Nothing is Pure

To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.  They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. – Titus 1:15-16

As I’m sure many of you have been following, Planned Parenthood has been getting lambasted on social media in the aftermath of the sting operation by Center for Medical Progress. This is not to discuss the video in question – although the casual brutality of Deborah Nucatola, the Planned Parenthood senior director of medical services, while discussing the vivisection and murder of children, was horrifying – not titillating, as Slate speculated. That very sort of comment is the problem we need to address, however – to the defiled, nothing is pure.  You can’t have a righteous anger.  It can only be frothing rage.  You can’t be appalled by the sheer casual brutality in which dismemberment and murder is discussed.  You have to be sexually excited by the discussion – as abjectly filthy as the very idea of that prospect is to us.  Yet, that is what their support base is fed – in tiny morsels of untruths.  You can’t have a genuine horror at the atrocity being perpetrated on children just like our own- in my case, like mine, in my wife’s womb, and of a similar age to the ones spoken of being torn apart, crushed, and murdered in such a cavalier fashion.  You can’t possibly imagine, for instance, the tiny body of your stillborn daughter – purposefully torn apart by a murderer like those who haunt abortion clinics.  It’s titillating.  The very thought of such abomination makes me physically ill – but that’s what they think of you, folks.  While yes, it is lurid – and grotesque – it is an accurate depiction of what actually happens when they murder children – every day.  But, you know – nobody can actually believe that matters.  What about women’s rights to reproductive health? (Well, except the 26 million we’ve murdered.  But they, apparently, had it coming.)

Yet, of course, as Planned Parenthood assured us today, they do apologize for the tone of Ms. Nucatola’s remarks.  Right.  As if the symptom is the actual cause.  No, while that tone “does not reflect that compassion” that Planned Parenthood says it has as their “top priority” – notice what they said there.  “Our top priority is the compassionate care that we provide.”  To the crushed and/or vivisected baby?  Oh, wait.  What?  Do they really think the actual concern is that talk of crushing and vivisection of the baby is horrifying people because it is inconsiderate of the living patient?  Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe that for a minute.  However, it is obvious that they don’t care about the babies.  They are tissue, remember?  Back to that in a second.  It is equally apparent that they know that we do, however.

See, it is simultaneously crafted to gull the unwary into thinking that they intend to be compassionate to the babies AND the mothers – but to also put one in the eye of their critics who know better – and actually read English proficiently, by the by.  What they actually just said was that it was inconsiderate to literally describe what they do to other human beings – after all, a lack of euphemisms (aka compassion) drives away paying customers.  Got to have that bedside manner intact so they won’t be bothered so much by our sucking their babies’ brains out through a tube.  After we punch a hole in their heads.  This is the problem, folks.  Yes, yes, all sorts of people hashtagged #PPSellsBabyParts – the problem is, the other side doesn’t care.   Nobody who has deceived themselves into thinking murdering over a million children per year for their own convenience is okay will bat an eyelash over “use for medical research.” Nobody.  Not one.  Why? Because you don’t have any common ground with such a hellish worldview, Christian.  They redefine human beings into unpersons, reduce them to “parasitic tissue,” schedule their murders, fry their skin off, suck their brains out, hack their limbs off, dump them into an incinerator – but it’s an issue for them that someone uses that corpse for science?  Think about this.  Not only do you have nothing in common with such a hellish worldview, but you want nothing in common with it.

The real issue, as always, is a heart issue.  A mind issue.  Their conscience is defiled. A man who is convinced that a proper solution to the slaking of their own lusts – or that of another’s –  is to kill the one person innocent of that crime is a monster of gargantuan proportions.  In our last post, we spoke of the modern Molech.  Caananite society was to be wiped from the face of the earth for precisely this reason – the murder of innocents on the altar.  Except nowadays, the altar is that of our own convenience and “liberty”.  Liberty from the consequences of our own sinful actions – and isn’t that a handy scapegoat? The one incapable of defending themselves.  It is a horror, an abomination.  A blight on the face of this earth that rivals that of every death camp Germany ever built.  Yet, in their minds, it is just our titillation at the carnage.  Their minds are defiled.  Sin has a noetic effect. This, friends, is what “nothing is pure” means.  It means that our hatred for sin is seen as perversion, and that their murders are seen as virtuous exercise, and a loving, compassionate thing to do.  Everything is topsy turvy. They call evil good, and good evil.  Those woes?  Just a myth!

There is no reasoning from there to here.  The entirety of man is depraved.  You cannot appeal to his “better nature”.  Man is a slave to sin. He does his master’s bidding – and finds it very good. He loves it.  Not only that, but the checks on sin have been removed, and common grace’s blessing is slowly withdrawn from us, as a people.  There is no commonality, no point of contact which we both, as antithetical worldviews, possess as a point of contact.  There is nothing that you can point to, from that system, that you can grab on to, and say, look, this is real, this is rational.  Everything is topsy turvy.  Their liberty is slavery.  We are not only down the rabbit hole, we are in the midst of the Red Queen’s coterie, and pleading for a single sane ear to heed us, in the busily chattering crowds of sycophantic drones.  You will find none.  All is madness, death, and vanity.

But God. I know you like those two words.  I know I do, too.  You probably know this already, but if you don’t, look up the instances where “But God” is used.  Your pastor probably won’t thank me for it – because that’s a great sermon transition I just ruined for him – but trust me, it’s worth it.

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” – 1 Cor. 1:27-31

See, while there is horror, abomination, and depravity all around us – But God.  He chose us.  The foolish.  The base. The despised.  It is by His doing that we are united to Christ, to His wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption!  So, why do we want common ground with that horror, abomination, and depravity, anyway?  The next verse in Titus, to return to that book, is very important.

Chapter 2 starts with this:

But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.

Another but – but with our practical command.  They will do what they do.  Sinners gonna sin.  As for you – speak fitting things. Sound doctrine.  In verses 5 and 7, notice a word that shows up in both. Pure.  Notice in verse 4 – so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children – needed, timely advice – the elder are to instruct the younger.  They are both to be sensible. σωφρονέω, in opposition to the ἀδόκιμος νοῦς of Romans 1:28.  The μεμιαμμένοις – the defiled – have a mind that is μιαίνω – defiled.  The ἁγνάς – the pure – have purity – ἀδιαφθορία.  This continues throughout the rest of the chapter. Purity of doctrine.  Sound in speech, beyond reproach.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. – Titus 2:11-15

Grace instructs. Deny ungodliness, and worldly desires – desires that have been twisted into lesser echoes of their initial created state.  Live sensibly – with a clear mind – be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  See sanctification above.  Live righteously, for God – in this present age.  (Which is now, folks!)  Looking ahead to the hope heralded by the return and appearing of the glory of Christ.  We were redeemed, in order that He might purify us. That is the answer for the depraved mind. For the defiled mind.  The only point of contact for fallen humanity is in their creation in His image.  In their innate knowledge of Him, as His creatures, which they cannot escape, and is ever before and within them; ineradicably stamped upon every molecule, and upon their very soul, tattered and torn though it may be.   Press the antithesis between what they know they are, and what they say they are.  Push every inconsistency of their patchwork belief system to absurdity.  But keep bringing it back to who they really are.  A person made in the image of God – who knows what He should do, doesn’t do it, and thus sins against his Maker. Someone who needs to repent of their sins, cast themselves upon His mercy, and seek the one who is Just and Justifier.  The only one who can make them clean, and forgive their trespasses.  They can’t repair their soul.  They can’t make themselves love good, and hate evil.  They are slaves.  But God…

We know the only One who can set men free – even from their abominable slavery to the slaughter of innocents, and so many other heinous offenses against the Most High.  These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

The Modern Molech

Molech still receives sacrifices. Now they call the altar the blood of the unborn runs down by the name “women’s health”, and “reproductive rights.” Except for the 26 million women whose health and reproductive rights were terminated – with extreme prejudice. So, tell me, folks. Are you prepared to say that these are persons being murdered? If not, what are they? Sub-persons? (Or unpersons? Hmm.) Where have we heard that argument before?

