This is my public policy post on this subject. I’ve actually said this before in different words and the more I hang out with anarchists, the more I find myself agreeing with them.
The Bible is very clear that homosexual behavior is a sin. It follows that the commitment ceremonies gays insist upon calling “weddings” are public declarations of ongoing sexual immorality. The Bible tells Christians to FLEE sexual immorality because it corrupts our relationship with God. It is worse than other sins because it involves our own bodies. From those two facts, I judge that God is telling Christians that we may not encourage the homosexual activity of other humans. For the sake of our own relationship with God AND for the sake of the homosexuals we come in contact with, we must NOT participate in their commitment ceremonies, even as an unwilling caterer, photographer, florist, etc.
The Bible also teaches me that I am responsible only for myself and members of my local church. Nobody becomes a Christian by forced conversion. They may become a Christianist, but that is not a true relationship with Jesus Christ, which is what true Christianity is. My faith teaches me that I should always evangelize wherever I go, but it is not me who brings people to Christ. He does that.
So how does that connect to a public policy statement?
Christians need to recognize that we live in a very secular world and we can’t do anything about that. Stop trying to legislate morality. It doesn’t work and it just hardens people against the gospel. I firmly believe that if we stopped trying to use the government to force people to do things our way and concentrated on being friendly, loving, and firm in our beliefs and practices informed by those belief, we would see a sea change. People would be more willing to come to the Lord because they would understand that He is not a dictator and we are not His minions.
Think about that.
To secularists through the United States – I don’t want to persecute you. Everyone has the right to believe as they want and, to the extent that we are not harming others or depriving them of liberty, to live as they wish.
Tolerance in liberty is a two-way street. Your liberty depends on my liberty and mine depends on yours. If you try to force me to participate in the sin of others, I’m going to say “NO!” My resistance is not a form of hatred, but an expression of love. I may not completely understand why God condemns homosexuality, but it is enough for me to know that He who created mankind does in fact say it is a grievous sin. Just as I would not sit down for a beer with an alcoholic because that would be harming the alcoholic, I won’t attend or cater the commitment ceremonies of same-sex couples. Yes, they have a right to commit to one another, but I have a right to not participate.
When you force your ideology on others, you force them to have an opinion on the subject. You’re welcome to your opinion about the practice of my faith, but you are not welcome to force me to violate it. If you don’t want me to resist your sin, don’t ask me to participate in it. That’s tolerance. We BOTH have the freedom to live our lives without interference from the other. Anything less is tyranny.
And this is where the public policy statement comes in.
Government is not the answer to our problems and it is rapidly becoming the source of tyranny. A marriage license is a secular non-religious document – a contract. It does not create a marriage as God understands marriage.
Christian marriage is an institution of the churches. The 1st Amendment makes clear that the government should have no power to tell churches what they can and cannot do regarding Christian marriage, so why have we given the government that power? Nothing prevents us from “hand fasting” before our churches and entering into “marital contract” with one another. My parents did … my mom still being unable, because Alaska was still under federal law, to get a divorce from her husband, contracted with my dad to own houses together, to receive his life insurance policies, for power of attorney for end of life decisions and for custody of me. It worked out better for her than a marriage license because with a contract, she had actual rights and he had actual obligations. They weren’t Christians, so theirs was a wholly secular decision, and it worked — in the 1960s when almost nobody was doing it.
But I’m a Christian with libertarian leanings and I want my political philosophy to be in line with God’s laws. It might surprise you to learn that God doesn’t say you have to have a government marriage license. For most of Western history, marriage was a private contract between two families … or two individuals, like my mom and dad. For 16 centuries, Christianity defined marriage based on a couple’s wishes. If you claimed you had exchanged marriage vows, the Catholic Church accepted that as a valid marriage. In 1215 the Church (really an amalgamation of church and state) decreed that a “licit” marriage must take place in church, but people who married illicitly had the same civil rights and obligations as a couple married in church: their children were legitimate, the wife had the same inheritance rights, the couple was subject to the same prohibitions against divorce.
In the 16th century, Europeans began to require that marriages be performed under legal auspices, mainly in an attempt to prevent unions between young adults whose parents opposed the match.
The American colonies officially required marriages to be registered, but until the mid-19th century, state supreme courts routinely rules that public cohabitation was sufficient evidence of a valid marriage, but then the Civil War happened and the United States began to nullify common-law marriages between blacks and whites.
