we had, and still have, an incomplete reformation. But here in 2006, I'm doing my work; I'm putting in my time. Sodomy laws are a reflection of the legalism so pervasive in the Roman Catholic Church, but I'm doing away with them. We'll soon strip things down to the heart of the matter. People need to pray the sinner's prayer and then, after they're saved, they can hear God's law without it hardening their hearts. And because of the Holy Spirit dwelling within them, they'll be able to obey it.

But of course, after praying the sinner's prayer, the poor soul will be banished to a church where--if you can believe it!--again, the law of God will have no place in the church's teaching or preaching.

Silly evangelicals with neither an historical consciousness nor a humble approach to the understanding of the church's interpretation of Scripture speak blithely on subjects that are the very heart of our culture's rebellion against God, and is anyone surprised they end up agreeing with our culture's rebellion? But of course, their agreement is based on thoroughly biblical and righteous reasons.

So the New York Times says the US Supreme Court is right in throwing out sodomy laws, and Christians cluck-cluck their approval. "That's what the Bible was saying all along!"

And the people love it so.

One day, the lovelessness of the church toward sodomites will become clear, and men such as my friend will weep for their part in the destruction of these dear wounded souls.

Comments

"We worship a God who is concerned with freedom over virtually anything else."

Astounding.
Once again it is the powerless God at the hands man's desires. Once again it is not GOD who is ultimately free, but the rebel sinner. God is held captive to our notions of what freedom is.

It is remarkable how this non-threatening "god" so resembles the "god" of this age. He is the permissive baby sitter that used to let you get away with anything you knew your parents disapproved of.

This is what pervades the postmodernist desert of thought we're surrounded with; both from outside, and within the church.
It is a spirituality without the "encumbrance" of religion. It has no accountibility beyond one's own self, and, apparently, needs no discernment.
God is concerned with his own glory and the glory of his victorious son, the King.

Amen Tim.
A false kind of tolerance has become the gospel of our culture and has all too readily been embraced by the "christian" church. Jesus was hated in His day because He exposed people to their sins(Jn 7:7). If the form of "love" that we adopt is a "love" that causes us to not address their sins, then we have not embraced the love that Jesus taught and lived, but rather an evil that is falsely being labeled as "love" and "tolerance". If we are not addressing the sins of our society corporately and individually, then we are not following the way of Christ. If we truly love people then we will expose to them their sins that are leading them down the path to hell. Even if it makes us appear to be judgmental bigots. True love after all, "seeketh not her own"(1 Cor 13:5), but is rather willing to suffer in order for others to be benefited. This is what Jesus' death on the cross was all about. So those who deny that we should expose people to their sins are denying a core foundation of what the gospel is really about.

I assume you know that the persona in the song you reference is a murderer, as far as I can remember we know nothing of his sexuality, gambling, adultery or fornication. He killed someone and now has to "face the truth." Whatever.

Do you favor the Biblically mandated punishment for all of the sins you mention as well? And why can't I ever get a straight answer to this question (except for a couple of comment posters, who [Note from Tim: I deleted Ryan's statement here, because it's transparent slander.])? Most of you talk about not being theonomists, but everything I see points to the fact that you are. If you are then how do you logically get out of the biblically mandated punishments?

To address Tim's charge of "transparent slander." I made a statement based on the following post by someone calling himself plowman on July 31 in the blog entry entitled "Why 'Sodomite' instead of 'Gay' or 'Homosexual'" and similar statements from others on comments on other topics:

"According to the scriptures of the OT which were resoundingly affirmed in Romans chapter 1, those who practice this lifestyle deserve death. The fact that civil governments are presently shirking their responsibility does not exonerate you."

I presented this view, that some posters held the opinion that homosexuals should be put to death, and Tim removed it and called it slander. I stand by it and do not believe it to be an untruth at all; in fact I think it very accurately sums up what some posters believe. For my part and in the interest of disclosure I unequivocally oppose the death penalty for any crime or behavior. I am trying to ascertain a Bayly position on legislating (through civil penalties) sexual morality. There appear to be divergent opinions expressed herein; the Baylys seem to be a bit ambivalent.

Ryan, I do not lightly remove text from our comments section. In your case, I did it because what you had written was not an accurate reflection of what our other readers have written. Our readers have never called for the execution of sodomites and for you to accuse them in the aggregate of this is to bear false witness against your neighbors. You may be commmitted to violating this law as you are also committed to violating the Seventh Commandment, but we will not provide you a forum for that sin.

As to whether any particular comment on this blog could ever be construed as calling for the execution of sodomites, you've turned one up that seems to fit the bill, but as it says in "Don Quixote," one swallow doth not a summer make. And even the one statement you have produced as evidence can be taken another way than the way you take it.

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