The blind intolerance, moralism, and dogmatism of pagans...

(Tim) On Facebook, a friend and former CGSer has been discussing sodomy, marriage, divorce and the civil law with several friends who have said things like: "semantics is a cheap reason to deny a minority their civil rights. None of the many gay folk I know agree with the "semantics justification" for denial of marriage. Also, such a social mandate (YOU live by OUR rules) has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus Christ--and everything to do with the teachings of the Pharisees."

Wanting to say a couple things, I pointed the conversationalists to this page and here's my own contribution to their dialog. Sorry I haven't linked things, but I wanted to get this up before all our guests arrive for Thanksgiving Dinner. If any of you want to add links, just post them in the comments.

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Sam, Scripture isn't just dogma; it's narrative. Descriptive isn't necessarily prescriptive. It can be, but with divorce, incest, polygamy, concubinage, etc. Scripture reveals both where it was that every culture got marriage and also the laws to which God bound all sexual intimacy.

So, for instance, when Jesus was asked a question similar to yours (but this one concerning divorce), He responded saying it wasn't that way from the beginning (Creation) and that God made male and female for each other for life with the two becoming one--not three, four, or a thousand (Matthew 19:3 ff.). So there's no inconsistency between the Old and New Testaments on this matter. The two, male and female, shall become one until, by God's decree, death parts us. (My dear wife and I are on our thirty-third year, now, and still chugging away in harmony and love, praise God!)

All Christians through all time have always spoken this truth...

It's a central dogma of the Christian faith.

God created woman for man because "it was not good for the man to be alone." Here's what actually, historically, undeniably, literally happened: "The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.' For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:22-25)."

Every wedding I've presided over has had this account read in the presence of the people as a witness to the universal law God has put at the heart of the life of this race Scripture names 'adam,' or 'man.'

So to be a Christian is to witness to God's law and purpose; it is to to love those who are opposing that law and purpose. Concerning marriage, for instance, whether their opposition is in principle, practice, or both, such love leads us to testify to our neighbors that God will not be mocked, and that the one who sows to his sinful nature will, from that sinful nature, reap destruction (Galatians 6:7,8).

It is the love of God that constrains us to love men and women given over to the lusts of their hearts, thus calling them to turn from destruction and be saved while there is yet time. God has not just decreed the laws binding all sexuality to His design, but He also decreed that, after death, He will judge every one of us with unerring discernment and justice (see every page of Scripture for this truth).

So again, as in the days of the Roman Empire when John the Baptist confronted the Roman ruler, Herod, over his incestuous relationship with his brother's wife and lost his head for his effort (Mark 6:18 ff.), followers of Jesus Christ today confront each other and unbelievers about sin, not just in the privacy of our churches but also in the public square (op-ed pages, blogs, and Facebook).

And it is from this love that the laws of the Western world have been written. Read any history of Common Law and you'll see the undeniable truth that our Western world has received freedom from laws and governments patterned after God's Word. Even the balance of power between the three branches of government at the heart of our own "Constitution" is bequeathed to us by the Bible's doctrine of the depravity of man since the Fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden. Given original sin (check out Blaise Pascal's "Pensees" on that theme), we must live with eyes wide open to the abuse of power that will always happen, writing into our laws controls for that abuse knowing Scripture is true when it declares, "The heart is deceitful and desperate wicked; who can know it (Jeremiah 17:9)."

The Christian has loved his neighbor and has sought to use our civil law to lead him away from sickness and poverty; from cruelty and oppression of his animals; from betrayal and abuse of his wife and children; from death and Hell.

This is not bigotry, but love. We don't desire our neighbor's destruction here in this life or eternally in Hell.

God-haters deny and defy God's law, seeking to use the laws of the civil authority to aid them in their rebellion and to enforce that rebellion on their neighbors (you will rent to fornicators or else). But theirs is a morality every bit as moralistic, dogmatic, and religious as Western Common Law or the laws against sodomy, pederasty, and bestiality Christians seek to pass and enforce. The difference is only what morality, what dogma and god we serve.

Pagans serve their god of creation and her creatures, dogmatizing her demands as they themselves have written them, trying by force of law to bind all consciences to her well-being as they, in their infinite wisdom, reveal it to us. (And I've lived long enough to know that the laws needed to protect nature are as changeable as the seasons.)

Christians serve the Only True God revealed in Jesus Christ, and we seek to bind all consciences, not to His worship, but to the minimal aspects of His revealed Law that alone will assure that our civil society is civil, and that it is a society.

