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.