Ten Ways Same-Sex Marriage Denies Reality

The Illegitimate Supports of ObergefellPillar Number 1: A Faulty Worldview, Part 2

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
C. S. Lewis

Part 1 is available here.

Last time we began examining the worldview of Secularism, one of the Obergefell ruling’s three faulty pillars. Please read last week’s post for more information on worldviews in general and on Secularism in particular.

Believers must understand that Secularism is no friend to Christians or the Christian worldview. In their book, Understanding the Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews, Jeff Myers and David A. Noebel observe that the Secularism’s narrative seeks to rewrite the history of civilization to caricature Christians and to portray Humanists and Secularists as enlightened individuals acting with only the noblest of intentions, for the betterment of all humanity.

Here is how Myers and Noebel summarize the Secularist narrative:

The followers of Jesus were evil liars whose goal was to establish a macho, misogynistic cult. The good people of Rome tried to stop them, but the wicked Emperor Constantine managed to establish Christianity as Rome’s official religion anyway. Once in power, Christians intentionally undermined Rome’s strength until this once-great civilization collapsed. The church blindly pressed forward in its obsession with control, plunging Europe in to the Dark Ages. It took a few hundred years, but Europe was eventually rescued by scientists and philosophers who bravely risked their lives to challenge the church’s teaching that the earth was flat and the center of the universe. Occasionally Christians gained power long enough to burn tens of thousands of witches, massacre millions of natives, and launch cruel crusades against innocent, civilized Muslims. Fortunately, due to the brilliance of those who rejected the church’s teachings, the Enlightenment saw the triumph of science and reason over religion. However, we must not let down our guard, because greedy, ignorant Christians resent the progress made by clever, reasonable Secularists, and they will do everything they can to manipulate their way into power to prevent decent folk from having a good time and living their lives in freedom.1

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Myers and Noebel admit that the above summary is “exaggerated to make a point,” but the exaggerations highlight rather than distort the Secularist message. Not one fact can be found in the above summary; yet the summary accurately represents the perspective of A People’s History of the United States,2,3 the most widely used history textbook on American college campuses today. The textbook is “a…diatribe,” say Myers and Noebel. They must be onto something. A People’s History contains no footnotes!4

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Dr. Jeff Myers
President, Summit Ministries

David-Noebel

Dr. David A. Nobel
Founder and Former President, Summit Ministries

You see, Secularists, contrary to their claims and reputation, push their beliefs with religious fervor. They won a great battle with the Obergefell ruling, but ultimately it cannot stand because it seeks to refute the world that is. In part because the cultural tide is moving in the direction of Secularism, adherents of this worldview tend to think their perspective is an irresistible force. While it is true that many people are being duped by Secularist myths and are jumping on the bandwagon, those who resist ultimately will emerge as true heroes.

We need to be prepared to point out Obergefell’s weaknesses. For our purposes here, let’s think through some of the consequences of just one of the major components of Secularism, that of giving a “green light” to individuals to determine “their own truth.” To where does this lead? It leads to some of the very places where we find ourselves today under Obergefell.

Before listing any outcomes, however, we must say clearly that our analysis is not meant disparage homosexuals as people. All individuals, homosexuals included, have been created in God’s image. God loves them, and so do we. Some are our friends, neighbors, and relatives. We know many of them to be loving and caring people, and loving and caring parents. Even so, we have to state the truth that homosexual activity is sinful and harmful, and to build marriage and parenting around it—and around the false assumption that it is on par with heterosexuality—is detrimental to everyone involved. If we love homosexuals, we will not withhold the truth. This is why we do not shrink back from stating the following.

Secularists have demanded that same-sex relationships be eligible for “marriage,” but the qualities of an authentic marriage are what they are precisely because an opposite-sex couple is involved. The term “same-sex marriage” is, quite simply, a myth. We might even call it a lie, because it is a contradiction in terms. In other words, Secular Humanism and its celebration of individualism and moral relativism under Obergefell reach conclusions that deny reality.

Here are ten.

