Friday, September 04, 2015

Hypocrisy and homosexuality

Arminian theologian Randal Rauser continues to stump for homosexual marriage:

In “Christians standing against gay marriage need to be consistent on divorce” I pointed out the tension with Christians impugning gay marriage as unbiblical whilst ignoring Jesus’ teaching on divorce and remarriage.
i) Notice the studied equivocation. "Ignore" in what sense? Is he referring to Christians who get divorced? If so, how are Christians who don't get divorced ignoring Jesus' teaching on divorce and remarriage? How is it hypocritical for them to impugn homosexual marriage? 
ii) What about Christians who divorce and remarry on Biblical grounds? They aren't ignoring Jesus' teaching on divorce and remarriage. So how is it hypocritical for them to impugn homosexual marriage?
iii) What about men and women who got divorced and remarried before becoming Christians? Are they disqualified from impugning homosexual marriage? By parity of logic, does that mean former drug addicts are disqualified from impugning drug abuse? 
At best, Rauser is alluding to a subset of professing Christians. 
In his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience, p. 18, Ron Sider points out how serious the problem of divorce is within the evangelical community. Indeed, he suggests that divorce rates may be higher among evangelicals than in the general population.
Rauser fails to engage evidence to the contrary. For instance: 
I understand why Christians would rather talk about gay marriage than the ethical black hole of Christians who are divorced and remarried. 
Notice how he keeps lumping all Christians into one group, as if Christians who don't divorce are somehow complicit in divorce. How does Rauser draw the line on collective guilt? If people who don't divorce are ipso facto complicit in divorce, are people who don't murder ipso facto complicit in murder? 
But if one purports to uphold the Bible as an ethical guide in matters of marriage, one must apply the standards consistently.
That's hopelessly ambiguous. Does he mean apply the standards consistently in your own life? Or does he mean applying that standard to others? If so, in what sense?
I should apply the same standard in evaluating the conduct of others. But that hardly means I'm in a position to enforce that standard on others. There may depend on factors beyond my control, like what's politically feasible in a democratic republic. 
I have heard one way that Christians have attempted to deal with the problem. They concede that remarriage in cases other than marital infidelity results in an adulterous union. However, they add, the moral ascription of adultery applies to the event of the divorced man and/or woman marrying rather than to the resulting state of affairs of that man and woman being married. In other words, the moment was adulterous, but the resulting marriage is not.
Presumably the point of this tortured argument is to shift the spotlight back off divorced and remarried Christians and onto gays. But the reasoning is completely spurious. If the original marital event was illegitimate then the resulting state of affairs does not constitute a legitimate marriage.
By that logic, a child who is conceived in sin (e.g. adultery, rape, fornication) is morally tainted. By that logic, if a young athlete is mortally injured by a drunk driver, it would be wrong to harvest his organs (after he succumbs to his injuries) and donate them to needy patients inasmuch as the moral ascription of (vehicular) homicide applies not only to the precipitating event, but the resultant chain of events.
In like manner, Jesus considers the event of becoming married to result in an ongoing reality which persists even if one receives a certificate of divorce from a civil magistrate. 
Rauser doesn't present an exegetical argument for that conclusion. Rather, that's an inference based on his extraneous claim that the moral ascription of the precipitating event automatically transfers to resultant consequences. 
Don’t skip over that fact. Mull over it. Let it sink in. Hundreds of thousands of Christians are in ongoing unrepentant states of adultery and all the while the church communities in their midst are saying nothing. They’re saying nothing on divorced and remarried Christians, but they sure are saying a lot about gay marriage.
So here’s the fact of the matter. Christians who want to speak with some moral authority on the topic of gay marriage really ought to start by applying to themselves and their immediate belief communities the very biblical standards that they attempt to enforce on others. This isn’t rocket science. It’s ethical consistency 101.
i) To begin with, Christian laymen don't typically interview a candidate for membership and vote on who joins the church. That's usually up to the pastor and elders. Laymen don't know ahead of time which new church members were divorced and remarried. Likewise, some new church members were divorced and remarried on Biblical grounds. In addition, some were divorced and remarriaged before becoming Christian.   
These are important moral and theological distinctions, which Rauser deliberately blurs in his demagogical zeal to defend homosexual marriage. 
ii) In addition, if a majority of voters want permissive divorce laws, there's nothing that we can do to prevent it or repeal it. We're outvoted. Does that mean we shouldn't do the good we can in other where we have greater political clout? 
iii) Rauser is so fixated on "hypocrisy" that he's blind to harm that the homosexual agenda does to many innocent people. The harm to adopted children. The harm to students who are indoctrinated in LGBT propaganda. The harm to students who are punished for dissent. The harm to employees who lose their jobs unless they affirm the LGBT lifestyle. The harm to parental authority. The harm to minors who are molested by homosexual adults because the establishment puts homosexuals in positions of power over minors and gives them access to minors. And so on and so forth.
iv) Finally, for all his high-minded rhetoric, consider the possibility that Rauser's position is dictated by self-interest. Given the political climate in Canada (as well as the US), a way for him to preempt persecution is to capitulate on homosexuality. 


  1. Praying Rauser repent from his unbiblical compromises

  2. Thank you for your help with our clear thinking, both on this and preceding articles.

    BTW, would this be an example of "sophistry" (by Rauser)? I'm not sure I understand its usage. tks.