Skip to comments."Should We Oppose Same-Sex Marriage?" (Westminster prof "could affirm domestic partnerships")
Posted on 08/15/2012 7:38:20 PM PDT by darrellmaurina
I appreciate the responses to my previous posts on this issue and, after reading some of the questions, thought somewhat pressed to write this last one. OK, so we know what Christian marriage is. We preach that, teach it, and expect believers to embrace Scriptures instructions regarding sexual conduct, although we are still sinners who must continually repent, trust in Christ, and receive his pardon. Got it. But what about the public argument?
As I said in the last one, we arent authorized to speak in Gods name where he hasnt spoken, but we are commanded to do so wherever he has. This is where it gets dicier, though. Id like to frame my response, first off, in terms of two extremes that we have to avoid:
1. Treating references to homosexuality in the Old Testament as either irrelevant or directly applicable to the current question.
You see this in public debates of the issue, where extremists on both sides talk over (and past) each other. One thing they often share in common is interest in quoting passages from the Old Testament on the question. Then the person on the left reminds us that the sanction mentioned is stoning. Do you want to stone gays?, one shouts. No, but I believe what the Bible says about homosexuality. Well, right next to that verse it says that you should stone disobedient childrenOh, and not eat pork, and not touch a woman who is having her period. Bottom line: the skills of biblical interpretation are about equally as bad on both sides of the table.
The statements in Leviticus are part of the Mosaic covenant. They pertain uniquely to the covenant that God made with Israel as a nation. The laws that governed every aspect of private and public life, cult and culture, were a unique episode in redemptive history. Their divine purpose cannot be rationalized in terms of sanitation, public health, or personal well-being. The whole focus was on God and his desire to separate Israel from the nations, preparing the way for the Messiah to come from her womb. Therefore, there is no more biblical warrant for stoning homosexuals today than there is for avoiding Scottish cuisine.
If theres every reason to distinguish these two covenants, we have to be very careful nonetheless that we dont make the opposite interpretive blunder of contrasting the Old and New Testaments on the question of homosexual practice itself. Ive heard of late several times committed Christians acknowledging that the Old Testament forbids it, but the New Testament is silent. Its mean Moses versus nice Jesus: a familiar but completely baseless contrast. Affirming that the the civil laws are now obsolete doesnt mean that the rationale explicitly given for some of these laws should be disregarded, especially when God singles some acts out not simply as dependent on Gods will for that time and place, but as abominations. Homosexuality is included in that list, as it is also in the New Testament (1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10right up there with murders, enslavers, liars, and perjurers). The church does not have the power of the sword in the new covenant. Nevertheless, Gods statement on the matter is pretty clear: he hates homosexuality. It violates the natural orderreflecting the extent to which fallen humanity will go to suppress the trutheven that which can be known by reasonin unrighteousness (Rom 1:18-32).
Jesus brings forgiveness of sins, not a newsupposedly easer, happier, more fulfilling law. In fact, he upbraids the lax view of divorce tolerated in his day. Jesus does not ground marriage between a man and a woman in the Mosaic covenantor in the new covenant, but returns to the order of created nature: He answered, Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate (Mat 19:4-6).
It should be added that Pauls point in Romans 1-3 is to sweep the whole worldJew and Gentileinto a heap, condemned under the law, in order to announce that Christ is the Savior of all, Jew and Gentile, and justifies the ungodly who trust in him. We are all called to repentlifelong repentance, in fact. In this, as in everything, we fall short; our imperfect repentance would be enough to condemn us if we werent clothed in Christs righteousness. However, to repent is to acknowledge that God is right and we are wrongon the specifics of precisely where we want to assert our sovereignty.
2. Allowing same-sex marriage because since this isnt a Christian nation, we should not seek to make the traditional Christian view public law.
Yes and no. The argument sounds like a two-kingdoms approach, but I think its actually more on the historic Anabaptist side.
First, it is certainly true that America is not a Christian nation and in any case Christians should not seek to promote distinctively Christian doctrines and practices through the properly coercive power of the state.
Second, however, I believe that we have to carefully distinguish general and special revelation, common and saving grace, the kingdoms of this age and the kingdom of God. Traditional Roman Catholics and Protestants are the vanguard of the pro-life movement, but in addition to witnessing to the depth of Christian conviction on the subject they also make arguments that can appeal to the conscience of non-Christians. The goal is certainly to legislate morality (just as the pro-abortion lobby attempts). However, it is the attempt to include the unborn in the category of those to whom the most basic right to life applies (namely, human beings). It is not a distinctively Christian view that the unborn are human beings (many pro-abortionists even agree, but rank the mothers choice and happiness higher). Nor is it a distinctively Christian view that human beings shouldnt be murderedregardless of the parents economic or psychic well-being.