  1. Individual autonomy under Obergefell stands contrary to the clear teaching of nature regarding the biological differences between the sexes.
  2. The conclusions of Obergefell’s worldview stand contrary to the clear relational dynamic that exists between opposite-sex couples. Put another way, same-sex marriage denies the importance of the mystery that always has been present—inherently—in heterosexual marriage. Because a man isn’t a woman and vice versa, each marital partner must work hard to understand, communicate with, and relate to his/her spouse. Such efforts strengthen a marriage. Same-sex marriage offers no such relational mystery. In fact, Secularism and same-sex marriage trample on this dynamic, effectively denying its importance and reality.
  3. The worldview of Obergefell refuses to acknowledge the profound implications for marriage that flow from the fact that only a heterosexual couple can have a baby.
  4. Secularism turns a deaf ear, not necessarily to a newborn’s helplessness, but to the implications of the baby’s helplessness. We must not forget that the baby would not have arrived were it not for a heterosexual union. Here we are not saying that homosexual parents of adopted infants neglect needs like feeding and changing them. We are saying that when both parents are of the same sex, this thwarts nature’s intention that the baby would have two opposite-sex parents once it is born. Put another way, same-sex marriage neglects the newborn’s innate needs for interacting with both a woman and a man—both a mother and a father. This is true not randomly, but in every case because same-sex marriage inherently denies children either a mother or a father.
  5. Developing point #4 further, we observe that when society says a same-sex relationship can be a marriage, it effectively divorces from marriage and the family the natural, innate responsibilities that come with a sexual union that produces and rears children. I want to be abundantly clear on this point, because I’m not trying to say here that homosexuals are bad parents. Here’s what I am saying: The traits and realities of heterosexual marriage automatically designate who should have the primary responsibility for raising the children. Even though many and probably most homosexual parents in same-sex “marriages” love their adopted children and care for them sacrificially, the marital arrangement they are in does not set the stage for them to do this, because same-sex couples cannot procreate.
  6. Despite Secularism’s claim that discrimination is to be abhorred, it actively discriminates against both men and women through same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage assumes that neither a man nor a woman has any unique contribution to bring to the important task of parenting. In other words, it assumes that both men and women are disposable.
  7. Through same-sex marriage, Secularism deprives children of the emotional balance that opposite-sex couples bring to parenting and to the family. The point here is that men and women are different, so a heterosexual couple provides an emotional balance for their children that same-sex couples cannot.
  8. Secularism through same-sex marriage also denies children the balanced perspective on authority that would receive from opposite-sex parents. Men and women lead, and discipline, differently. Children need from their parents both male and female approaches to authority and leadership.
  9. The worldview of Obgerfell turns a deaf ear to civilization’s clear needs for the future.
  10. Finally, secular humanism upholds homosexuality as being on par with heterosexuality. This denies the reality of the health risks inherent in homosexuality. The denial doesn’t change the reality, however. Indeed, it cannot.5,6,7

These ten items represent the place to which Secularism, through Obergefell, has led us. The longer we stay here, the more we and future generations will be put at perilous risk. We must consistently and repeatedly warn of the dangers. Do not expect the average person on the street to recognize these perils on his or her own, because Secularism has a strong grip on culture.

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At the beginning of the Tuesday, January 12, 2016 broadcast of Dr. James Dobson’s Family talk, Dr. Dobson made these important observations (minor edits made for smoothness and clarity).

We’re in a river—I call it the River of Culture—and it flows one way. It takes you downstream; it never takes you upstream. If you’re in that river, it is so difficult to not become part of where it leads! It takes tremendous self-control and instruction and prayer to walk upstream against the current.8

Dobson is right. Even conservative Christians and churches are being duped by gay activist lies.9 Aware of what the pressure can do, Dobson offered both a warning and a challenge.

More importantly, our kids, our teenagers, are in the river, and they’re being carried down to who knows where! We have to oppose this kind of cultural movement. Wherever we see wickedness and evil, we have to stand up and be counted, and then take the consequences for it. I’ve been doing that for a long time, and I can tell you, it’s not easy. It’s not easy because you will be called names, and frankly, I’m tired of being called names! You know, being pro-life and pro-family…brings animosity and hatred. Standing up against the cultural current is difficult, but I urge you to have the courage to be one of those who will stand up and be counted.10

The more who are willing to stand up against the Secularist tide, the more likely it will be that the tide will be turned. Remember that with God, all things are possible. Will you lend your voice in support of the truth?

 

Copyright © 2016 B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All rights reserved.

Notes:

1Jeff Myers and David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2015), 77.

