I'm reposting some comments at left at Denny Burk's blog ("Wheaton staffer announces support for gay relationships"):
steve hays July 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm #
i) No, Curt, we should treat her as a moral agent who’s responsible for her beliefs and actions–instead of shifting blame to your favorite bogeyman.
ii) You’re confusing justification by faith with the role of works in salvation. But sanctification is a condition of salvation. In Reformed theology, sanctification is the result of divine grace. Lack of sanctification indicates the absence of sanctifying grace. “Works,” in the sense of sanctification, are essential to salvation.
iii) You deliberately obfuscate the distinction between “lapses” and defiant sin. What we’re dealing with in this situation isn’t “lapses” or “struggles,” but people who say homosexual behavior is morally praiseworthy.
iv) BTW, you yourself have a single test. Your myopic obsession with what you perceive to be Christian hypocrisy. That’s the single lens through which you filter all your criticisms of the evangelical church.
steve hays July 16, 2015 at 2:16 am #
“First, the subject of your reference, that is the identity of who is to be regarded as a moral agent, is not clear.”
The referent was crystal clear. I was responding to you on your own terms. You need to keep track of your own argument. You referred to Rodgers.
So that’s the referent. She’s the moral agent in question.
“Second, our reliance on justification by faith is often revealed by how we treat and regard others. When we speak of others as being sinners and thanking God that we are not like them, we show that we ourselves, despite our confessions, are leaning toward a justification by works.”
It’s always funny how people like you use that parable. Here’s how you implicitly recast the parable:
Curt, standing by himself, prayed thus: “God, I thank you that I’m not like Denny Burk, Ryan Anderson, Michael Brown, or Robert Gagnon. I belong to the Socialist Party USA. I agitate for Occupy Wall Street. I read Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky religiously. I light a votive candle to St. Rachel Corrie.”
When you take that parable, cast the faithful in the role of the Pharisee, and cast your social mascots in the role of the tax-collector, you’re unconsciously casting yourself as the Pharisee. You are looking down on Denny Burn, Ryan Anderson, Robert Gagnon et al. You are drawing an invidious comparison between you and them.
“Remember that Paul followed the horrendous list of sins described in Romans one with the warning not to judge in Romans 2:1ff because those who judge are guilty of the sins they are judging others for.”
i) If you really believe that, then you’re self-condemned. Few people are more judgmental than you.
ii) So when Denny Burk, Ryan Anderson, Michael Brown, Robert Gagnon et al. judge homosexual acts, they themselves are guilty of committing homosexual acts? Do you think they’re closet homosexuals?
“Third, Romans 7 is not talking about lapses of sin.”
Now you’re changing the subject. You’re the one who brought up lapses of sin, not me.
“The issue is should many of us Christians have so sternly objected to same-sex marriage in society.”
No, the issue is whether the state should violate freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, and freedom of the press by persecuting and prosecuting Jews, Christians, libertarians et al. who dissent from the homosexual totalitarianism.
“Fourth, I don’t have a single test for who is a Christian.”
Of course you do. You have a stump speech which you repeat ad nauseam.
“I do believe that many of my fellow Christians have been wrong in forcing Christian standards on society with regard to homosexuality.”
Because you’d rather have the homosexual lobby bully students K-12, codify the Bible as hate speech, &c.
“And I believe that Jesus’ warning to us against lording it over others…”
People who suffer from homosexual attraction benefit from Christian ethics. The homosexual lifestyle is very self-destructive, viz. suicide, domestic violence, medical conditions. Young people tempted to choose that lifestyle should be deterred for their own sake and safety.
steve hays July 17, 2015 at 11:05 pm #
i) Curt, you have no compunction about smearing faithful, Bible-believing Christians by equating them with Pharisees, but when I plug you into the same parable you alluded to, using info you volunteer about yourself on Facebook, suddenly you take offense. I call you out for your naked double standards.
ii) You then demonstrate your twisted, disrespectful view of Biblical ethics by equating that with “privilege” and “feeling entitled to dominate others by what laws are passed.”
To the contrary, Biblical ethics are beneficial to everyone, not just Christians. Members of the so-called LGBT “community” (oxymoron) would be far better off if they adopted Biblical ethics. That’s as much or more for their own wellbeing than the wellbeing of Christians.
This is question of God’s design for men and women. When you flout God’s design for men and women, that’s self-destructive and socially destructive.
“Equality” in the abstract is amoral. What true justice requires is not treating everyone equally, but treating like alike and unlike unalike.