I think that the same can be said here as well. Marriage is not grounded in the gospel, but in creation. Special revelation corrects our twisted interpretations and gives us a better map, but general revelation gives sufficient evidence at least for minimal arguments from antiquity. Knowledgeable people will disagree about the strength of those arguments, since, for example, Greek elites often had teen-age boys entertain them on the sidewith the approval or at least the awareness of their wives. Yes, others reply, but that was part of the downfall of the Greek civilization. In every case, it will be a debatable pointnot to say that it isnt worth arguing, but in the light especially of recent studies, it probably will not change a lot of minds.
Third, in my own wrestling with the political debate, love of neighbor looms large. Some on the right may offer arguments that reflect more the same demand for special rights as those on the left of the issue. The legal aspects of that are beyond my pay-gradeand they are important. Others may treat this issue as irrelevant: Look, it doesnt affect me. I just dont want to live next door to some creepy home like that. However, in terms of specifically Christian witness, love of neighbor (as Gods image-bearers) should be front-and-center. We have to care about our non-Christian neighbors (gay or straight) because God cares and calls us to contribute to the common good.
The challenge there is that two Christians who hold the same beliefs about marriage as Christians may appeal to neighbor-love to support or to oppose legalization of same-sex marriage.
On one hand, it may be said that if we can no longer say that Judeo-Christian ethics are part of our shared worldview as a republic, then the ban seems arbitrary. Why isnt there a campaign being waged to ban providing legal benefits to unmarried heterosexual couples? Or to make divorce more difficult? It just seems more symbolic than anything else: it looks like our last-gasp effort to enforce our own private morality on the public. On the other hand, we might argue that every civilization at its height, regardless of religion, has not only privileged marriage of one man and one woman but has outlawed alternative arrangements. Same-sex marriage means adoption, which subjects other human beings to a parental relationship that they did not choose for themselves. Are we loving our LGBT neighborsor their adopted childrenor the wider society of neighbors by accommodating a move that will further destroy the fabric of society?
I take the second view, but I recognize the former as wrestling as much as Im trying to with the neighbor-love question. Legal benefits (partnerships) at least allowed a distinction between a contractual relationship and the covenant of marriage. However, the only improvement that marriage brings is social approvaltreating homosexaul and heterosexual unions as equal. Although a contractual relationship denies Gods will for human dignity, I could affirm domestic partnerships as a way of protecting peoples legal and economic security. However, the marriage card is the demand for something that simply cannot consist in a same-sex relationship. Human love is defined not by a feeling, shared history, or animal attraction, but by something objective, something that measures usnamely, Gods moral law. To affirm this while concluding that its good for Christians but not for the rest of us seems to me to conclude that this law is not natural and universal, rooted in creation, and/or that we only love our Christian neighbors.
At the end of the day, what tips the scales toward the second view is that I cant see how neighbor-love can be severed from love of God, which is after all the most basic command of all. Even if they do not acknowledge nature and natures Godor anything above their own sovereign freedom to choosereality nevertheless stands unmovable. Like the law of gravity, the law of marriage (of one man and one woman) remains to the end of timenot just for Christians, but for all people everywhere.
Dr. Horton treats legalization of homosexual domestic partnerships as being an open question with legitimate arguments on both sides. While he opposes gay marriages, he says this: "Although a contractual relationship denies Gods will for human dignity, I could affirm domestic partnerships as a way of protecting peoples legal and economic security." Again, "The challenge there is that two Christians who hold the same beliefs about marriage as Christians may appeal to neighbor-love to support or to oppose legalization of same-sex marriage."
This is based on Dr. Horton's longstanding and wrong belief that Judeo-Christian ethics are not a valid ground for civil law. In his words, "On one hand, it may be said that if we can no longer say that 'Judeo-Christian' ethics are part of our shared worldview as a republic, then the ban seems arbitrary. Why isnt there a campaign being waged to ban providing legal benefits to unmarried heterosexual couples? Or to make divorce more difficult? It just seems more symbolic than anything else: it looks like our last-gasp effort to enforce our own private morality on the public."
However, we need to keep in mind that Dr. Horton has done a great deal of good. Often when there's smoke, there's fire. Sometimes, however, there's just a lot of smoke because somebody set off a stink bomb in the house. Certainly a stink bomb isn't good, but it's not as bad as a full-blown four-alarm fully-involved structure fire with people trapped inside.