2http://www.amazon.com/Peoples-History-United-States/dp/0060838655/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1452746155&sr=8-1&keywords=a+people%27s+history+of+the+united+states

3http://www.historynewsnetwork.org/article/4370

4Myers and Noebel. 76-77.

5http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3105393/posts

6http://www.familyresearchinst.org/2009/02/medical-consequences-of-what-homosexuals-do/

7http://www.allaboutlove.org/homosexual-health.htm

8http://www.drjamesdobson.org/Broadcasts/Broadcast?i=40d7360b-c566-4053-9299-7d28ff04b749 These statements also could be heard near the conclusion of the Monday, January 11, 2016 broadcast http://www.drjamesdobson.org/Broadcasts/Broadcast?i=38af707f-a1c5-42cc-a014-1af24c16d9d4#

9http://barbwire.com/2016/01/14/conservative-american-churches-lenient-toward-homosexuality-now/

10http://www.drjamesdobson.org/Broadcasts/Broadcast?i=40d7360b-c566-4053-9299-7d28ff04b749 These statements also could be heard near the conclusion of the Monday, January 11, 2016 broadcast http://www.drjamesdobson.org/Broadcasts/Broadcast?i=38af707f-a1c5-42cc-a014-1af24c16d9d4#

 

 

Good News About Obergefell

People used to blush when they were ashamed. Now they are ashamed if they blush. Modesty has disappeared and a brazen generation with no fear of God before its eyes mocks at sin.1 I’ve quit saying civilization’s going to the dogs out of respect for dogs. I wouldn’t want to insult the canine kingdom with any such remark as that.2 [Yet] it makes a difference when you’re looking up instead of when you’re looking down, like you’re going by what you read in the paper and see on television. May the Lord help you! Get your sights up! Your vision’s bad. Maybe you need your glasses cleaned. You can’t be optimistic with a misty optic! Get your eyes cleared up, and let the Lord open your eyes, and you’ll see things you didn’t even know where there. The outlook’s bad, I grant you that, but the uplook’s good—as good as ever!3

[The account of Elijah on Mt. Carmel demonstrates that] there had to be a confrontation on earth before there could be an intervention from heaven.…Elijah poured 12 barrels of water all over that sacrifice.…He wanted to make it perfectly clear to those people that there were not tricks about this thing, that nothing was going to happen unless God moved onto the scene.…I tell people all over the country it’s the drenched altar that God sets on fire.4

Christians, like snowflakes, are frail, but when they stick together they can stop traffic.5

—Vance Havner—

A couple had two young sons who were like night and day with regard to their outlooks on life. One was consistently positive and upbeat while the other was unwaveringly pessimistic. One morning the two awakened and discovered a massive pile of manure in their front yard. The pessimist wondered who would do such mean and cruel thing to their family—but the optimist went straight to the garage and grabbed a shovel. He promptly ran to front yard and began shoveling through the manure. “There’s got to be a pony in here someplace!” he exclaimed.

Of all people, Christians should be decidedly optimistic. Of course we must temper our optimism with realism, because we understand we live in a sinful world. In the language of our illustration, there really is a pile of manure in our front yard. Obergefell, the Supreme Court ruling that redefined marriage nationwide to include same-sex couples, underscores this. In saying this, we do not mean that those who fought for and celebrated the marriage ruling don’t deserve to be treated with dignity or respect. Surely they do, for they, like all human beings, have been made in God’s image (see Gen. 1:27). However, they are blinded and unable to see clearly the dangers of getting what they think they want (Prov. 14:12; 16:25; John 3:16-21; 2 Cor. 4:3-6). We must be burdened for them and seek to help them come to know Christ, but our responsibilities do not end there.

As Christians, we have been given the Great Commission (see Matt. 28:19-20) and the Cultural Commission (see Gen. 1:28). As Chuck Colson so eloquently said, “Christians are agents of God’s saving grace—bringing others to Christ. But we are also agents of His common grace: We’re to sustain and renew His creation, defend the created institutions of family and society, and critique false worldviews.” Defending man-woman marriage, even after the Obergefell ruling—perhaps especially after it—is part of our job, our duty, as believers.

Today I have some good news about Obergefell. As we resist this ruling—and we must resist it—we will be well served to remember these five things.