By the 1920s, 38 states prohibited whites from marrying blacks, “mulattos”, or Asians while 12 states would not issue a marriage license if one partner was a drunk, addict or “mental defect”, and 18 states set barriers to remarriage after divorce.
By the mid-20th century, courts invalidated laws against interracial marriage and other barriers, but governments began relying on marriage licenses as a means to distribute resources to dependents. Social Security survivor benefits require proof of marriage. Employers use marital status to determine whether they will provide health insurance or pension benefits to employees’ dependents. Courts and hospitals required a marriage license before granting couples the privilege of inheriting from each other or receiving medical information. In the 1950s, using a marriage license in this way made some sense because marriage was the default condition of most Americans. Cohabiitation and single parenthood by choice were rare. Today, possession of a marriage license tells us little about people’s interpersonal responsibilities. Half of all Americans aged 25 to 29 are unmarried, but many of them have already incurred obligations as partners, parents or both. Almost 40 percent of America’s children are born to unmarried parents. Many legally married people are in remarriages where their obligations are spread among several households. Children can no longer be denied inheritance rights, parental support or legal standing because their parents are not married.
I favor of reverting back to an older marriage tradition. Let churches decide which marriages they deem “licit”. Let couples write contracts between them for legal protections and obligations. Then just leave each other alone.
Christians understand that the only true marriage is that founded by God. Government need not be involved in that. Our private affairs should be none of its business.
Marriage is a promise made before God with your marriage partner, possibly before a witnessing community. Government is not needed for this to take place.
Souls are not saved by regulating morality. I understand the point of wanting to ban certain behaviors, but it doesn’t work and it is hypocrtical since there are plenty of divorced and remarried Christians in churches and our kids are often sexually active before marriage.
If you want to make a difference in our society, start with your own family and community. God is not surprised by what is happening now with regard to our government. Teach your kids in the way they should go, call your churches to task for where they have strayed. Reach out to friends who claim to be Christians but who are living sinful lifestyles and gently guide them back where they should be. When that fails, churches should consider discipline. Discipline does not make the sin go away. Of the divorced and remarried Christians I know, it’s unlikely any of them could reconstitute their former marriages. But they would be helped immeasurably by confessing their sin and recognizing that they are outside of God’s will before committing more deeply to the relationship they are in currently.
If we want Godly communities, Christians must be leading their families and raising their children in a Godly way. As a whole, we have largely failed at this. If we really want those that are homosexual in our communities to love Jesus, and reconsider their lifestyle as a result, we must first show them the love of Jesus that we claim exists. As a whole, this too we have largely failed at.
To the gay community, please understand that I do not hate you. However, I do encourage you to consider pursuing a relationship with Jesus Christ. Not only for your own sake in this life but in the life to come.
The reality is that Jesus hung on the cross for your sin too.
Luke 23:42-43 (Remember Me)
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
Relate: Perhaps these words are fairly new to you, but I have heard them time and time again. At least once a year I feel that I have heard someone preach on them. I have read works by great men of the faith who write on them. A few times a year, I find myself reading them as I work my way through the Bible. They are so familiar that I sometimes forget just how audacious both of these statements are.
First, there is the thief on the cross. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” There’s two ways to look at this. The more likely is that this thief on the cross held to the traditional view of the Messiah and he still believed Jesus was it. Even though the man had been beaten, mocked, whipped, and then nailed to a cross right next to him, this guy believed, somehow, Jesus was going to come down from that cross, sweep the Romans out of Israel, and re-establish a golden age for the kingdom of Israel. The second view was that this thief was one of the first to truly understand that the Messiah and the Kingdom were both something that would take place, somehow, beyond this physical world. Perhaps he had heard some teaching from Jesus and, even now, was beginning to connect the dots. He got it. Even before the disciples truly understand, this insurrectionist became a true believer. Either way, the faith he displayed in Jesus is absolutely amazing. And his only request: “remember me.” Don’t forget me.
Personally, I hold the opinion that he was believing for the first. Let’s not forget that he is being crucified by Romans. They don’t stick people up on crosses for stealing a loaf of bread. No, they crucify political rivals. They kill insurrectionists and rebels in this manner. We don’t know this thief’s backstory like we do for Barabbas (see The Cross and the Sword). What we do know is that, whatever he tried to steal, it was something big, political, and it annoyed the Romans quite a bit. Perhaps he tried to take an eagle. Maybe he tried to kidnap some important Roman for ransom. He might have permanently taken a few tax collectors out of the business. It is possible that it was an ordinary theft but in resisting arrest he ended up killing a soldier or two. Whatever the case, he sinned, angered Rome in doing it, and now repented and had faith in Jesus when everybody else’s had faltered.
