Gagnon's critique of Moore's "Here We Stand"...

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Full disclosure, Robert Gagnon was a friend of my cousin, John DeWalt, and I have an autographed copy of his masterpiece, The Bible and Homosexual Practice. I've recommended it before. If you want the best work on Scripture's teaching on homosexuality, there's nothing close.

That said, I also have spoken at a conference with Russ Moore and David and I have expressed our appreciation for his efforts to defend the Biblical doctrine of sexuality. This time, though, Russ has come up for a well-deserved drubbing by Gagnon and it's ironic given the fact that Dr. Moore is a member of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention and runs their Ethics and Religious Life Commission in Washington D.C. while Dr. Gagnon is a member of the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA) and a professor at the PC(USA)'s Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Dr. Moore put together a statement opposing the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision. The statement is called Here We Stand and people like Al Mohler, Danny Akin, Paige Patterson, Paul Tripp, Denny Burke, Karen Swallow Prior, James MacDonald, Alistair Begg, Owen Strachan, Bryan Chapell, and Rosaria Butterfield signed on. You too can sign on if you get them your name and position by this Friday.

Trouble is, the statement is less than wise.

Dr. Gagnon explains...

First, the unnamed author of the document (Russell Moore?) erred in claiming that Christians should not express outrage at this decision: "Outrage and panic are not the responses of those confident in the promises of a reigning Christ Jesus."

Jesus expressed outrage at sin repeatedly in his ministry (the cleansing of the temple is a fairly concrete case in point). So did John the Baptist (his direct criticism of Herod Antipas for taking his brother's wife is an obvious instance). So did Paul (I would say that outrage was a hallmark of his comments on tolerance for the incestuous man in 1 Cor 5). So did John of Patmos in Revelation (comparing the Roman Empire and its emperors to a harlot and a disgusting 7-headed beast rising from the sea, a puppet of the dragon that symbolizes Satan; likewise symbolizing the provincial imperial cult leaders as a blasphemous beast rising from the earth). Friends, if this were the Supreme Court attempting to restore the Dred Scott ruling, would it be unchristian to express "outrage"? This is not a tea party.

Dr. Gagnon continues:

...the document also seems to imply (wrongly) that Paul's remarks in Romans 13 mandate that Christian political leaders should not treat the ruling of the 5 Lawless Justices as the rogue decision that it is by disregarding compliance with the ruling. "We commit to ... respect and pray for our governing authorities even as we work through the democratic process to rebuild a culture of marriage" (Rom. 13:1-7). Do they think that Jesus "respected" Herod Antipas when he called him "that fox," which was not a compliment? Or that John of Patmos respected the Roman officials threatening Christians over emperor worship when he depicted them as the minions of Satan?

Romans 13 does not mandate compliance with a branch of the government that violates our own Constitution in such a manifestly blatant manner. The Lawless 5 violated the Constitution in their extreme hubris. Their decision deserves no credence now, even before replacement of the rogue Justices. The Lawless 5 should be denounced by all as meriting impeachment and, as Princeton's Robert George recently noted,

And this:

I have concerns about the exhortation that Christians "affirm the biblical mandate that all persons, including LGBT persons, are created in the image of God and deserve dignity and respect." A first problem is adopting the "LGBT" nomenclature, as though doing so were part of this deserving "dignity and respect." Another is the failure to add that homosexual practice itself dishonors the dignity of the person engaging in it and threatens to mar the image of God stamped on the person (hence the close proximity of being made "in God's image" and being made "male and female" in Gen 1:27).

Dr. Gagnon concludes:

In short, there are too many flaws in this statement to make this a flagship statement for evangelicals regarding the current American Crisis on marriage.

Dr. Gagnon's spot-on critique of Dr. Moore's statement is not perfectionism, but simply Biblical witness. From a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), bless his heart.

Thank you, Dr. Gagnon.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!