But let’s grant that for the sake of argument, for those of you still unconvinced. If they are sub-human, are they animals? If they are animals, why would this even be a problem? The Planned Parenthood representative doesn’t seem to have one, does she, while, as Patricia Heaton put it, she “swills her chianti”? Let’s just be accurate, and call them butchers – and package that “tissue” however you please, if you please. If that doesn’t strike your fancy, then why are they superior to animals, but still inferior to persons? Further, why is packaging their body for sale (excuse me, donation… in exchange for a small donation, of course!) any more offensive than packaging a cow, or a pig?

Words have meanings. Meanings have consequences. Consequences occur in real life – sometimes, while unconcernedly eating a salad, discussing dismemberment of babies – at almost precisely the same developmental stage as my wife and I’s currently womb-inhabiting Philippa.[1] And, incidentally, about the same stage as our Lilith, who died in the womb[2] – whom many of you offered condolences for – and practically any of you reading would have offered condolences for, had you heard.

She had a name. I held her in my arms after she was stillborn, and we buried her – I visit her grave, at our church graveyard – which has a headstone with that name. Tell me, fellow humans, created in the image of God – what is the difference – and what gives anyone the right to murder and dismember a child in the womb – not necessarily in that order?

“For the fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, and it is a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.” – Calvin, Commentary on Exo 21:22

  1. [1]And yes, that was an announcement!
  2. [2]

I’m Neither a Prophet nor Son of a Prophet

But if my guess is correct, this week’s news cycles will be all about hate speech. Ours. Or what they want to represent as ours. You see, with a Friday ruling, and so much near-instant access to our churches’ sermons, you can almost bet that they will be trolling our sermons for sound bytes. You see, while there will be much trumpeting that Kennedy’s majority opinion states the following:

Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate. The Constitution, however, does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex.

Note that it also says this:

Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here. But when that sincere, personal opposition becomes enacted law and public policy, the necessary consequence is to put the imprimatur of the State itself on an exclusion that soon demeans or stigmatizes those whose own liberty is then denied.

Now, when the right to advocate is the only one specifically mentioned – does that include the right to refuse to perform such marriages? It simply does not say. As far as I can tell, that simple fact means that it is almost inevitable that someone will challenge that. They may have even done so today, so that they might file suit tomorrow. As Thomas points out in his dissent:

The majority appears unmoved by that inevitability. It makes only a weak gesture toward religious liberty in a single paragraph, ante, at 27. And even that gesture indicates a misunderstanding of religious liberty in our Nation’s tradition. Religious liberty is about more than just the protection for “religious organizations and persons . . . as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.” Ibid. Religious liberty is about freedom of action in matters of religion generally, and the scope of that liberty is directly correlated to the civil restraints placed upon religious practice.

Roberts says this, about the same section in Kennedy:

The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage. . . . The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to “exercise” religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.

So, two things for next week.

There will be some hoopla about a homosexual couple requesting marriage at a dissenting church. Probably not reported on in the mass media, but I could be surprised.

Secondly, there will be a consistent, repetitive mass media saturation concerning hate speech from churches and/or religious institutions – and at first, the crazier the better. From there, they will move on to the folks from the SBC and their like. I might be wrong, but everywhere else this has been instituted, there have been hate speech laws enacted swiftly thereafter. We’re on the accelerated track, so I do not expect this to be slow, at all. It will follow inevitably.

I know what you might be thinking. Isn’t this alarmist? Why should we expect anything different? Has human nature changed lately? We are seeing glowing examples every day that it hasn’t.

Expect things to progress swiftly and precipitously. If they don’t, and we are granted a small measure more of common grace, we will be pleasantly surprised. However, you have no more time to wait before you start preparing your children, your spouse, and yourself for the wrath of God being poured out on this nation.

Be prepared with counters to the common objections. Comparison to racism? Race doesn’t exist. It is a societal invention, of whole cloth – just like SSM. Judge not? Certainly that doesn’t mean we judge the merits of nothing. After all, we are told to judge with righteous judgement. We just posted about the silliness of the mixed fabrics objection.

There are a host of resources here, at,, and a wealth of other places for you to make your preparations, for those who truly thought it would “never happen here.” They thought that a lot of places, and in a lot of times. Now that you know it is happening here, be wise, and get to work.

Now a short warning for those who support SSM, however:

Make no mistake: the political implication of the recent fiat from scotus is disastrous; but not because of any expectation of a loss of power or influence. It is just another evidence, along with Roe, that this nation is under the judgement of God. Barring a Jonah for our Nineveh, it means that we will perish as a nation. Like Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, Rome, or any other in history. It has nothing to do with the political element of the equation save a warning to flee the wrath to come. The judgement has been plain to see since I was a child, despite claims of any majority, moral or otherwise. All we have “accomplished,” for lack of a better term, has been at best, limited; a temporary holding action. There are all the claims of progress, progress; but the only progression has been toward the grave.

If you are currently celebrating a “civil rights” victory, this is merely emblematic of the root issue between what you and we consider good, peaceful and just. I am sure that pleases you. I am equally sure that it grieves me. The root difference is that a rather large percentage of what you call a laudable good, we call a monstrous. Our ideals are the enemy of yours, and vice versa. If you haven’t grasped that we truly are at odds on the majority of what we believe, then please, understand that we are not angry, except in the sense that we are cognizant of the wrath of God hovering over your shoulder that will crash down upon us all, and we know that you don’t see it. My children and yours will suffer for our collective rebellion as a nation. You will scoff at this. You will find it to be madness. We know. We expect that too. We also expect you to participate in that madness when it occurs. When you do, remember what you are reading now.

We also, incidentally, and with full understanding of the history we hold dear, expect not only to suffer hardship, but actual persecution – maybe even to die for expressing these very thoughts you read, within a very short time frame, if that judgement is swift. We hope not, because that will give us more time to prepare our children for something outside our recent experience, but well within our historical experience. Yet we expect, very soon, to face persecution, prison, death, and the forcible removal and reeducation of our children. Mock if you must, but remember; we have experienced this for millennia. We don’t expect better from people now. Why should you be any different from the people whose history you are currently repeating, and even exceeding in evil? Your “shining beacon” of modernistic subjectivism changes opinion like sand or tide. The only direction this country has moved for the last century is toward an orgiastic self-immolation.