What is good is good for everyone. God’s design for human nature determines human flourishing.
steve hays July 18, 2015 at 2:07 pm #
i) I’ve already given you examples, which you ignore.
ii) The Biblical standards in question aren’t standards for conduct in church, but society in general. For instance, Paul, in 1 Tim 1:9-10, applies the Decalogue to unbelievers (even during the new covenant era).
iii) We could certainly have freedom to practice Christianity and Judaism. Moreover, that’s the kind of thing the free exercise clause had in mind, at the time it was written and ratified.
“Allowing adults in society to follow their own sexual desires in mutual consenting relationships does not flout God’s law.”
i) You’re dissimulating. The current question at issue isn’t whether homosexual activity should be allowed, but whether citizens who dissent from homosexual mores should be prosecuted by the state for practicing their Constitutionally protected civil liberties. Why do you misrepresent the actual issue?
Allowing homosexuals to sodomize each other is quite different from fining an Orthodox Jewish deli owner who refuses to cater a homosexual wedding. Likewise, allowing homosexuals to sodomize each other is quite different from banning Christian ethics as a hate crime.
ii) BTW, why do you make consent the litmus test? What about academic sociologists who lobby for pederasty? What about the APA reclassifying pedophilia?
“It isn’t the state’s job to do that.”
It’s the state’s job to protect minors from homosexual predators. It’s the state’s job to defend the First Amendment.
“Finally, equality is implied by the fact that we are made in God’s image…”
That’s a blatantly fallacious inference. The imago Dei goes back to the Pentateuch. But the fact that humans are made in God’s image doesn’t mean all human behavior should be treated equally. For instance, Gen 9 grounds capital punishment in the imago Dei.
Likewise, the Mosaic law criminalizes many behaviors by divine image-bearers. Some conduct is misconduct.
In the nature of the case, a law code does not and should not treat all behavior alike. The whole point of a law code is to discriminate between socially tolerable and socially intolerable behavior. A law code is a legal code of conduct.
“Do we force it on people in a nation…”
That’s utterly disingenuous when you think the state should prosecute dissent. When you think a public school curriculum should indoctrinate a captive audience in LGBT propaganda, and punish students who dissent.
steve hays July 18, 2015 at 11:53 pm #
i) You vilified faithful Christians by casting them as the antagonist in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax-collector (Lk 18:9-14).
ii) Even under the Mosaic theocracy, it was not a crime to be an unbeliever. It was only a crime act out one’s disbelief.
iii) This is not about “the privacy to engage in mutually consenting sexual relations with the adults of our choice.”
The current issue, which you studiously ignore, is the state coercing citizens to accept sexual depravity.
That's the antithesis of “freedom.” This is not about live-and-let live, but the opposite.
Society doesn’t “owe” homosexuals civil marriage. That’s not something you can pull out of thin air.
iv) You brought up the imago Dei, but you rip it out of context. In context, the imago Dei is embodied in God’s design for manhood and womanhood as a complementary unit. It is sacrilegious of you to reassign that heteronormative category to sodomy and lesbianism.
v) As for the private sector, yes, I’m happy to call your bluff. A business should be legally free to refuse any customer it pleases, even if that’s wrong.
As long as we have competition, that creates a business opportunity for another entrepreneur to take advantage of that neglected market niche.
vi) Your appeal to James about not showing preference to the rich is misguided on two counts:
a) To begin with, your appeal is duplicitous. When the issue at hand is what the NT epistles say about homosexuality, you confine that to the church.
But when the epistles talk about rich and poor, you extend that to society at large. Your methodology is inconsistent and unprincipled.
b) In addition, it’s a red herring. The question at issue is not whether inequitable treatment is ever unjust, but whether inequitable treatment is always unjust.
Clearly, Scripture doesn’t treat all behavior the same.
vii) Finally, let’s get specific about what your position amounts to. If your side wins:
a) Homosexuals will have adoption rights. That means deliberately placing innocent children in at-risk conditions. Exposing them to a home environment that is, by definition, dysfunctional. That’s socially unstable. Where domestic violence, drug abuse, and suicide are common. Where the children are subject to sexual abuse.
b) Likewise, giving homosexual adults access to and authority over minors, with predictable results. Documented examples include the Boy Scouts and the Church of Rome.
c) Giving CPS authority to persecute Christian parents. Taking custody of their children.
d) Giving public school teachers and administrators authority to bully normal boys.
e) In addition, imposed secularization results in abortion on demand, euthanizing the elderly, developmentally disabled, and clinically depressed, &c. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
steve hays July 19, 2015 at 1:38 am #
Let’s take another counterexample to Curt’s surreal claim that supporting queer rights supports freedom. We already have legal movements to ban counseling for homosexuals. That is to say, if a homosexual, or someone with same-sex attraction, wants psychological counseling to redirect his sexual impulses in a heterosexual direction, the state denies him the right to do so.