As Calvinists, perhaps this will help us remember that as much as we may respect prominent men, we revere God's Written Word, not man's many words. In this case, we have an author who has done a lot of good for the church whose bad theology on "Two Kingdoms" has led him down a wrong path.
Dr. Horton is not a liberal and anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't know the meaning of the word "liberal." However, it should be a major warning to all of us when a man like Dr. Horton can write something this bad and get away with something which, if written by a PC(USA) minister, would spark howls of protest from conservatives who thought he'd gone soft on homosexuality.
Reformed people on Free Republic may want to "Freep" Westminster-West. Their president is Dr. W. Robert Godfrey, who was one of the leaders of the secession from the Christian Reformed Church that began the United Reformed Churches in North America, in which both Dr. Godfrey and Dr. Horton are ordained ministers. I believe Dr. Godfrey will listen carefully to well-reasoned concerns from well-meaning Reformed people -- and he is very much aware that a major reason why his seminary started was because conservatives were upset with Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids.
Dr. W. Robert Godfrey Westminster Theological Seminary 1725 Bear Valley Parkway Escondido, CA 92027 (760) 480-8474 www.wscal.edu
If you write, be respectful. Dr. Horton is an ordained minister and deserves to be treated with the respect due to his office. That goes double for Dr. Godfrey, who I strongly suspect is very unhappy with the comments in this article but quite correctly has to follow proper procedures to respond to things written by his professors.
“anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t know the meaning of the word “liberal.”
Part of what is means to be a “liberal” is to write tripe like that article, which is wrong on many points.
Wolves in sheep’s clothing don’t deserve respect.
“First, it is certainly true that America is not a Christian nation and in any case Christians should not seek to promote distinctively Christian doctrines and practices through the properly coercive power of the state.”
Seriously!? The first point may be up for debate but his “in any case” is a complete load. Christians MUST promote distinctively Christian doctrines and practices. Why should Christians withhold the moral force of the LAW (which is a blessing) from others. Does the Marxist in Chief hold back from pushing his doctrines and practices on all of America. I would argue that when Christians stopped promoting their values and doctrines the Marxists filled the vacuum.
This is the fruit of the heresy which teaches that marriage is a contract when it is actually a sacrament.
One cannot read the Written Word (Genesis 2:24, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Corinthians 7:216, 1 Timothy 1:9-10) and conclude that men can marry men and women can marry women without incurring the wrath of God. This is, unless you don't care about what God says.
Can I just remark on this ridiculous ASSUMPTION that the only REASON to NOT think homosexual “marriage” is a right-—comes from RELIGION?????
It comes from NATURAL LAW THEORY-—the basis of all Western Traditions-—from Pagan through Christianity. It was the guiding theory of even Stoics and people who believed in no gods. All things in nature have TELEOLOGICAL ENDS-—Common Sense-—and for humans to be “fulfilled” and “happy” and “prosperous” that means marriage can be just ONE thing-—between a man and a woman. BUT in homosexual societies whose companions were only male—(women had no worth) also had recreational sex with boys-—(learned behavior) —where women were only breeders and treated like chattel—polygamy could also occur, since women had less worse than a man. They had no “equality” of anything—private property equality between male/female was NON existent.
Even the homosexual Greeks and homosexual Samurai-—thought marriage was ONLY between MEN and WOMEN. This absurd “logic” to twist the meaning of “marriage” comes from Marxist ideology-—to eliminate roles for male and female (radical egalitarianism) so children will become eventually the property of the State. Children will have no worth—NO NATURAL RIGHT to a biological mother and father——so they are dehumanized, can be bought and sold to whomever-—since homosexual “marriage” will make biology MEANINGLESS like Marx wanted.
The US was built on the Ideal of Natural Law Theory-—(laws of nature and nature’s God) which means that we have ONE STANDARD of RIGHT AND WRONG-—we have MORAL ABSOLUTES-—and believe in a FIXED NATURE of man (not an “evolving” perfectible nature which Marx thought).
So, there can be NO homosexual “marriage” if our Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. Common Sense rules-—Right Reason rules and Nature rules under the Rule of Law system of Justice. Sodomy is a Vice under the Laws of Nature-—and Vice can never be a Virtue-—as stated by all our Founders was the element of Justice (also a Virtue).....Can’t have Just Laws promote Vice. It is irrational-—like German Postmodernism/Marx.
“This is the fruit of the heresy which teaches that marriage is a contract when it is actually a sacrament.”
Nailed it. To the state, it is simply a piece of paper denoting a contract that carries benefits and strictures that can be broken and resumed between any parties that judges, pols, or the majority decide should have them. And that’s it. Pope Leo XIII warned about it 130 years ago.