First, Obergefell rests on lies, propaganda, illegalities, a false view of reality, and injustices on many different levels. Put another way, we can say that the marriage ruling, like the seat on a three-legged stool, rests on three legs: judicial activism, a faulty worldview, and bullying by militant homosexual activists. I plan in the future to discuss this idea more fully; but for now, be aware that in previous entries, I have written about each one of these. The good news we must understand is that each one of these supports is illegitimate.

Second, we can work to point out the illegitimate nature of each of Obergefell’s supports. If we keep at it, then over time God will use our efforts to effectively weaken these supports, not just in the legal arena, but also in the public’s eyes. We have seen similar things happen with abortion because of the pro-life movement, and they can happen with marriage because of the protect-marriage movement as well.

Third, the church, which has been a sleeping giant on this issue, will be compelled to address it head-on. The good news is that the church has a strategic opportunity to take a stand for biblical truth, yet in ways that demonstrate respect for proponents of same-sex marriage (SSM). SSM proponents still may accuse the church of hate, but we must remember that regardless of appearances, it never is loving to look the other way when a fellow human being is being led astray by a lie.

Alliance Defending Freedom has a website that helps pastors address issues from the pulpit that many may consider controversial. When we’re tempted to think that preachers and churches need to “stick to presenting the gospel,” let’s remember that we must obey the Cultural Commission as well as the Great Commission. If we ignore the Cultural Commission, we’re also disobeying the Great Commission, for Jesus affirmed the importance of obeying “all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20). Jesus’ teachings address not just spiritual matters, but every area of life, including marriage (see 19:4-6). When it acts as it should to fully represent Christ in the world, the church is indeed a powerful force. Jesus said of His church that “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).

Fourth, God is sovereign over all of life, and, despite appearances to the contrary, He remains in control. Proverbs 21:1 declares, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” In Psalm 11:3, David asked, “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” If we assume the answer to this question is in the next verse, then in times of moral decay we have a powerful reminder that will help us with every action we must take: “The Lord is in His holy temple, The Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men” (v. 4). Many more verses also speak to this issue, but we’ll cite just one more. Proverbs 15:3 states, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.”

Fifth, prayer is a powerful, forceful weapon in spiritual warfare. It is not mentioned as a specific piece in the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-17, but in verse 18 Paul writes, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” As James wrote in his letter, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

Thus, the Obergefell ruling offers Christians and the church opportunities to stand out for Christ and to represent Him effectively before a watching world. If we take advantage of these opportunities and remain faithful, we will marvel at how God will use us! (See Eph. 3:20-21.)

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Notes:

1 http://likesuccess.com/author/vance-havner

2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ4li2FS2jg

3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ4li2FS2jg

4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ4li2FS2jg

5 http://likesuccess.com/author/vance-havner

 

Too Important to Miss

Five Lessons from Last Week’s Post
The High Cost of Denying the Obvious, Part 4

Part 3 is available here.

Some of the lessons arising from last week’s post might be elusive without further reflection; so, using last week’s discussion as a backdrop, I want to explode some of the myths the left has used to destroy society’s moral underpinnings. As you have opportunity, read or review “God’s Definition of Marriage is Self-Evident.” Then consider how the article refutes the following five myths.

Myth #1: There are no absolutes; people can make up their own truth.

The natural world gives us a window into the unchanging nature of God and therefore the unchanging nature of morality—right and wrong. Truth is like the law of gravity. It is not something that is negotiable, nor is it something that can be invented by each person. Instead, it is observable. It also is discovered, and it applies to everyone at all times and in all places. Adjusting ourselves to accept and conform to the realities we discover paves the way for fulfillment and happiness in life.

Myth #2: We ought to live according to our feelings.

Try telling that to the parents of an infant! Few parents ever feel like getting up in the middle of the night to feed or change their baby, but they do it anyway because of the reality of the immediate need. Similarly, an individual experiencing same-sex attraction does well to restrain himself or herself from acting on those feelings. Why? Because nature tells us that God’s plan does not include same-sex intimacy or same-sex marriage.

Myth #3: Homosexuals are “made that way” or “born that way.”

[Note: These links will take you to explicit descriptions. Reader discretion is advised.] The physical harmony that occurs when a husband and wife come together sexually, as well as the health risks of homosexual sex, demonstrate conclusively God did not design any man to have sex with another man or any woman to be sexually intimate with another woman. We didn’t mention it last week, but the life expectancies of homosexual males are up to 20 years less than those of all men. Twenty years!