steve hays July 19, 2015 at 12:19 pm #
i) Your first statement reflects special pleading. You didn’t merely “point out a behavior.” In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax-collector, the Pharisee is the villain. When you compare Christians who honor Biblical norms of sexuality to the antagonist in the parable, you defame them.
ii) As for what the Mosaic law says about idolatry, you’ve forgotten how this part of the discussion got started. I’m simply responding to you on your own terms. You talked about “maintaining Biblical standards in the church.” I countered that by noting that in 1 Tim 1:9-10, Paul applies Biblical standards outside the church.
We can debate how much general carryover there is between the OT ethics and NT ethics, but don’t act as if that’s opposed to what I said, when–in fact–it’s the other way around. You tried to confine Biblical norms to the church. I responded to you own your own grounds by demonstrating that Paul, for one, goes well beyond that. If there’s a lack of consistency, it’s on your side, not mine.
iii) To assert that the state has an obligation to protect the equality of all groups begs the very question at issue. That’s not something you’re entitled to simulate.
Embezzlers are a group. Does the state have an obligation to protect the equality of embezzlers? Should the state treat embezzlers the same way as the people they embezzled? No, the law is supposed to discriminate against embezzlers. Distinguish between wrongdoers and victims.
iv) Regarding Jim Crow, you misrepresent what I said. My statement was predicated on “competition.” Jim Crow outlawed competition. White-owned companies wanted to do business with blacks. I’ve listened to what black economist Tom Sowell says about Jim Crow. You should take your own advice:
v) In no way did I equate the status of those who are single with those who are in homosexual relationships. To be in a homosexual relationship is a violation of the imago Dei.
The imago Dei is perfectly consistent with a single status, for complementarity between the sexes is a built-in feature of human nature. That’s what makes it possible for them to enter into complementary relationships in the first place. Just as a single man has the potential or capacity to become a father, whether or not he becomes one.
You want society to persecute and marginalize normal men, women, boys, and girls. You want society to persecute Christians, libertarians, orthodox Jews, &c.
steve hays July 19, 2015 at 12:22 pm #
Psychology is full of questionable techniques which the state doesn’t see fit to ban. Moreover, this is contrary to your previous plea for “freedom.” You don’t really believe in freedom in general. You only believe in freedom for what you approve of.
steve hays July 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm #
i) It was banned because it’s politically incorrect. The APA has become highly politicized. You’re so partisan that you can’t admit the obvious.
Consider what the APA used to classify as mental disorders. Here is the text from page 44 of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 2d ed. (Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 1968), commonly known as DSM-II:
302 Sexual deviations This category is for individuals whose sexual interests are directed primarily toward objects other than people of the opposite sex, toward sexual acts not usually associated with coitus, or toward coitus performed under bizarre circumstances as in necrophilia, pedophilia, sexual sadism, and fetishism. Even though many find their practices distasteful, they remain unable to substitute normal sexual behavior for them. This diagnosis is not appropriate for individuals who perform deviant sexual acts because normal sexual objects are not available to them.
302.8 Other sexual deviation
[302.9 Unspecified sexual deviation]
How many of these sexual deviations are already normalized? Which will be next to be normalized?
HT: Keith Burgess-Jackson.
ii) Psychiatrists involved with Gitmo should not be persecuted. Coercive interrogation of high-value terrorists is a legitimate function of national defense. Having expert input reduces the risk of abuse.
steve hays July 19, 2015 at 11:27 pm #
Curt, you keep reasoning in a circle. It was questionable because it was banned. It was banned because it was questionable. The APA banned it because it was questionable. It was questionable because the APA banned it.
You’re oblivious to your viciously circular reasoning.
If you think the APA isn’t politicized, you’re terribly naive.
You have no evidence that coercive interrogation of high-value terrorists inspires future terrorists.
You also lack elementary moral discernment. The US gov’t has a duty to protect innocent Americans from terrorist attacks. Exploiting the phobias of a high-value terrorist to extract actionable intel to thwart terrorist plots and disrupt terrorist networks is perfectly ethical. Our job is not to protect terrorists, but to protect the innocent. If it’s a choice between harming a terrorist to protect the innocent, or harming the innocent to protect a terrorist, the correct choice is evident to any morally discriminating individual.
steve hays July 20, 2015 at 12:50 pm #
i) Yes, Curt, you’re guilty of circular reasoning. You are mounting an argument from authority. You cite the APA as your authority when the reliability and impartiality of the APA is in dispute. Appealing the APA to validate the APA begs the question.
ii) I’m not making a case for reparative therapy. But psychology is a soft science. There’s lots of dubious stuff that many psychologists indulge in. Why is reparative therapy banned? Because it’s politically incorrect.