These laws are not constraining, but they are the very definition of freedom. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery.  Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness. That's all, folks!

There are a few more, but many, many fewer than the pagan moralists trying to change the Western world to follow their own dogmas.

So the pagans throw out the big laws at the heart of the Common Law of the Western world, replacing them with an infinite number of little, petty, nursemaid, prissy, do-goody, narrow, dogmatic, religious theocratic laws all aimed at making every citizen bow to their gods. No smoking. Click it or ticket. No littering. Booster seats for older children. No watering lawns during the day. No breaking eggs of bald eagles. No does--only bucks. Shotguns only. Bows and arrows only. No spitting. No jaywalking. No cutting down this or that tree. Pick up your dog poop. Recycle. No batteries in your trash. Replace your catalytic converter.

Now, am I opposed to these laws? Are Christians wanting to leave dog poop in public parks and the right of way? Do we think patrons of restaurants and bars should have to eat their food with smoke up their noses? Do we want to break bald eagles' eggs and muck up lakes with our phosphates?

No, of course not. But place the laws we seek to defend and enforce next to those laws the pagans defend and enforce, and all the dogmatic convictions of the pagans become very clear. They desire to deny eternity, judgment, God, and His creation laws while enforcing their own tight, moralistic, dogmatic worldview with nature at its very center.

But what about nature's God? What about our wives and children? What about sodomy's victims who are dying for their sin? What about the victims of rape and incest? Why should we protect our citizenry from the loss of bald eagles but not from the loss of one human being murdered by sexual immorality committed with a man who, following intercourse, sneers at his prey, "Now you've got gay cancer!" (See the late Randy Shilts' "And the Band Played On.")

And what about the estimated 1,000,000,000 (that's one billion) children slaughtered in the womb worldwide during the past few decades as the necessary fruit of the pagan sacrament of unlimited sexual intercourse and its liturgical chant, "The inorgasmic life is not worth living?"

Yes, here's the best illustration of the utter hypocrisy of pagans as even the patriarch of the "Village Voice," Nat Hentoff, sees with perfect clarity. Yet he's a Jewish atheist who, for years, served on the board of the ACLU there in New York. Another one who sees it with perfect clarity is Ken Kesey, author of "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest," who said that abortion is the most awful karma of our time.

So you see, Christians want limited government. Christians believe in freedom, but not freedom to murder bodies, hearts, and souls through sexual immorality. And so we spend our time and votes seeking the temporal and eternal safety of our neighbors from the wrath of God and its consequences even today in the lives of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, neighbors, colleagues, and co-workers.

We'll give you your littering laws if you'll give us our laws punishing sexual immorality. We'll submit to your ban of the visual pollution of Boston Common by candy wrappers and soft drink cups if you'll submit to our ban of the moral, financial, public health, and spiritual pollution of every bath house, hotel, dorm room, YMCA, park bathroom, airport restroom, sibling relationship, home, and family caused by men lusting after anyone other than their spouse, committing what is an abomination in the sight of our Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And we'll consider your laws love for your neighbor as long as you acknowledge the clear truth that ours is love for neighbor, too.

Quite reasonable, aren't we?

Comments

That's all well and good, brother. But we might as well acknowledge that we've lost the culture war, including the fight to preserve traditional marriage.

I find your understanding of scripture very shallow. I say this because of the way that you applied the scriptures that you quoted. I will try to keep my points to scripture rather than politics.

Many scriptures have been twisted in the history of the church in an attempt to prove a monogamous rule, but the interpretations do not stand up under serious scrutiny in their contexts. The classic example is Genesis 2:24, the text on leaving father and mother and cleaving to one's wife. This text is repeated various places in the New Testament, including by Jesus in Matthew 19:4-6. In the first place, the Jews of the Old Testament never understood this text as prohibiting polygamy and it is never cited for this purpose in the Old Testament. No Jewish authority in history called for a ban on polygamy until 1040 AD, although for social and economic, not moral, reasons the practice had probably begun to disappear among the Jews during the captivities.

Jesus' use of the passage in Matthew 19 is in the context of a exhorting the Jews regarding their careless practices of divorce (see verses 7-9) and has no application to the question of monogamy.