These are the things we speak of out of your hearing. That we not only expect to stand up to you, but to be imprisoned or killed for it. We are well aware of the ones who claim our name but are happy to accede to your cultural demands. There have been the same sorts at every point in history, too. We read our history, and take note of it. Remember these words when you see the things you scoffed at happening all around you, and begin to wonder how it all happened to us all. It happens because we forget what men are capable of, and believe them good and great, not petty and vicious. When we trust ourselves to do rightly and justly. Remember, once we start to disappear, our children are relocated next door, when you stop hearing our voices, because you clamored for them to be silenced – and when you start to join us at the whim of others. We warned you of the wrath to come.

It won’t happen because of this decision alone. We’re already guilty, millions of times over, for allowing (and celebrating!) the wholesale murder of innocent children on a scale that will soon dwarf Auschwitz and the rest of the concentration camps combined. That, my friends, is a national evil of which very few of the worst hated regimes in history can be said to be guilty of. This particular issue, our opposition to a wealthy, influential, and popular minority with über-rights will, however, be the excuse used to silence us. We will not say Cæsar est kurios in this land any more than we did in others. We are, however, not surprised, athough some have been sleeping in their unprecedented comfort. This is why we are told to be vigilant. While some have been negligent, perhaps, others have been sounding warnings of this for years – for decades. We are told to expect persecution, and we know that the recent past of this nation has been a historical aberration. Remember, though, when the things you scoffed at become commonplace, and the barbarians are at the gates. It has happened before. The difference is, we knew it would happen again, and why. Mock if you will. But remember. We can not be silent. So you will silence us, because you cannot bear to hear the truth. Oh, we know you say you won’t do it. We don’t believe you. Remember.

Do you wear clothes with mixed fabric types?

This is one of those FAQs asked to Christians who, as the bible teaches, believe that the definition of marriage only allows for a union between one man and one woman.  Christians will have to continually articulate why they believe this, especially in the current climate.

The question asked assumes a lack of coherency  in Scripture when it comes to how God’s people should live. What’s really being asked is this

“If both homosexuality and wearing clothes with mixed fabric types in the bible are condemned in the OT, why is one still wrong and not the other.”

Now, aside from pointing out that homosexuality is explicitly condemned in the NT (Rom 1:18-32; 1 Cor 6:9 being just a couple of examples), it is also helpful to start understanding how the Old Testament and the New Testament is to be read as a whole. I would encourage everyone to purchase a book on Biblical Theology (any resource by G.K. Beale, D.A. Carson, and/or Vern Poythress would be an excellent place to begin). Robert A.J. Gagnon also provides excellent  resources particularly on the topic of how both the Old and New Testaments address  homosexuality.

Recently, someone asked me to “explain why one part of the old law does still apply, while another part doesn’t.”

Here is my answer :

Questions such as “Do you wear clothes with mixed fabric types” are loaded with the assumption that homosexuality and the mixing of fabrics are both equally condemned in the New covenant.

But the question doesn’t try to understand the categories of the mosaic law, or the goal of the Law.

“So, explain why one part of the old law does still apply, while another part doesn’t.”

It isn’t that the Law doesn’t apply, it is that it applies differently, because it is administered differently. Galatians 3:15-23 explains that the mosaic administration (Old Covenant) was intended to be the guardian and tutor of the children of God. The sacrifices, the ceremonies, the dietary laws, all of these things guarded God’s people. But they all were shadows of Christ (who was the substance/reality). These ceremonies also set Israel apart, made them look and appear differently than surrounding nations. This won’t make sense unless you follow the whole story, from Adam to Moses. (Romans 5:14) Nor will it make sense if you refuse to continually disallow the NT to speak for itself.

But the reality, the substance, has been revealed

” Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.”

Christ fulfilled the law in His life, and work, so He mediates on behalf of those who have faith in Him. So there is no need for the ordinances, because they were there to point and lead. Not only that, Christ tore down the ethnical barriers, so that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile (Col 2:14)

But the moral law still applies, because it reflects God’s character. The 10 commandments say what God’s character is like by telling us what ought not be done. But the moral was in place long before the 10 commandments. Otherwise death would not have reigned over humanity from Adam to Moses, on account of sin.

“And while we are at it, let’s see the part where Jesus said “and homosexuals shall not be united in marriage.”

Jesus’ implies His understanding of marriage in Matthew 19:4-5“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”

Jesus upheld the fullness of the law. Moral, Ceremonial, and Civil. He agreed with Leviticus 19:18 as His repetition of it indicates “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”

He would have said amen to Leviticus 18:21-23 which states
(1) Don’t sacrifice your children to false gods, I AM the LORD
(2) Don’t lie with a male as a man lies with a female, this is an abomination (repeated again in Leviticus 20:3)
(3) Do not have intercourse with animals (this is a perversion)

[As an aside, do you think it’s wrong to sacrifice children to entities that don’t exist? Do you think it’s wrong to have intercourse with an animal? If so, why? If not, why shouldn’t it be allowed?]

Jesus emphasized His ministry as a continuation of Moses’ (John 5:46-47; Matthew 5:17). However the Old administration of the Law, with Moses as mediator, only existed to give way under the New Covenant (Luke 22:20; Matt 26:28)

“Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope” (Heb 3:5-6)

I believe that the full teaching of Scripture is coherent in and of itself, and that its message in part and in whole is infallible (being the Word of God)

I do not buy the idea that just because Scripture has a story in which things are administered in x way at t1, but now in t2 administered in a way that has some discontinuities from x, that therefore Christian belief is incoherent.

I also believe that any attempt in understanding the bible in a way that denies its coherency will

(1) demonstrate a misunderstanding on the part of that person, and

(2) it will also lead to an inaccuracy of representation concerning my view

If you don’t believe (1), we can talk about it. I can understand that. But (2) is important, because if you cite a theory that we both agree is incoherent, and then fail to show how that it belongs in my own view, then you will simply beg the question (you will assume that the bible is incoherent in showing that the bible is incoherent)

The Tyranny of Death

Death is a tyrant.

Only one, however, has ever experienced the entirety of the curse of death. Everyone else will experience it in part, or never cease to experience it. The fullness of that tyranny rests its claws upon only one; He upon whom the wrath of God, and all the terrible and righteous fury that implies, was poured, and who bore it for the sake of His elect. Christ, our Lord and King.

The first death, the promise of Adam’s curse, attends us all. This is a pittance, a vapor, in comparison to that of the second. It is that which Christ bore for His people, and for that we should be on our knees for, in thanksgiving and tears – repenting of the sins for which He died, and growing in His grace and knowledge.

However, we must understand that our culture is in love with death. It promotes the murder of children as a “right”, and discards the creation of life as the centerpiece and purpose for marriage – as well as its import as a picture of Christ’s love for His church. This culture of death, which “celebrates” the destruction of life, is showing clearly the nature of the tyrant which rules it, and holds it captive to dissolution.