It is a very bad thing when a professor at a conservative Reformed seminary could even consider stating that he “could affirm domestic partnerships” for homosexuals. It is especially bad considering how much good Dr. Michael Horton has done for the church.
Dr. Horton is a well-known figure in Reformed circles. He was named to Christianity Today's list of 50 young evangelical “up and coming” theologians in 1996:
In addition to his teaching duties at Westminster Theological Seminary in California, he's editor of Modern Reformation and host of the White Horse Inn radio program. He's done a lot of good in the church world and is probably best known as the author of “Putting Amazing Back Into Grace” and numerous books critical of bad theology among evangelicals. He's also spent a lot of time building bridges between Reformed people and conservative Lutherans, especially those in the Missouri Synod. He believes, with good reason, that confessional conservatives need to work together to stem the flood of bad theology filling evangelical circles which too often denies the fundamentals of the faith.
His views on political engagement are not new, but his statements about homosexual domestic partnerships are very disappointing.
This is not an issue that should even be on the table for discussion. The least that can be said is it makes Westminster-West look bad and creates a PR problem. Perhaps more of a concern is that this “Two Kingdoms” theology is leading its adherents, step by step and perhaps too slowly for them to notice, into some very bad places.
Perhaps it's true that frogs don't jump out of boiling pots if they're heated slowly. It's the job of seminary professors to be more discerning than frogs.
For more details on this “Two Kingdoms” theology, in both its “Radical Two Kingdoms” (R2K) and more moderate and nuanced “Escondido Two Kingdoms” (Es2K) versions, read more here:
Kudos to Martin Snyder of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America for alerting me to this article on the White Horse Inn website; he's credited Mark Van Der Molen, an Indiana attorney and elder in the United Reformed Churches in North America, for alerting him to it.
Westminster Theological Seminary in California was begun in significant measure due to dissatisfaction by Christian Reformed conservatives in Southern California over problems at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids. Years after the seminary began, the current president, Dr. W. Robert Godfrey, helped lead many of the larger west coast Christian Reformed congregations out of the CRC and into the URCNA. While the main issues in founding the URCNA were such things as the ordination of women, toleration of theistic evolution, and attacks on inerrancy, increasing demands for toleration of homosexuality in the CRC were on the list of complaints.
So far the Christian Reformed Church hasn't yet dropped off the homosexual cliff, and the URCNA isn't even close to that point. However, there are very uncomfortable parallels between Christian Reformed problems in the mid-1990s with homosexuality and this article on the White Horse Inn website.
Back in the 1990s, Calvin Theological Seminary dismissed a visiting professor from the Netherlands, Dr. Jan Veenhof, when it was discovered and reported in Christian Renewal that the professor had written an article advocating gay civil unions but not marriage.
Unlike Dr. Veenhof whose views were much worse, the rest of Dr. Horton's work makes clear that his views here are an aberration, not part of a broader pattern of support for homosexuality, and I have no desire whatsoever to get Dr. Horton terminated from Westminster-West.
What I do want is to call attention to the consequences of what has been called “Radical Two Kingdoms” theology and urge Dr. Horton to back off before it's too late. I'm fully aware that he opposes homosexual practice; the problem is that his views on political engagement are leading him into a political position which is virtually indistinguishable from that of theological liberals.
My coverage of the Dr. Jan Veenhof incident is here:
This got extensive media attention in the Grand Rapids Press, Detroit Free Press, and the Banner. Most of those articles aren't online, but here are some links to articles from the Calvin College Chimes which make clear this was a very big deal:
Here is some more recent Grand Rapids Press coverage mentioning the earlier incident with Dr. Veenhof:
As CRC historian Dr. Robert Swierenga has written: “Relations with the GKN were further strained in 1996 when Calvin Theological Seminary released at mid-year visiting professor Jan Veenhof, a highly respected member of that denomination, who had written approvingly of faithful Christian homosexual couples. His controversial dismissal, together with the local crusading work of Jim Lucas, prompted the staff of Chimes, the Calvin College student newspaper, to devote its final spring 1997 issue to the topic of homosexuality at the college. The editors called for greater ‘understanding,’ ran an article by religion professor Philip Holtrop that noted the possibility of reading the Bible to allow for homosexual practices, and carried an ad for a college-sponsored gay and lesbian student discussion group ‘to provide a safe and accepting place on the Calvin campus.’”