Yes, feelings of same-sex attraction are real in some individuals, and to them they seem quite natural. A person may not even know why the feelings are there. Even so, don’t be misled. Even though a married man may at times feel a “natural” attraction to his secretary over his wife, acting on these feelings would violate God’s plan. So, too, would acting on one’s feelings of same-sex attraction.

Myth #4 is often conveyed in the form of a rhetorical question, like this: How will my same-sex marriage affect your marriage or your own personal life? The clear messages are that it can’t and it won’t—so why not let people of the same-sex marry?

Same-sex marriage is on a collusion course with religious liberty, but for now we won’t even consider this important issue. If last week’s discussion taught us anything, it (hopefully) taught us that marriage is not just about two adults. It’s about children and their needs. It’s about children and their futures. It’s also about society as a whole and society’s future. And it’s about a lot of other important things as well. James Q. Wilson said, “The vast majority of people do better if men marry women. The sexes complement each other. Having a woman in your household makes men better, and having a man in your household makes women better.”1 Better men and better women make better parents, and better communities, and a better world.

During the second hour of the Tuesday, August 11 broadcast of the Eric Metaxas Show, Eric interviewed Eric Teetsel, coauthor of Marriage Is: How Marriage Transforms Society and Cultivates Human Flourishing. In their discussion, Metaxas offered a tremendous analogy of the complexity of marriage and the varied benefits it brings to society and culture. Here is a paraphrase of what he said.

about2

Marriage is in many ways like a pocket watch. You examine the inside mechanism, and you focus on one of the gears. Yet the pocket watch itself isn’t one gear—it’s made up of many parts and is, on the whole, very complex and intricate.


pocketwatch_cutaway_drawing


All the parts of the watch work together to give you the time. Marriage too is complex. It’s a balance a many gears and springs and other parts that all work together, and it ties into so much. There’s family; there’s raising kids; there’s replacing the population; and many other things as well.

Yet people want to focus on only one gear: “It’s about love!” No, no, no! Not exclusively. “It’s about sex!” No! Sex is a part of marriage, but not the whole. All the parts and pieces that make up marriage work together in a tremendously complex way to benefit society broadly. We make a huge mistake when we pull out only one gear and focus only on it, or when we look at one gear and think we can get along without it. Removing that one part messes the whole thing up. Marriage is intricate and fragile, and the reason it has worked for millennia is because it relates to and touches so many things.

Eric Metaxas is exactly right.

Myth #5: You ought to be able to marry whomever you love.

Translation: You ought to be able to marry whomever you want to have sex with. This is false. Love does not equal sex, and to imply that it does is to distort the truth about love. Moreover, as we have seen, marriage is about a lot more than sex and love.

In the same radio program cited above, Eric Metaxas and Eric Teetsel discussed a statement made by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Advising friends who soon would marry, Bonhoeffer observed, “Up to this point, your love has sustained your relationship, but from here on out, your marriage must sustain your love.” Man-woman marriage provides the shelter a couple needs to weather the storms of life, but statements like “You ought to be able to marry whomever you love” trivialize and minimize not only marriage, but the needs of children as well, and life itself.

Only natural marriage recognizes the realities of life in all its dimensions. Only man-woman marriage provides a haven that enhances a couple’s own relationship and provides the best environment to meet the physical, mental, and emotional needs of children. This is nature’s testimony. This is the reality of human experience. This is the truth.

Next week, we will briefly explore the relationship between God’s revelation in and through nature and His written revelation in the Bible. It, too, will be a discussion too important to miss.

Part 5 is available here.

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Reference that could not be hyperlinked:

1Quoted in Kerby Anderson, A Biblical Point of View on Homosexuality, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2008), 28.

God’s Definition of Marriage is Self-Evident

The High Cost of Denying the Obvious: Part 3

It is evident that an acquaintance with natural laws means no less than an acquaintance with the mind of God therein expressed.
—James Prescott Joule1

Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. It is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are different and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need both a mother and a father.
—Ryan T. Anderson2

Part 2 is available here.

The Bible tells us that God created both men and women in His image. “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27). First, He “formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (2:7). The man, Adam, had a close relationship with God, but he still needed a human companion.