Jesus’ response to this thief is even more incredible. First he says, “Today”. Impossible. The Romans know what they are doing when it comes to torture. They are pros at it. They like to make it stretch out. Nobody is supposed to die up there for three to four days at the earliest. The whole point of crucifying these three when and where they did was so that everyone entering Jerusalem for the Passover, and leaving the city afterward to return home would get a poignant reminder of just who is boss in this town. To have them die or be taken down so quickly would ruin the whole show. But Jesus says, “Today…
“You will be with me” All the thief had asked was to be remembered. “Hey Jesus, when you rule and reign in Your Kingdom. Don’t forget. I was here. I believed in You.” It is like how I remember my godly father, and my grandma, and my aunt, and my aunt, and my sister, and my niece, and my cousin. They, and many more, will always hold a treasured place in my heart. But Jesus promises something much, much more than a memory. One day, we will be together again, with Him, in his kingdom. That promise given to the thief on the cross is extended to all who believe as he did. “Today, you will be with me…
“In paradise.” This is the only time Jesus uses this word. Paradeisos is actually a Greek loan word from Persian where it means the king’s garden. The Septuagint uses it for the Garden of Eden. Paul uses it when he is talking about his vision of heaven (2 Corinthians 12:4). John also uses the word to represent heaven (Revelation 2:7). Some will say Jesus is talking about heaven. Others will say it is Abraham’s bosom where the righteous dead go until Jesus’ resurrection, or until the end times judgment, depending on one’s eschatology. Either way, Jesus is making it clear to this thief that the kingdom, which both are about to enter, is so much more than just this world.
React: The audacious faith of that thief is what is required of all of us. We don’t deserve heaven. No matter how good any of us might be, we will never come close meeting its entry requirements. There is nothing we can do to buy, or work our way through those gates. All we can do is have a bit of crazy faith to say, “Jesus, I deserve everything I’ve got coming my way. It’s nothing good and it is everything I’ve earned. But You… You are so much more. When You demonstrate to the world just who You truly are, would You please remember me?” Pray that prayer like You really mean it and just watch what happens. It will blow your mind.
Jesus, I believe. You are so much more than I could ever expect or imagine. You have more in store than I could ever dream. One day every knee will bow before You and every tongue will acknowledge that You are Lord. God, to You I bend my knee now. I don’t deserve to come into Your presence. I have done nothing to earn that right. But Your blood, shed on that cross, has paved a way for me. Remember me, Lord. When Your glory is revealed for all to see, remember me.
The River Walk
Originally posted on tomfernandez28's Blog:
Hypocrisy, your name is once again “Democrat.” Last week we saw gun control advocates, Bill Maher and Ben Affleck admit they own guns and will not give them up unilaterally while advocating laws that would make it illegal for you to have a gun. Now we see a Missouri State Senator who actually has promoted and voted for anti-gun laws, caught when arrested during a protest in Ferguson, Missouri with a loaded 9mm handgun.
Missouri state Democratic Senator Jamilah Nasheed was arrested Monday night while protesting with a group outside the Ferguson Police Department. What makes this interesting is what was in her possession at the time.
According to Police Chief Tom Jackson, Nasheed was carrying a loaded 9mm handgun along with extra rounds of ammunition. She also refused to take a breathalyzer test after officers determined she “smelled strongly of intoxicants,” sources told KMOV-TV.
The irony in this…
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Jesus Wept for the City
October 6, 2014 MaddMedic 1 Comment
Jesus Wept for the City
“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes’” (Luke 19:41-43).
Jesus was making his triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. The Pharisees were complaining about the exuberance of His disciples as He made His way into the city. They were celebrating a life that had blessed them and countless others: “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Luke 19:37-38).
Jesus was saddened by the response of the Pharisees. He knew what His presence could do for the city. But He also knew they would not change. The city would reject His presence and crucify. His presence would bring peace to the city if they embraced who He was – the author of peace. Now it would be hidden from their eyes because of unbelief.
Every city can be blessed by the presence of Jesus in their midst. However, it requires city leaders to invite the presence of Jesus into their city in order for that city to experience peace. Jesus comes to bring peace in any situation. However, He also realizes He will divide city leaders because of unbelief and political correctness.
Does your city need the presence of Jesus? Do you desire to see peace in your city? Begin to pray for city leaders to understand how the presence of Jesus can impact your city in dramatic and positive ways.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. And your own city.