It should be patently obvious that things aren't anywhere near that bad at Westminster-West. The question for Dr. Horton is not whether homosexuality is good or bad — unlike Dr. Veenhof, Dr. Horton makes clear he's opposed to homosexual practice, not just homosexual marriages — but rather what the state should do about something that the church opposes as a matter of biblical ethics. There are limits to the parallels with Veenhof, and also, for that matter, to the Peter Enns controversy over at Westminster-East.
Dr. Horton is an orthodox Bible-believing scholar. We must never forget that. He is a brother and deserves to be treated as such. People can have wrong views on politics without being heretics, and the main problem with Dr. Horton and the “Two Kingdoms” theology is that they fail to understand the importance of applying their conservative theology to politics.
However, I believe that if Westminster Seminary doesn't do something to at least indicate that these views are not representative of the rest of the faculty, Calvin Seminary professors will quite legitimately be asking some tough questions.
Why should they not claim that conservatives have a double standard for blaming Calvin Seminary for inviting a visiting professor who Calvin later got rid of after his views on homosexual domestic partnerships became known based on an article written in a foreign country in a foreign language, but nobody seems to have gotten very upset about a long-term Westminster-West professor who advocated very similar views publicly on the White Horse Inn right here in the United States?
I'm not a Calvin Seminary professor, obviously, but if I were one, I'd be saying some of the people who seceded from the Christian Reformed Church need to apologize to Calvin Seminary if they don't complain about this happening at Westminster-West.
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The issue of same-sex "marriage" shouldn't even be the primary consideration for clergymen, the issue should be that homosexual behavior is inherently sinful.
Our Lord was quite explicit when He said, "Go and sin no more." Of course, He knew that we would continue to sin, but He wasn't validating the sin and He DID recognize that there are sinful acts that we can refrain from. Same-sex "marriage" or "unions" or "partnerships" or whatever else some would call it, explicitly validate the sin itself.
It's high time that Christians began to show homosexuals the same Christian charity that we show other sinners. We DO NOT "love them just the way they are." We love them "as He loves us" and that means we tell them the truth, the same way we would be truthful with an adulterer, a prostitute or someone who abuses their wife and children.
The homosexual's sinful behavior CAN be overcome, but only if they are told the truth.
For someone of Dr. Horton's stature to be saying something like this is awful.
I understand the complexities of applying Scripture to politics — I really do. If it were easy, we wouldn't have had debates on the matter in Christian circles since the days of Constantine. For those of us in Reformed circles, we need to keep in mind the Southern Presbyterian “spirituality of the church” tradition; not all errors are heresy, and this new “Two Kingdoms” theology, at least in its moderate rather than R2K form, has parallels to the older Southern tradition.
But what has happened with Dr. Horton shows that we're in danger of losing sight of the forest for the trees. Wagglebee is right — homosexuals need to be called to repent. To say the state should consider allowing some form of domestic partnerships for homosexuals is to say the state should consider officially endorsing sinful behavior.
Why is it so hard for some Christians to understand that the state should not be officially endorsing sin?
1. It violates God's instructions.
2. It is unnatural.
3. It changes my culture for the worse.
You cannot have a bisexual marriage without allowing polygamy.
Looks like the Reformed about to go gay.
“Dr. Horton is an orthodox Bible-believing scholar. We must never forget that. He is a brother and deserves to be treated as such. People can have wrong views on politics without being heretics”
This is not just a “political issue”. The Bible is quite clear on sodomites in both the OT and NT. Consequently, he is not orthodox. He needs to be counseled as the Bible requires, and then shunned if he persists in this gross heresy. And, yes, this teaching is heretical.
By the way, all legislation is an expression of values. Those values will either be informed by the Bible or by something else.
Many love to say: "you cannot legislate morality."
But all legislation that is not purely procedural in nature has a moral agenda.
When someone says: "you cannot legislate morality" what they are really saying is: "You can't legislate your morality, because it would conflict with my attempts to legislate my morality."
Amen to that; however, while it is a sacrament in the Catholic church, it is merely a "covenant" in the Protestant realms. This shocking fact, along with several others, greatly weakened my loyalty to the Protestant church of my upbringing. Among Protties, there are only three sacraments: communion, baptism, and confirmation. It boggles the mind, really, that the ordination of pastors is not even considered, much less leaving out marriage, which Christ said is like unto His relationship to the Church.
Treading on theological ground here, but I'm not sure that marriage is a Sacrament at all, because a Sacrament is when the Word is joined to a material object for the explicit purpose of delivering God's grace and forgiveness of sins.
Having said that, marriage is definitely an institution ordained by the Lord in the first place. We can't treat it as a contract or as a tradition--it has been instituted by the Almighty for our good, and we do the Lord and ourselves a great disservice by pretending that it is anything but divine in nature.