Earlier today, we announced the impending birth of our 7th child – Philippa Rae. Prior to this happy pregnancy, however, we lost two children to miscarriage. The very same people who have been so tirelessly promoting the “marriage” of two people unable to create children, who cannot be united as “husband” and “wife”, who are not “male and female” – are in most cases the same persons who would champion and likewise promote the wholesale murder of unwanted children. I am the father of many – yet I have held a miscarried babe in my arms, attended their funeral, and mourned them. Babes that same age are ripped into pieces, burned alive, and discarded like trash – daily – all over this country. It is, therefore, no surprise that the union of two who cannot create such a life are being touted as an alternative, is it not?

I am not only the biological father of many, but we are a blended family. I am no stranger to the fatherhood of choice, along with that blood. The family redeemed is likewise a Scriptural theme, and one which resonates with me, deeply. The corruption – the twisting of such a redemption into the grotesqueries of a “family” consisting of “two dads and their children,” or the like, is deeply, and exceptionally, emblematic of the same cause which incites death’s tyranny. Sin.

You see, sin is a parasite. It is not something which can exist of itself. Something sinful is unsustainable. It requires something else diametrically opposed to it to gorge itself upon, and thus to corrupt. Aborted children do not murder other children, after all – do they? Homosexual partners cannot reproduce themselves. They must, of a necessity, be societal parasites. Like, I might add, the celibate priesthood of the Roman Catholic church must be.

So, what is “equal” about a societally parasitic “union” calling itself a “marriage”? I’m not talking about a couple who should be able to procreate, yet due to the curse, has lost that ability through no specific fault of their own. I am speaking of a supposed ‘union” which lacks the capacity to procreate without parasitism upon other members of that society, and withholds one element of parentage from the resultant offspring purposefully – the mother or father – to be replaced by “two mothers” or “two fathers” – which is, by definition, neither marriage, nor a family unit. It is a polyamorous, parasitic amorph of questionable, and indeed, negative value. Sin always involves parasitism and lack. That is what defines it as such. Using terms like “equality” of so-called “same sex marriage” is merely Newspeak, and holds no meaning for thinking people.

It doesn’t matter who calls it “equal.” Using comparisons to racism is equally vacuous. In fact, it is an insult to those who suffered that scourge of sophistry. Race, as I have repeatedly argued, is not even a coherent category. It means nothing. It, too, is an amorphous, parasitic quagmire of illogic.

This movement must, and does, steal from the real to clothe its unreality. Their symbol, the rainbow, is itself emblematic. It was a sign that God will never again flood the earth to destroy men for their evil. By flaunting it, they do precisely what Romans 1 cites them for – they are enflamed by their lusts, and those passions are degrading for both them, and for everyone they influence. Now, sadly, that influence will extend, legally, to “their” children.

Sin is a parasite. Death is a tyrant. Tyrants, of course, are a sort of parasite. As death’s sting sinks into the world around us, we must recall that light and life is of God. While those who love darkness and their own evil “celebrate” them, remember whose you are. If you are reading this, and you are offended by my words concerning your chosen sins, consider this: If I don’t say this, you’d consider me contemptible, because you know I _should_ believe it, if I think Scripture is true, right? I consider your actions an offense, but they are not an offense against me. I am not offended. God is. God is the one to whom you must answer. Your celebration of death in this life deserves only only more death in the next. Thus, you must repent of your rebellion, and be given life – because those to whom this life is given have had it purchased by the One who suffered the second death in their stead. That, friend, was not a celebration. It was a purification of all the corruption, rottenness, twistedness and emptiness that sin is – a cleansing fire that burned it away that life might return and that restoration might begin. A life more abundant, and not a life that is a mere shadow of that which it should be – life that begets life – not a shambling horror of death that begets only still more death.

Only one has ever experienced the entirety of the curse of death. Don’t make your life a living death, and follow it with the second, which will never end. All you can do, apart from God, is live under the tyranny of sin and death. Being enflamed by this lust, or any other, only results in your ruin. But there is redemption from any sort of ruin. For such is why Christ came – to seek and save the lost.

Three Ways Apologetics Will Change in the Near Future

Apologetics change based upon the context in which they are used. In the years to come, apologetics will change in at least three ways:

1. Necessary Apologetics

Apologists will be lobbyists rather than hobbyists. The necessity of defending the Christian faith will be impressed upon Christians in a way it has not been in recent years. Look for apologetic arguments to focus more upon defending Christians from unnecessary persecution by the society and the state and less upon abstract theological particulars or classical theism.

2. Explanatory Apologetics

As biblical illiteracy and anti-intellectual emotionalism continue to permeate the church and loose the bonds of common grace the apologetic task will increasingly consist of mere explanation of the Christian worldview. Theological beliefs which were once widely held or assumed will be called into question and relegated to obscurity, leaving the apologist a blank canvas that needs to be painted before it can be sold.

3. Cultural Apologetics

Christians are moral people. The contrast between the cultural contributions of Christians and the relative lack of non-Christian ones must be exploited for the sake of showing that Christianity is not only true, but good and beautiful as well.

Please note that each of these three “changes” are nothing new to the realm of apologetics. The Church has already been to the places she is going, even apologetically, but these changes may be new to us.

Thankfully, each of them is perfectly consistent with the apologetic methodology set forth through the pages of this website.

A Conversation About Categories

There are particular buzzwords in the air these days. Of course, there are buzzwords in the air every day – and always have been. One of the hot-buttons these days is “transgender”. With the media circus surrounding Bruce Jenner, it is in an impossible glare. The media’s feeding frenzies know no bounds, and the level of rhetoric and sheer hyperbole is shocking, even to a jaded student of mass media narrative creation.

The problem is, the left is in a pickle when it comes to “transgender” – much as it is in a pickle concerning “bisexuals.” With the latter, on the one hand, there is the push for monogamous same-sex unions. On the other hand, there are “bisexuals,” who, by their very stated desires, require polygamous unions with both sexes. Similarly, there is an ideological incompatibility between feminism and transgenderism. An old school feminist rejects, most vehemently, the idea that inclusion into the ranks of female is accomplished by surgical means. The “war” between these two ideologies can be introduced here, in a general way.

The entire conversation about “gender identity” is anything but simple. In fact, it is complicated terribly by the ever-multiplying definitions that are tossed around by various proponents. It is also complicated by the odd, and often jarring insistence on binary genders, in movements that you might be surprised to see those insistences in. If, of course, you weren’t aware of why those retentions exist. As Biblical complementarians, we need merely to look at the Scriptural witness to see the basis for such surprising “holdovers” from the creation ordinances.