One of the errors in the attempt to support monogamy from this passage has been to take the reference to "one" flesh as a numerical reference and therefore as meaning that each person shall have only "one" mate. But this interpretation is completely off the point of the text. The reference is not to numerical oneness but to the unitary oneness of Adam and Eve. The interpretation and application of this text elsewhere in Scripture must follow this meaning and, indeed, that is what we find in the New Testament. In particular, the well-known teaching about marriage by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5 quotes this same Genesis passage and clearly shows that the unitary sense was understood by Paul. Greek lexicons also support this meaning of the Greek word for "one" in the Matthew passage and in other places

First Matt 19:3 -12 The context there is that there is to be no divorce except for "pornia". That is what Jesus is teaching. He does not make a comment about polygamy or fornication or homosexuality. Yet the church ( like paul) expands on what Jesus says and allows divorce for any reason. But uses this verse to restrict what is not there. In fact the Pharisees are asking about Deut 24:1. Jesus in effect uses one part of the torah to cancel out the other. He is not talking about polygamy. ( multiple sex partners.)

David was as one with bathsheeba and was one his other wives and concubines. In fact God says that he Gave him his many wive and would have given him more. 2 Samual 12:8 When Jesus was speaking in Matt 19:3 he was speaking to polygamist Jews. In fact there was a law that said if my brothers wife dies I am to marry her even if I am already married. Deut 25:5 Jesus spoke about this ( Luke 20:27-40 ) and never said that Polygamy was bad or that this was just the old testament.

Included among the examples of great faith people in Hebrews 11,

are these.

Abraham – polygamist and concubinist - no divine censure

anywhere.

Isaac – polygamist and concubinist - no divine censure

anywhere.

Jacob – polygamist and concubinist - no divine censure

anywhere.

Gideon – polygamist and concubinist - no divine censure

anywhere.

Samson – polygamist and concubinist - no divine censure

anywhere.

David – polygamist and concubinist - no divine censure

anywhere.

Now, connect the foregoing list of mighty men of faith, with this

statement from the next chapter; “Do not be fornicators,” (Heb.

12:16).

In the previous chapter of Hebrews the writer names several

polygamists and concubinists as history’s great examples of

faithfulness to God. Now he condemns “fornication.” What then

can be more obvious than that, in this inspired NT author’s mind,

polygamy and concubinism are in no sense “fornication.”

As for the form and definition of marriage, neither is described or prescribed in detail in Scripture as if God endorses or requires one and only one idea about this social structure. As noted on facebook, until the Middle Ages the church simply accepted the ideas of marriage that were practiced by various cultures.

[NOTE FROM TIM BAYLY: At this point, John goes off into uncharted territory, abusing Scripture and its meaning, as well as the history of the Church. I've removed it all until the last couple of paragraphs, at which point I think John helps us understand why he's dishonest in much else that he wrote (and I removed.)]

Polygyny (many wives for 1 man) was the norm due to the male-dominated society and the fact a man's status was determined by the number of children he fathered. Today, women should enjoy equal rights and sex can be for pleasure and an expression of sincere love. This makes polyamory a more equal and loving lovestyle.

As for Homosexuality I will have to write a book about this, I am straight. I could care less I God condemend homosexuality and for the longest time I did. However upon studying the subject I came to realize that I was wrong. That will have to be for another post but just a cple of points. The word homosexuality was not in the bible till the 1940's the words translated as homosexuality is a mis translation.

Sherman,

That seems an odd observation to make considering all three ballots items addressing marriage came out on the side of traditional marriage. I would agree that the tide is turning, but that is all the more reason to heed the call of this post and point out the irrationality of the world's framework of thinking.

>As for Homosexuality I will have to write a book about this, I am straight. I could care less I God condemend homosexuality and for the longest time I did. However upon studying the subject I came to realize that I was wrong. That will have to be for another post but just a cple of points. The word homosexuality was not in the bible till the 1940's the words translated as homosexuality is a mis translation.

John, don't bother writing about sodomy, here. We honor God, not the foolish prattling of men wise only in their own eyes. But good job letting us see the criteria of your own laws. God said it. I reject it.

Such honesty is refreshing.

By the way, there's much you've written concerning Scripture that's true, but you err in seeing the unitive and exclusive aspects of "one" being an either/or proposition. It need not be. Both/and is the right way to see this.

But to get to the point I must now make, I'm banning any future comment from you because of your promotion of sexual immorality. The whole world is your billboard, but not this blog. We live under God's authority and warn you that your judgment for opposing God is certain and fast approaching. Repent and turn, my friend, lest the wrath of God consume you forever.

Sincerely yours,

Under Christ's mercy,

Tim

"When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws."