More to the point, you deny the freedom to seek the counseling of his choice.
“Also, I have never contradicted I Tim 1:9-10. What I have said is that it isn’t for society to enforce many of God’s laws. Rather, we show people God’s laws through evangelism and teaching the Bible.”
So even though v10 condemns the slave trade, we mustn’t impose that on society at large.
In addition, you keep ducking the fact that this is a summary of the Decalogue which Paul applies to unbelievers rather than believers. And that isn’t just my opinion. That’s the standard view of commentators like Liefield, Mounce, Towner, Marshall, Knight, and L. T. Johnson.
This has reference to social ethics beyond the church. Indeed, as Paul says, it’s more applicable outside the church, to outright unbelievers–unlike true believers who’ve internalized the law.
Furthermore, you caricature coercive interrogation by resorting to hyperbole (“an anything goes approach”).
You also have a bad habit of making sheer assertions, then when your assertions are challenged, repeating your sheer assertions. You’ve provided no evidence that it creates more terrorists.
You also assert that it doesn’t work in extracting information. But a number of DCI’s have contradicted your claim.
“And again, if we do the same or show more brutality to the ‘terrorists’ as they show to us, how are we different?”
If a terrorist has a phobia about insects, and you threaten to put him in a box with bugs, that’s “doing the same or showing more brutality” than sawing their head off, burning them alive, or burying them alive (a la ISIS)? You’ve lost all sense of moral perspective.
Illegal combatants and foreign terrorists are not entitled to the full due process rights of American citizens.
You dissemble when you suggest that high-value terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah are presumed guilty because of their detention. They have a paper trail. Their reputation preceded them. That’s why they were extradited in the first place.
steve hays July 16, 2015 at 1:15 pm #
Why did Don Johnson even bring up Antebellum slavery when he says “Faithful believers can believe that Scripture teaches that homosexual acts are not always sin and that the most faithful way to do such acts is in a covenant. This is what I believe. It is a matter of interpretation of some passages in Scripture and a debatable matter.”
Why not apply that reasoning to Confederate theologians like Thornwell and Dabney?
steve hays July 16, 2015 at 3:04 pm #
What is there for us to repent of? The culprits are long dead and buried. Do you subscribe to vicarious repentance?
steve hays July 16, 2015 at 10:32 pm #
What theological heirs are you alluding to? How does SBC/PCA polity or leadership differ from Anglicanism or Lutheranism or its Northern counterparts?
Also, one of the ironies of the abolitionist debate is that Confederates like Dabney weren’t slaveholders. They weren’t the landed gentry. They weren’t the ruling class.
steve hays July 17, 2015 at 3:37 pm #
You still have the peculiar notion that the living should repent for what some dead people did to other dead people. Do you think Japanese youth today should repent for the Bataan Death March or the Rape of Nanking? What’s your justification for believing in vicarious repentance? It’s not as if this is an ongoing policy.
steve hays July 17, 2015 at 3:41 pm #
What “selfish interests” are they “cloaking” in their interpretation of Scripture?
steve hays July 18, 2015 at 11:08 pm #
1 Tim 1:9-10 is explicitly introduced in reference to unbelievers, not Jewish or Gentile Christian believers. It was enacted, not for believers, but unbelievers. He uses several designations with those connotations.
And that’s not just my interpretation. For starters, read Towner’s commentary.
You’re also confusing an argument from principle with whether it’s enforceable in that situation. But that’s irrelevant to the issue at hand.
Actually, Jesus accused the Pharisees of not following the Bible seriously by creating loopholes. That’s what homosexual apologists do. So your objection boomerangs.
steve hays July 18, 2015 at 11:14 pm #
For some reason it doesn’t occur to you that denominations are just collections of individuals. What is there to repent of at this late date? The offending policies are long gone. The offenders are dead.
You’re inventing nonexistent duties. There’s no moral or theological obligation to perform vicarious repentance. That’s just political theater.
steve hays July 19, 2015 at 11:14 pm #
I’m only defaming them if Jesus is defaming them. Are you accusing Jesus of defaming the Pharisees?
“If Jesus cast them as villains in the parable shouldn’t we think carefully about what we might be doing?”
Actually, Jesus accused the Pharisees of not following the Bible seriously by creating loopholes. That’s what homosexual apologists do. So your objection boomerangs.