That brings us, however, to that frank discussion about categories. The entire gender discussion in modern society revolves around the same category that most anthropological heresies do. So, let’s be frank here, as we must. The real issue with “gender identity” is anthropological heresy – which, in turn, arises from a theological one. Mankind, seeking to exchange the Creator for creation, supplants God’s ordinance with their own.[1] ἀπὸ δὲ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως (from the beginning of creation[2]) God has made them male and female. In a similar phrase, ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου (For since the creation of the world[3]) His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. They know God. They know how things should be. However, [f]or even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

The knowledge of God here discussed is explained over the course of the previous verses; it is revelatory, it is sufficient, it is inescapable, and it is clear. It is revelatory, because the text tells us it is. God made it manifest to them. It is sufficient, because (a) God is who has made it manifest, and (b) It renders men indefensible before God. It is inescapable, because man is a creation of God, in His image, as well as a part of creation – he cannot escape himself, and neither can he escape his environment. It is clear, again, because God has made it thus. The text says, expressly, that what God has revealed is clearly seen, and understood. Paul’s argument is inexorable, it is perspicuous, and it is unavoidable. Men are without an excuse, because they know God, know who He is, what is required of them, and that they have a necessary covenantal relationship with Him as His creatures. Yet, they neither glorify God as they are required to do, nor do they thank the God they know for what they know He has given them, in His common grace. In their suppression of the truth (which they are in possession of) their foolish hearts are darkened. All of their deliberations, their speculations, or arguments (διαλογισμός), are useless, worthless, or futile (ματαιόω). They have no apologetic for their lack of proper response to the God they know, and are required to glorify and give thanks to.[4]

The narrative of the “trans” movement is essentially both old and new come again. It is a confusion of categories intended to blur the distinctions, yet validate their “identity.” On the one hand, there is the push to “identify” as a particular “gender” – but in the process of so doing, there is a concomitant push to redefine that gender. Interestingly enough, this very idea clashes with the the feminist redefinition of gender – and will inevitably clash with other, even more “progressive” ideas concerning gender – many of which already exist (especially in non-western cultures, apart from a judeo-christian moral ethos), but have not yet had the public glare strike them as fully. Indeed, it is difficult to reconcile the seemingly contradictory goals of bisexuality and polyamory advocates with their collective identification with homosexual advocacy – as can be seen in the ubiquitous LGBTQ alphabet soup. Lesbian and Gay – but bisexual? We hear the drumbeat of “monogamous same-sex unions” – but how can that possibly work with “bisexual” in the mix? Transgender? Or the even more dizzying spectrum of ideas found within Q?

Endemic to the problems raised by “gender identity” is that same dizzying self-contradictory problem of mutual exclusivity. On the one hand, we are told that “self-identification” is the basis of this “identity” – but that merely begs the question. Identified with what? If all we really have are subjectivistic labels, what, exactly, are they labeling? How can they be referenced meaningfully by anyone who is not the subject? If, in essence, all rules can do is prove the exceptions, what then do we actually know, objectively, about these so-called identities? What ontological status do they or any other ontological category, have – or can they have?

With the abject failure of subjectivist philosophy to say anything meaningful about anything whatsoever – why should we expect subjectivistic gender theory to say anything meaningful? The flood of self-contradiction is not a danger by any logical standard. The problem is that they exist because there are no logical standards in operation in the context that such things are discussed. All the angst-ridden nobody-understands-me drivel aside, there is a core of truth to it. Nobody can understand something which intentionally sets out to erase intelligibility. Any quest for “freedom” which undertakes a project of category demolition which as a stated aim, is the erection of intentional, subjectivistic pseudo-categories is doomed to never be understood – or meaningful in any rational sense. So, have a conversation about these categories – with your children, family members, co-workers, or friends – but don’t buy the redefinitions when they are gibberish. You don’t have to agree that “`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves. Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.” That is nonsense. Just like gender identity is.

  1. [1]Romans 1:23
  2. [2]Mar 10:6
  3. [3]Romans 1:20
  4. [4]Whipps, Exposition of Romans 1:16-2:16 – The Knowledge of God, In Antithesis Vol. 1, No. 1, pg 52

The Theological Bases

The other day, I posted a reply to Andrew, at “Entertaining Christianity.” He has since responded. We’ve chatted a bit privately, as well, but my time constraints tend to curtail things, occasionally.

Essentially, I think there’s a bit of miscommunication on his part about what, exactly, the problems were with his post. As I pointed out to him, that could very well be due to our rather different backgrounds, theologically speaking. From our conversation, I gathered that he was confused by what I meant by “omnibenevolence” in the context I used it in. As others have pointed out, “omnibenevolence” typically means, in certain circles, “unibenevolence”. Further, he seems to have mistaken my… directness… for personal commentary.

To deal with the second issue first, an “ad hominem” is a rejection of a claim on the basis of an irrevelant fact, or personal characteristic of the person making it; but especially, in lieu of an argument that refutes said claim. Contrast: I start a paragraph by pointing out an instance of self-refutation. Also known as, hypocrisy. I further argue that the Jews that Jesus castigates in the Gospels are, largely, those guilty of what? Hypocrisy. My conclusion is that the author is a hypocrite – which is what he was claiming the problem of others was, in his initial post – and used the words that Jesus applied to those who were hypocrites. Additionally, it was done to underscore the point that, contrary to the assertions made in that same initial post, Jesus was “not nice” NOT to the “overly religious” – but to the pervertedly religious – those who practiced a hypocritical religion made in their own image, not God’s. I also referred to 1st Timothy, and addressed his commentary on the Law. My conclusion refers back to one of the initial points that I raised – that when Paul says what the law is good for, he has already said that the Law can be, and is, abused when you are ignorant of it. In other words, when speaking of something you do not understand, it quickly becomes a fruitless discussion.

So, that being dealt with – there are a number of things that could be said about the remainder of Andrew’s rejoinder. It seems apparent that he is not Reformed, obviously. It also seems apparent that he is either not used to, or chooses not to, cite and exegete Scripture. He artificially limits himself to short posts – something to do with attention spans – but that doesn’t excuse one from the need to utilize Scripture.

That, of course, brings us to the point of the title of this post. To properly lay out a Christian response to the assertions of the unbelieving world, we must, as a matter of necessity, cover our theological bases. Bases must be 1) Laid out in a particular order 2) Be at the proper distance from one another. When you don’t do that, you have a seriously messed up baseball game! For another analogy that says something similar, see here. Before we get to what I meant about omnibenevolence, we need to lay out our doctrines, in at least a general way. Why do this? As I summarized in this post, “[t]o retain a proper balance, we have to be able to understand the interplay of the entirety of the doctrines we confess.” Earlier in that same post, I said the following;

What we believe is derived from the Scripture alone, and from the totality of Scripture. Such an organized, cohesive, and categorized system of belief is summarized in our confession of faith, then organized categorically in our systematic theology. The sum total of what we are to believe, as the “whole counsel of God”, is our “worldview.” It is the whole counsel of God which we present and preach – then likewise defend. Recall Van Til’s comment earlier – “defense and positive statement go hand in hand.” When we engage with an unbeliever, or even with a defective idea of Christianity, we first must understand the “totality picture” – the entire Christian worldview – and present it as a positive statement. I cannot stress this enough.

When I addressed Andrew’s post, I did so with an emphasis that considered it a “defective form of Christianity.” I believe that his emphasis on what I have already referred to as “unibenevolence” (which is often conflated with omnibenevolence, and expressed as such) makes his response on the subject of homosexuality defective. It is insufficient to speak “simply” of sin, in a general sense, without speaking of the Biblical basis for it. It is, furthermore, insufficient to speak of the Love of God in a reductionistic fashion. Additionally, engaging in the aforementioned reductionism results in a faulty theology proper. Even more problematic, however, is the recognition that most synergistic theological systems define theology proper in terms of what is necessarily true given a particular anthropology. He has asked me to explain why I don’t believe that God loves each and every person “equally.” Hence, a short doctrinal summary is in order.