But a Sacrament is when the Word is joined to a material object for the explicit purpose of delivering God's grace and forgiveness to the recipients. I don't see how marriage is a Sacrament in that case, because it doesn't deliver forgiveness of sins. Nor is ordination, because it doesn't deliver forgiveness of sins.
It shouldn't be.
I think that ultimately our society will adopt a temporary compromise on this topic. I'm NOT endorsing this compromise by any means but simply stating where I see the trajectories headed.
The church will go silent on the issue of civil unions, domestic partnerships, or whatever title the state wishes to use for homosexual "marriage". In exchange, the state will allow the churches to continue to define marriages according to God's Word and protect their right to do so. I think that enough churches would be okay with the idea that they'd accept it to avoid the threat of protracted legal fights when two people demand their right to be "married" in a church ceremony. Also, the church, as a whole, might like to disengage from this argument which she sees as going against us in the court of public opinion. I think that the gay movement would be happy to just consolidate the gains it has made and the church would like the relief.
It will be an uneasy "peace" that will be broken ultimately. The gay movement doesn't want acceptance of their ideas, they want their ideas to dominate, even if it has to be imposed on the unwilling.
Until we see a true revival in our evangelical churches, I do not see the church universal fighting effectively on this issue. When we have respected church leaders like Dr. Horton seemingly reluctant to go where God's Word clearly leads, the church has problems.
Dr. Horton wrote, “...I could affirm domestic partnerships as a way of protecting peoples legal and economic security.”
Truthfully I don’t have a problem with this provided it is not restricted to a relationship based on sex. For example a person might want to provide for a non family member who has been a live in caretaker for them.
"Like the law of gravity, the law of marriage (of one man and one woman) remains to the end of timenot just for Christians, but for all people everywhere."
Horton lives in a state that has had legal domestic partnerships for many years now, and his "endorsement" isn't exactly strong for them...and no one in California talking about reversing that--because a sodomite federal judge is attempting to force sodomite marriage on Californias citizens (who overwhelmingly rejected homosexual "marriage" in a referendum).
"Domestic partnership" laws are more or less just a short-cut for normal (yes, ironic word here) contractual agreements, regarding inheritance, visitation, etc.
Do all the stern hyper-Reformds here want to also forbid contracts between homosexuals?
I should clarify. I don’t think domestic partnerships should be given the same legal status as marriage which the State has a vested interest in promoting and protecting. Rather they would be a matter of private contract and the partners would decide what benefits and privileges to extend to one another. The State would be neutral except for when disputes arose. This would not have to be sex based.
The State should not be neutral on marriage and government policies should reflect this.
Tactics are important. Attacking Dr. Horton, except on the very limited area of his Two Kingdoms viewpoint, is very likely to backfire.
My concern is not hypothetical. This morning, I'm already being criticized over on a Reformed internet discussion group by the head of another conservative Reformed seminary who believes I have slandered Dr. Horton. My response to him is basically that he needs to go back and read what Dr. Horton wrote.
My goal here is limited.
I want to see Westminster-West back off from a view of the law which allows things like homosexual civil partnerships to be considered. I believe getting the seminary to back off is an achievable goal.
That is a far less ambitious goal than, for example, what had to happen over at Westminster-East where Dr. Peter Enns was forced out due to his views on biblical authority. I do not believe Dr. Horton and Dr. Enns are in the same category and that means different approaches need to be taken with each.
Trying to take on the “Two Kingdoms” theology is a bigger project. To not only criticize “Two Kingdoms” theology but also to brand it as unorthodox means picking a fight with a lot of people in the Old School Southern Presbyterian camp who hold to a “Spirituality of the Church” position, a position which has been held by Old School Presbyterians for nearly two hundred years and basically says the institutional church needs to stay out of politics.
I do not believe SOTC necessarily leads to a Two Kingdoms position, let alone an R2K or “Radical Two Kingdoms” position. It is entirely consistent to say that while the institutional church needs to stay out of politics except in “cases extraordinary,” individual Christians can and must be involved in politics. Ordained ministers are not necessarily the best-equipped people to fight political battles, and many things are done much better by laypeople learning how to apply biblical principles than by ordained ministers with formal theological training.
However, fighting against avoidance of politics by the church — a major pillar of Old School Presbyterianism — is not a fight I want to pick.
My goal is to force the people at Westminster-West who hold a “Two Kingdoms” position to explain why their views will not lead to support for legalization of homosexual marriage or homosexual civil unions. Let them do the hard work proving that their theology won't lead them in the direction which has already been taken by Misty Irons, the wife of a former Orthodox Presbyterian minister, who got into lots of trouble for her views on this issue.