-- GKC

>We live under God's authority and warn you that your judgment for opposing God is certain and fast approaching. Repent and turn, my friend, lest the wrath of God consume you forever.

I would that every minister of the Gospel who writes on the internet would be faithful in his pastoral duties in this manner. Many thanks...

Christians serve the Only True God revealed in Jesus Christ, and we seek to bind all consciences, not to His worship, but to the minimal aspects of His revealed Law that alone will assure that our civil society is civil, and that it is a society.

That is a very interesting sentence.

Why minimal aspects?

Who decides which revealed law is minimal and which isn't and how do they decide?

Should the first table of the law be considered part of your "minimal aspect?"

Would adultery be part of your "minimal aspect" and if so what penalty would you visit adultery with?

”Blind intolerance”, thank you for saying it. There is no other conclusion to make when you are dealing with liberals these days. For the first time in my life, I assisted a few political campaigns in the attempt to make a difference, specifically, assisting a conservative trying to get elected to state assembly –(where Medicaid fraud is rampant, just to name one problem). There is an outward hatred for conservatism in the city where I live, which I experienced firsthand on several occasions. You would think that living in the city where the terror attacks took place would make its inhabitants grateful to a president who has kept them safe, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is incomprehensible…I will never forget the smell of the smoldering Twin Towers that lingered for weeks-like burning rubber. Friends that escaped the horror had to undergo therapy or take prescription medication, yet, New Yorkers by and large despise George Bush.

There is also a contempt for Christians, which is why I believe we are gradually being denied our rights. I cannot say "Merry Christmas", a holiday that is on our national calendar. But then, perhaps I expect too much from a society that allows millions of innocents to be killed on a daily basis.

Intolerance not only leads to contempt, but also irrationality. Some years ago, the ACLU won a lawsuit that forced the city of Los Angeles to take the angel emblems off ambulances and other city vehicles—-in a city that is called “The City of Angels”! I’m surprised that the city of Los Angeles was allowed to keep its name.

The intolerance I’m describing is making its way into the church. I met a recent grad of Gordon-Conwell Seminary who believed Obama would actually help more Americans than McCain would. After all, "a president is powerless to stop abortion". I never thought I would come across this indifference when speaking to other believers and ended up leaving the conversation in shock and disbelief. It doesn’t stop there. I found that Evangelical friends on Facebook were outwardly promoting Obama; at least three of them are in the ministry full-time. An apologist and missionary friend wrote on his blog that renowned Christians like Tony Campolo and Jim Wallis have rationalized the legality of abortion. Thepublicdiscourse.com has published some research to the contrary, so please take the time to look at that site.

Man sees himself and his will preeminent above all else and ends up worshipping a god of his own invention. The age old problem of evil (and in the discussion, the shortcomings of Christians) remains an excuse for not turning to God; rarely does the questioner stop to think where he received his innate knowledge of good and evil in the first place.

Regina Scow, a reformed Christian who lives in New York City.

pS. –appreciated the reference to Nat Hentoff. I have an autographed copy of his book that I’ve been meaning to send you.

>pS. –appreciated the reference to Nat Hentoff. I have an autographed copy of his book that I’ve been meaning to send you.

Dear Regina,

Don't grow weary in well-doing, and watch out for politics. Few things are as apt to sear the soul, today. Show mercy to the weak, old, decrepit, hungry, and aliens in our midst. Then you will hope again.

Can't wait to get the Hentoff book!

Love and affection,

Tim (with Mary Lee and the whole gang at CGS)

>Tim's counterargument is hollow, basically saying, "No, it's not.. you should see it the correct way --which is this!" (Highly unpersuasive).

Actually, Sam, I didn't argue with him all, other than this simple comment: "There's much you've written concerning Scripture that's true, but you err in seeing the unitive and exclusive aspects of 'one' being an either/or proposition. It need not be. Both/and is the right way to see this."

My one substantial point was to ban him from further comments because of his repudiation of the authority of the Word of God, and his promotion of immorality.

>Tim, I know you are trying to do the right thing -- but when too much faith gets in the way of reason, arguments such as yours come off as highly pallid to those of us who have removed the lenses of faith in our pursuit of truth and that which is good and just.

Again, you're blinded by your commitment to homogenization, prejudice, and darkness. You've missed my point entirely, yet claim you are the rational one. For instance, why are you going on about which founding father is or isn't a Trinitarian Theist? I never mentioned anything about these men.

I'll leave you to your mutterings...

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