First, understand that I am Reformed. That incorporates a number of things. First, I am Confessional. This means that I subscribe to a confessional statement – much more detailed than a creed might be. Specifically, I subscribe to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (or, henceforth, the LBCF). Confessions are not authoritatively *above* Scripture, but subservient to it. For instance, the LBCF states, in its first article, that “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.” Note, especially, that I linked a version which includes the Scripture proofs which the authors consider to be the basis for this statement. Frequent exegesis of these texts by Particular Baptists can be found by the discerning reader, and are commended highly to you. The confessions are to be considered as summarizations of the collective teaching of Scripture. More to the immediate point, however, there are several articles of my confession which bear on this subject.

From the second chapter, we find that God is “without parts”, second, that He is “in every way infinite”, and third, that He is “most loving.” When all that is said in that section is considered, it is saying that God is “infinitely loving.” In the third chapter, we read that “God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass.” We also read that “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated, or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace; others being left to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice.” There is additional discussion in that chapter, of course, but the heart of the matter is that some are chosen – the elect of God – while others are passed over – reprobated. In the 5th chapter, we read the following: “As the providence of God doth in general reach to all creatures, so after a more special manner it taketh care of his church, and disposeth of all things to the good thereof.” In other words, God has a special grace that includes salvation, while He has a providential, or common grace, that applies to all. He makes the rain to fall on the unjust, as well as the just – but all good things that come about on this earth, since the Fall, are for the sake of His glory, and for the sake of His elect people, despite their general effect for all men. On the other hand, the special grace of God is bestowed only upon the beloved – those whom He has chosen, from eternity, to save out of this fallen world.

However, let’s return to Chapter 3 momentarily. Not only are His people elected, and those who are not His people reprobated, but “As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so he hath, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto; wherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ, by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith unto salvation; neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.”

In other words, those who were predestined were also called. Those whom He called, He also justified. Those whom He justified, He also glorified. Sound familiar? If it does, that’s because it is an almost direct citation of Romans 8:30.

“and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”

Further, however, the confession also mentions that “The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience to him as their creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.” To be Reformed is also to be Covenantal. It continues in the next article and affirms that “it pleased the Lord to make a covenant of grace, wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.” Notice several things. First, note that it says “it pleased the Lord.” Earlier, we noted that “God hath decreed … all things, whatsoever comes to pass.” In the previous article, it notes that “he hath most sovereign dominion over all creatures, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth.” Compare; God has dominion over all creatures as He pleases – He pleases to make a covenant of grace. Notice Dan 4:35 cited – but if I might, I would also refer you to Psalm 115:3 – “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” Also see Psalm 135:6. However, not only will He do whatever He pleases – whatever He pleases will always be accomplished. See Isa 46:10-11! That covenant is not only given – it is accomplished. As Chapter 8 begins, it says “It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, according to the covenant made between them both, to be the mediator between God and man; the prophet, priest, and king; head and saviour of the church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world; unto whom he did from all eternity give a people to be his seed and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.” So, the question is before us: If this covenant, of which He is the mediator, is the good pleasure of God – can it ever fail to accomplish its purpose? Of course not! This, however, causes a problem for particular views. If all those who were elected are also those called – and those called are justified – and all those who are justified are also glorified – then are not all who are elected those who will be glorified together with Christ as His bride? In other words, everyone justified – everyone for whom Christ suffered and died – were chosen by God, called to Him, propitiated for, and gathered to Him in eternal life. Right? So – what does that mean, practically? It means that those for whom Christ died – the “beloved” so often spoken of by John, the “elect,” the “bride,” is identical to those who will be with Him in eternity. If that is true, then Christ did not die for all men, without exception. Why do I point that out? Because of this quotation, from this post: “The specific sins do not send us to Hell. We send ourselves by denying God’s love.” Now, what theological position would someone have to hold to, in order to say this? The position of “unlimited atonement.” Further, he says that “He loves you. You personally. You specifically. He thinks about you all the time. He loves you just as much as He does Billy Graham, Paul, Peter, any pastor or priest, Muslim or Hindi, or anyone else. God does not hate you. God wants to be with you.”

Now, while I appreciate the sentiment, if not the truthfulness of it – it directly follows this statement: “I am sorry. On behalf of all those who have bludgeoned gays with hate in order to puff themselves up with bigotry. They have lied about God; about who He is an how He loves.”

If believing that God does not love everyone “equally” (which He doesn’t), that we don’t go to Hell for merely “denying God’s love” – does that mean that we “bludgeon gays with hate in order to puff” ourselves “up with bigotry”? Are we lying about God – who He is, and how He loves? Or are you, Andrew, however unknowingly? Just because Fred Phelps abused Calvinism (the third hallmark of being Reformed) does not mean that the thing abused is wrong, of itself. Fred Phelps was a nut. Nobody is disputing that. He didn’t speak the truth in love, and his twisting of doctrine was appalling. However, the fact that he was a hateful and deceitful man, who beget a hateful, deceitful cult does not mean that God does not hate sinners, or sin itself. See Psalm 5:5, 11:5, and Proverbs 6:16-19. We have to account for the whole counsel of God.

Immediately you might say, however, what about John 3:16? Or 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9, and Matthew 23:37 (also known as “The Big Three”)? Well, let me ask you, brother – have you read any reformed exegetes who treat those texts? For instance – have you ever noticed that John 3:16 has the interesting little clause “that whosoever believes in Him.” As James White comments:

The phrase “whoever believes” in verse 15 is hina pas ho pisteuwn, which is directly parallel to the same phrase in verse 16 [in fact, the parallel of the first part of the phrase led, in later manuscripts, and in fact in the Majority Text type, to the harmonization of verse 15 with 16, resulting in the expansion of the original. The NASB, however, reflects the more accurate textual reading, “so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life” or “so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.”]. The English term “whoever” is meant to communicate “all without distinction in a particular group,” specifically, “those who believe.” Pas means “all” and ho pisteuwn is “the one(s) believing,” hence, “every one believing,” leading to “whoever believes.” It should be remembered that there is no specific word for “whoever” in the Greek text: this comes from the joining of “all” with “the one believing,” i.e., “every one believing.” The point is that all the ones believing have eternal life. There is no such thing as a believing person who will not receive the promised benefit, hence, “whosoever.” This is a common form in John’s writings.

Well, you say, that’s all very well – but there’s all sorts of “all” passages! In reply, I would ask you to exegete the texts, and demonstrate that the “all” you are thinking of is the “all” that is in the text. I can pretty much guarantee to you that this will not be the case. It is common for folks to claim that this is so – but I have never seen an even remotely successful exegetical argument made to support this contention.