Dr. Horton is a smart man and he's done a lot of good work for the church. I think there is a very good chance that he will back away from this cliff and not jump over it like Misty Irons has done.
If not, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
A bisexual marriage includes a minimum of 3. You are correct.
A person who does both male and female must have both a male and a female. Otherwise, we’re discriminating against the “poor dear”.
Besides, our Islamic cohorts require the US to permit polygamy for them to practice their religion. They might be underwriting some of this social change, too.
No truer words were ever spoken. /sarc
The author seems to have a superficial viewshalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
of the Holy WORD of G-d.
Throughout the Holy WORD of G-d, marriage is a metaphor
for the relationship of YHvH and his "called" people.
In the Tanach, YHvH is the Bridegroom and Israel is His Wife.
Later "called" gentiles are referred to a Bride.
A clear reading of Romans 1 in context beginning at
verse 16 shows that those who should know YHvH and his creation
but reject Him are given over to a perverse relationship in direct
opposition to the metaphor of marriage.
The mere existence of “bisexual” people underscores the fact that homosexuality is not an inherent unchangeable characteristic, but instead underscores that homosexuality is a “PREFERENCE” which indicates that the person is engaged in a conscious CHOICE as to whether or not to be homosexual, bisexual, or just plain promiscuous.
Just because someone is “oriented” towards a behavior does not mean they are compelled by their nature to engage in that behavior.
You could just as easily say that robbers and thieves are oriented towards covetousness and that we should therefore tolerate and embrace their lifestyle by legalizing theft and robbery.
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:" Acts 10:34.
I disagree. If anything we should hold Dr. Horton to a MUCH HIGHER standard than we hold laymen and when an ORDAINED MINISTER falls off the wagon this far, he should be treated no better than we would treat anyone who would strive to pervert the gospel of Christ.
I had GREAT respect for Dr. Horton.
Perhaps I need to heed Acts 10:34 and be more wary of those who wear their collars backwards and who claim authority based on knowledge and the recognition of others by virtue of their degrees.
We need to call Dr. Horton on the carpet for this and we need not do it with kid gloves. He needs to know that by cow-towing to the homosexual agenda, he is perverting the gospel of Christ.
Dr. Horton has been a great source of theological wisdom to me in the past. I was quite shocked to see that he was the author of this tripe. Shame on him.
The sodomite lifestyle should be criminalized, as it has been historically thoughout Christendom (and elsewhere). The thought that there was a right to a sodomite lifestyle or that it couldn’t be criminalized was laughed out of court by the SCOTUS as recently as 1987. 16 years later, the SCOTUS decided to be lawless in the Lawrence case.
How quickly people forget.
If I were interested in seminary or denominational politics, or if this were a less serious issue, your advice would be helpful. But I don’t care about the politics.
Anyone who supports any measure enabling the legitimation of the sodomite lifestyle is a heretic.
There is a reason the sodomite lifestyle is called an abomination. Anyone really familiar with these people would know that there are the gravest danger to our culture that we face, which shouldn’t be surprising to Christians.
The Hortons of this world are slow-walking the more conservative elements of the church in the direction of that pagan organization called the “Episcopalian Church”.
If after being appropriately counseled Horton persists in his heresy, he should be shunned.
Of course, I don’t expect that to happen because of the feminized men who infest church leadership.
It is much the same as the difference between a person who took a first aid course in the Boy Scouts and a surgeon with thirty years of experience. More is expected of those who are trained to do something.
Such a STUNNING rebuttal. You sure put me, the stupid Prottie, in my place.
The italicized is the final sentence of the article, and it is a sentence with which we both agree. The remainder of the article is, in my opinion, very poorly written, and I can't really say what the man was affirming or not affirming.
I thought perhaps he said that since we aren't a Judeo-Christian culture, then we can't force our values on other, and at a minimun should be open to a same-sex union that is not called marriage.
Honestly, though, P-M, this is so poorly written that if the esteemed doctor were to say, "NO, I said the exact opposite!", then I'd be compelled to reply, "Perhaps, Sir, but it's so poorly written that no one can really tell what you wrote."
I guess that makes it drivel, that and the possibility that he just endorsed same sex unions.
If I am missing something in this chaotic article, then I would honestly appreciate being corrected by either of you brothers in Christ.
As a protestant pastor, I’m probably a maverick, but I do believe that there is something unique that transpires at the spiritual level in both marriage and ordination.
So far as “forgiveness”, both do touch on the subject. Marriage in that it is a life-style that Paul says is a remedy for the burning sexual nature that descends so easily to sin.