As I mentioned, I am a Calvinist. I believe that all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God. I further believe that the Scripture teaches that all men are hostile to God; “all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.” Further, that “From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.” We have to be regenerated by the power of God; given the gifts of faith and repentance by the power of the Spirit, and only thereby may we believe the Word preached, and repent of our sins. All who do so repent and believe are those who were predestined – “Those of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving him thereunto.” Further, as we already mentioned, that Christ died for His people, and His people alone. God does not decree His own eternal frustration, nor can He fail in the accomplishment of His will – which the Scripture clearly teaches is that all the Father has given the Son might be justified, and raised on the last day. (John 6:37-45) Also, I believe that all those who are given by the Father are regenerated by the power of the Spirit of God. That Salvation is a trinitarian work, and begins with the Spirit replacing our stony hearts with a heart of flesh. (Eze 36:26) Along with that new heart, new ears, and new eyes – ears that can hear, and eyes that can see, are the gifts of faith, and of repentance. Those who are His will, by the power of God, be His – because He does as He pleases, and His will is always accomplished. Finally, I believe that all who are given to the Son cannot be snatched from His hand. As inevitably and as perfectly as God always accomplishes His will, there is nothing that anyone can ever do to make us lose that salvation – because salvation is of the Lord. (Jonah 2:9) We belong to Him, and no power on earth or in heaven can change that.

In closing – please note something important. Even in this somewhat extended post, I did not engage in in-depth exegesis. If that is what you want, I can provide it, over time. However, I thought that it might be more helpful, for you (and for others who read this) to see that why we believe something is far more involved than a single proof text. In fact, our entire system of belief is involved in why we believe anything in particular. Our consistency in belief is also tied up with that, as well. The “hypocrite” comment was to point out the inconsistency I saw present in your post, Andrew – which I hope is far clearer now – and clearly seen not as ad hominem, but as a reductio ad absurdum. I also hope that this is a relatively comprehensive answer to your question. I don’t being God loves everyone equally, because that would 1) Be directly contrary to the teaching of Scripture. Just for one example, out of the various that are shown above – God a) Does what He pleases b) Pleases to covenant with a particular people c) Fulfills that covenant – and does not, cannot fail to do so. 2) Is directly contrary to what I believe, as a whole, about who and what God is. That idea does not, and cannot, fit in my system of theology, as exegeted from Scripture, and arranged systematically. 3) Be assuming something of God that would make Him even less than we are. I don’t love my wife the same as my children, and not the same way that I do strangers. I could, actually, multiply reasons, but I think you get the picture.

For our typical readers – you also know that the reductio above was a TAG. If the position cannot support its own claims, it fails by the IoC. I also hope that was useful to you, as well!

A Leap to the Left

Today someone called my attention to Jamin Hubner’s, “A New Case for Female Elders: An Analytical Reformed-Evangelical Approach” (doctoral thesis, University of South Africa, 2013) and asked if I might comment on it. As far as I know, nobody has done so, even though the thesis is an attempt at making a case for female elders according to an “analytical reformed-evangelical” approach. All quotes and citations in this post come from the aforementioned source.

In the thesis, Jamin describes his slide to the left:

When I started the graduate research on women deacons, I was generally against the idea of women pastors. There was also no desire to pursue the subject of women in ministry any further. But the study of women deacons inevitably led to research in women elders, and after researching 1 Timothy 2:12 and other resources more thoroughly, it became evident that not only were women pastors theologically and biblically justified within the basic assumptions of my faith, but there was much room for improvement in going about arguing for such a conclusion. The affirmation of women elders went against my theological traditions, the teaching of my seminary professors, and the position of my thesis advisor. It was also a conclusion that is, unfortunately, potentially threatening for certain academic careers (e.g., many Evangelical and Reformed seminaries and institutions do not hire faculty members who approve of women elders). Despite these various concerns, this work stems from a conviction that the subject of women elders is too important not to address in a meaningful, coherent fashion (hence “analytical” in the title of this study)—precisely because the preaching of the gospel and the edification of the church is central to the Christian faith, and that is what is at stake. If the universal ban of half the church from functioning as pastors has no sound theological basis, then there is great harm being done on a global scale, and the importance of this study becomes greater. (3)

Jamin turned on his own convictions and traditions, as well as the convictions of his professors and adviser (elsewhere he also mentions friends who disagree with his new position). That’s exceedingly unwise.

And this lack of wisdom shows in some of the – frankly wacky – things he writes from there on out. For example:

Sin has tainted each aspect of human existence—and, as egalitarian Reformed theologians would emphasize, pollution of sin also includes the realm of gender, which manifests itself in male domination, oppression of women, and patriarchal societies throughout history. (It should be noted, however, that it has historically not been characteristic of Reformed theology to make this connection between the doctrine of total depravity and the specific evils of male-domination and female oppression). (12-13)

Covenant Theology is particularly important since it is inherently canonical in nature (zooming out to the broad structures of Scripture and salvation history), and therefore changes the entire landscape of hermeneutics. This, in turn, can change the landscape of debates regarding the legitimacy of women elders. For example, a hermeneutic that stresses the continuity between the Old and New Covenants in Scripture may be likely to adopt more patriarchal views regarding gender since (it could be contended) such patriarchal views dominate the Old more than the New Covenant. (14)

Of even greater concern are Jamin’s comments regarding the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture. He does not hide his disdain for popular complementarians having commented upon the practice of compromise on the part of egalitarians.

Despite the vital distinctions in the opening paragraph of the CBE Statement, and despite the historical facts observed above, complementarians continue to make broad-brushed assertions about Evangelical feminists compromising the authority and inerrancy of Scripture (e.g., Duncan and Stinson 2006:4-12; Grudem 2004:20; 2006a). (192-193)

Yet he recognizes the importance of how one’s view of Scripture plays out in the debates surrounding the issue at hand.

Perhaps the assertion that most readily impacts this study is the one about the nature of the “Holy Scriptures,” which limits the range of possible outcomes in any given theological study. If the Scriptures (a sixty-six book canon in this case) are generally true in what is asserted and taught in them (what this means will be addressed in “Hermeneutics” below), and they are “infallible” and “entirely trustworthy,” and furthermore, are “the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct,” then theological study takes on a very different shape than if this were not the case. (6-7)

If I am reading him correctly, then sadly, Jamin seems happy to compromise regarding the nature of Scripture as well.

The present author generally holds to the five Solas as described above, but with some qualifications—one being that the biblicist version of the doctrine of Scripture outlined above (which strongly overlaps with Sola Scriptura) is not adopted. For example, I would not affirm a position that says “The autographic text of the Protestant canon is the ultimate standard for truth claims.” I also would tend to avoid unnecessary and misleading phrases such as “the Bible says,” because of my view of Scripture and also theory of hermeneutics (see below), though I sometimes capitulate for the sake of simplicity and familiarity. This does not detract from the importance of exegetical and biblical theology, but it does raise questions about the value of “biblical views” on certain topics and what that means (see Smith 2012:111)—subjects that need not be explored here. Also, I do not exhaustively and absolutely subscribe to any of the Reformed creeds listed by the WRF, though I agree with their broader emphases on a God-centered, Christ-centered theology. (15)

While there may have been an effort to suppress false teaching in the early church (something that might actually have been beneficial, in contrast to Reuther’s assumptions), and while I personally do not hold to the traditional Protestant view that the biblical books have a binary status (inspired/uninspired) and number exactly sixty-six, the situation of canon formation is far more complex than presented in Reuther’s narrative (see; Kruger 2012 and 2013; Evans and Tov et. al. 2008; cf. Comfort et. al. 2012; Bruce 1988). (137)

These excerpts alone are problematic, and there are roughly 400 pages of this stuff. There is much to think about here with respect to guarding ourselves so as not to ‘leave the reservation,’ and there is much to address. But I leave the latter to those with more time and talent than I currently possess.