Ordination because the ordained minister of God truly does become a set apart officiant of God, reminding of sin, righteousness and forgiveness. Paul says, “do not forsake that gift that was given you by the laying on of hands (ordination).”
The Bible specifically says that marriage “God made them male and female AND a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” That is no small indication of God’s involvement.
I do not fault my Catholic brethren at all for considering marriage and ordination sacraments.
Besides, time has proven them right on their insistence that real marriage is only within the context of Christianity and the Church.
That being said, the ONLY acceptable answer to the question of opposing same-sex "marriage" (or "partnerships" or "unions," etc.) or homosexuality in practice is YES, we MUST oppose it.
Why Christians would even consider this a valid question for consideration is beyond me.
I'm not saying that there's nothing unspiritual about ordination and marriage, because there most definitely is. Both were instituted by God, and both are for the good of the Church.
The only issue I have is calling them Sacraments, because whereas there's definitely something good and holy going on there, I really don't see in Scripture how they deliver forgiveness of sins.
Here is the problem with Horton's essay. He does not state that he could see the secular purpose in ALLOWING domestic partnerships, but he claims that as a Christian he could AFFIRM those relationships. He used the word AFFIRM which means to strongly approve of the relationship. It implies that as a pastor he would be willing to officiate at a domestic partnership ceremony. Either he does not have access to a dictionary and has a limited understanding of the English language, or Horton has come off the rails. There is no excuse for a Reformed Pastor to "AFFIRM" homosexual relationships.
And if we are going to "AFFIRM" these relationships for "legal and economic security" of our neighbors because of sexual preference, then why limit it to two homosexuals? How about Father/Daughter relationships? Sister/Brother? Polygamist relationships?
There is NOTHING, nor has there ever been anything, that prohibits two or more adults from forming a legal partnership and nothing to prevent the partners from placing any or all of their assets (including property) in the partnership.
This has been going on forever. I have interests in several business partnerships with my wife, relatives and business associates. If the only concern of the homosexuals is legal and financial the law has always protected their property rights.
We oppose same sex marriage because it is a dangerous attack on the culture we would leave to our children.
Do we leave them a legacy of communism or freedom?
Do we leave them with addiction or with clear minds?
Do we leave them with natural wholesomeness or with idolatrous, narcissistic, death-bringing orgasmia?
I agree, P-M. The word “affirm” is definitely a red flag. Those two sentences are so poorly written that he could say he intended to emphasize “simply cannot consist”, or he could say he meant “I could affirm”.
This is a terribly written essay, and they need to revoke his doctorate.
But as a pastor-in-training, I simply cannot understand how we could ‘affirm’ these relationships at all. They are, quite frankly, sinful. I suppose we could affirm the Lord using same-sex relationships for good purposes, but that would be along the lines of him using the pagan Babylonians and Persians for his own good purposes. We don't ‘affirm’ the sin, just what God does to bring good out of it.
Marriage in the Catholic or Orthodox Church is a sacrament because the spouses form Church Domestic and become vehicle of grace for each other and their children, leading each other to salvation in the Church.
In a Protestant setting I don’t know what is. Logically, Baptism and Marriage should be the only two Protestant sacraments since they do not absolutely require a priest, and indeed most Protestant baptisms are valid, and so are Protestant marriages unless a Catholic is involved.
Obviously I do not like being called a heretic, but I will resist the urge to attack Trent. I find this discussion interesting of how viewing marriage as something other than a sacrament may lead to devaluing it.
I'm not used to this line of argumentation. I'm listening, but I can't respond with intelligent comments to an argument that I don't think I fully appreciate.
I probably need to add that conservative Reformed churches have historically been very, very strict in their emphasis on marriage and family life, and have reacted with disgust and abhorrence toward the typical broad evangelical “easy believism” which leads to easy divorce and remarriage. Church discipline is not a minor issue in conservative Reformed circles. I know we can point to all kinds of abuses, but they are far less frequent in conservative Reformed circles than generic evangelical Protestantism where church discipline is rare or entirely unknown.
In reformed/prebyterian theology, the two sacraments are baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptists don't have any sacraments. Marriage would be considered an ordinance. Thus while a presbyterian could have a lawful marriage not performed by an ordained man, only one lawfully ordained can administer the Lord's supper or baptize a child or adult.
most of the country opposes this agenda and no matter how many bogus polls or the media tries to spin it.
I was aiming at the rather general lack of forgiveness in many marriages; not aiming to put you in your place at all. I love debate; but often can't resist any opportunity for a witticism. No offense intended.
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