Suffice it to say that Jamin’s continued slide toward theological liberalism is inconsistent with the Statement of Faith at Choosing Hats, and that, even though some of the past and present contributors to the site have worked alongside of Jamin on several projects in the past, I, for one, can no longer recommend or endorse his work. In all likelihood, he will continue his slide…perhaps ‘leap’ is more appropriate…into error. Pray for him.

I leave you with this thought from a former pastor and professor of mine. It’s much safer for your sake to follow those theologians moving from left to right than those moving from right to left.

Irrationality is not a Response

I encountered a rather unfortunate blog post today. Upon examining it, and the posts it links to, I think it would be helpful to respond to, albeit briefly.

First, just to get it out of the way – why on earth would you use such appalling language when dealing, at least putatively, with Christian doctrine? (Let alone any other time.) It is, quite simply, outrageous on any level.

Second, while I’m sure Jon Stewart (and his devoted fans) are quite convinced that he is the epitome of the witty bon mot – he quite typically fails, rather spectacularly, in dealing with anything of substance. The quotation used for this post would, at best, apply to the most shallow of objections. It applies not a whit to the substantive ones. Having substantive religious freedom is a) irrelevant to the freedoms we are supposed to have and b) is irrelevant to his opinion of how many *professing* Christians were in the White House – or whether there were actually that many. c) That the “freedoms” discussed are *already* infringed upon, in a variety of ways, in nations which have parallel laws to our own – and which are being cited as justification for “human rights abuses” by others around the world. Of course, simply being able to worship is a tiny portion of the freedom of religion. The issue, of course, is how the “freedom” to sin impinges upon the (actual) freedom to practice righteousness.

So, to address his points in order.

1) The government shouldn’t force us to be nice

Except, obviously, that is the very issue under discussion. Should the government be able to force those “mean” Christians to be “nice”? What does Romans 13:4 say? “for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” So, now what? When the government defines “good” as something the Bible defines as “evil” – what then? Let’s use your sentence.

I think it’s a natural right and freedom for people to be awful within certain constraints (exempting murder, rape, soybeans etc.)

What if we change this to, say, this?

I think it’s a natural right and freedom for people to be awful within certain constraints (exempting murder, homosexuality, rape, soybeans etc.)

Why? Well, why not?

“law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching” – 1 Timothy 1:9-10

So, which constraints are we able to profess, as Christians? Do we have a “natural right” to be adulterers? Swindlers? Homosexuals? Hmm? Do we? On what basis?

Jesus was nice to everyone EXCEPT the overly religious.

No, he flipped over the moneychanger’s tables, and chased them out of the temple precincts with a whip. I’m not saying that we’re allowed to do so – I’m saying you forgot something. Also, Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum. Didn’t get a “nice Jesus” stamp. Lastly, “overly religious”? Does Christ ever, even once, castigate the Jewish leaders for an excess of religiousity? Show me. One place. He castigates the Jewish leaders for perverting their religion. More accurately, His religion.

2) We should be nice

Except that you already, even by your own standard, made an exception to the rule. Jesus wasn’t nice to the Pharisees, right? Your non-exegetical non-argument aside, “love like Jesus”, right? Well, given that nobody can seriously argue that Jesus is faulting the Jews for being overly religious – what is He faulting them for? Perverting religion. What are you doing? Perverting religion. Harsh? Maybe. But if you can twist things around to paint the Pharisees as too religious – yet Jesus says to do what they say; just not what they do – then what would your position be? Love them the same? Okay, so let’s call folks who are hypocritical what they are – vipers, whitewashed tombs, full of dead men’s bones. Sir, you are a hypocritical viper. A whitewashed tomb, full of dead men’s bones.

You link to someone who thinks that homosexual “marriage” is not a sin – and we should celebrate what the rest of us think is a sin – doubly. The service a Roman soldier could demand – by law – was to carry his stuff up to a mile, right? Was obeying a government edict a sin? Not in this case. It might be annoying, or even onerous – but it wasn’t disastrous. Cheerfully, brethren Cheerfully. Now, would that apply to their carrying a Roman eagle? Something tells me that you might have a hard time arguing that. Does service to a lawful ruler include sinful acts? No. Christians did, and should have, refused to render the worship of Caesar. Taxes? Not a problem. Those are due to Caesar. Worship? Due only to God. I refuse to recognize the legality or righteousness of same-sex “marriages.” They are a profanation of the creation order, and of God’s moral law. You would be subject to arrest if preaching from the texts that address homosexuality in several european nations (and increasingly, in Canada as well). Nations which carried very similar religious freedom laws on their books.

Read the homosexual advocates. Let them tell you what they want. They, like the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and abortion advocates, want Christianity silenced in the public square. In politics, in business, in public speech. They haven’t achieved their goal yet – but that brings us to the next point.

3) This “religious persecution” is LAME.

Right now? Yeah, it is, comparatively. How do you think it got started elsewhere? Jewish persecution in Germany was LAME to begin with, too. It doesn’t stay that way. The sheer, unmitigated ignorance displayed in this section is astounding. Do you truly think that things stay the same? That those of us who are a little older, and couldn’t have imagined an adulthood where such moral and ethical insanity would be openly celebrated, are not amazed to behold such a disastrous slide into the gutter of history? Son, not only are we looking down the barrel of laws being passed to prohibit “discrimination” on the basis of sexual perversion, but we are looking down the the other barrel of laws passed to prohibit private expression of such views on homosexuality and its alphabet soup hangers on, in places like businesses – or even churches. There are already laws on the books that force children to visit bathrooms where children of the opposite gender are present. There are already laws on the books that equate sexual perversion with race. Don’t get me started on the sanity of even trying to cling to the concept of “race”, either.

In short, Andrew, as I told you in my initial, private response; This post is irresponsible, inaccurate, irreverent, and irrational.

It assumes things that are not true, it makes wild statements that are, frankly, unsupportable. It is not even remotely accurate on a factual level, and it uses language that a professing believer should refrain from, at very least to keep from shaming himself and His Lord. In short, I can’t find anything that would convince anyone of anything in this post.

For contrast, you might want to see this post, this post, this podcast, or, especially, this podcast – which deals with the same false dilemma perpetuated by Andrew. Andrew – read 1 Tim 1:7 – directly before the verses I cited at the beginning.

“wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.”

Vs. 6 – “For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion”

You have turned aside, and are engaged in fruitless discussion.

One more note: Your comments in your “apology” to homosexuals are unconscionable. You utterly and completely destroy any meaningful foundation for responding to homosexuality from the text of Scripture. You don’t bother to appeal to the Scripture to base your belief in the sinfulness of homosexuality at all. You appeal to a belief in omnibenevolence nowhere found in the Scriptures, and, frankly, directly contrary to it. It is so inarguably far from the Biblical depiction of God, His nature, and His moral demands on His creation that it leaves you absolutely no way to actually call homosexuality wrong for any meaningful reason whatsoever. Saying it is sinful doesn’t do the trick. If you toss out the justice of God to appease your idea of omnibenevolence, you have nothing left to base His opposition to the act or heart motive on. Nothing.