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

Of course, God knew all along that none of the members of the animal kingdom could be a helper and companion for Adam, but the Lord wanted Adam to see and understand this for himself.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

So we see that God not only created the man and the woman but also marriage—the union in which their companionship could flourish and be fully enjoyed. God also told the first couple, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28).

During His ministry, Jesus affirmed God’s design for marriage and the family as stated in Genesis. In Matthew 19, when asked by the Pharisees about the legality of divorce, Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 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’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Nature Affirms God’s Design

We note that the Bible is crystal clear in both the Old and New Testaments regarding what marriage is; it is the union of one man and one woman for a lifetime. Yet, even without the Bible, the Creator’s design for human relationships, including the fundamental role marriage plays for the benefit of individuals and society, would be abundantly evident. It should not surprise us that the Bible and nature say the same thing, because God is the author of both.

Let’s consider several realities.

First, a man and a woman fit together physically. We see this most clearly in the outlines of the genitalia of a male and a female. This is a fitting that obviously is not present with two men or two women. Moreover, sexual intercourse involves precisely one man and one woman. The human bodies of the man and the woman therefore point to monogamy and sexual exclusivity—and those of same sex couples point to abstinence from sexual activity altogether.

Second, sexual encounters between a husband and wife enhance their relationship by bonding them together physically, emotionally, psychologically, and on many other levels through sexual intercourse. Sexual pleasure is an inseparable part of these experiences. The man and his wife must learn how to pleasure each other, certainly; but their bodies cooperate naturally as sexual arousal occurs. Physical gratification, though, is not the only purpose for sex.

As the male and female bodies are aroused, they also set the stage to increase the chances that fertilization and pregnancy will occur. (Read more here about some of the physiological miracles that occur as a husband and wife come together sexually—but be aware at the outset that this material is explicit). This is the third point we should consider. Only a heterosexual union can produce a baby. Infertile couples certainly do exist, but they do not negate the general rule that when one man and one woman come together and share themselves with each other intimately and sexually, the way is paved for conception, pregnancy, and the eventual arrival of a child. The “one flesh” union, therefore, isn’t just about a couple’s coming together and uniting their bodies sexually; it’s also about the “one flesh” person that can and often does result from the sexual experiences they share. As Ryan Anderson has said, “The lovemaking act is also the life-giving act. The act that unites a man and a woman as husband and wife is the same act that can make them mother and father. This begins to tell us something about what the marital relationship is ordered toward.”3

Fourth, the baby, when it arrives, is totally helpless. She needs nourishment on a regular basis. He needs to have his diapers changed—repeatedly. We are truly deaf and blind in the most extreme sense if we fail to see that nature’s way of bringing a new human life into the world also makes a clear and bold statement about who should have the primary responsibility to care for newborns when they arrive. Moreover, this isn’t just about caring for babies and children so they will grow up to become responsible individuals; it’s also about maintaining a healthy society for years to come. The future of the human race depends on reproducing it so those dying out can be replaced. This can occur only with heterosexual couples. As Charles Colson put it, “The survival of the human race depends upon marriage as the institution by which we procreate and perpetuate civilization.”4

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Fifth, men and women are different in ways beyond their obvious biological differences. Creation and practical experiences testify to this, despite cultural efforts to wipe out references to these contrasts. Today we even know that male and female brains are different,5,6,7 but historically we also have recognized a variety of distinctive traits in each gender. A man is uniquely equipped to meet the needs of his wife, and a woman is uniquely gifted to meet the needs of her husband. Moreover, each one has specific attributes that serve to meet the needs of the children that come into the family as a result of the couple’s sexual union. Every child needs both a mother and a father. Certainly single parent homes exist, and we credit single moms and single dads with all they do to effectively rear their children. Even so, a woman cannot be a dad, nor can a man be a mother.

Celebrate the Differences!

This last point calls for some elaboration. In his insightful book Growth into Manhood,8 Alan Medinger, a former homosexual, devotes an entire chapter to masculinity and its qualities. Medinger emphasizes that masculinity, and femininity, for that matter, are broad concepts—certainly broader than the concepts of male and female. We can understand the traits of one better when we contrast them to the characteristics of the other. Both men and women have masculine and feminine qualities, but in men, masculine traits predominate, and in women, feminine qualities prevail. God, having made both men and women in His image, embodies both masculine and feminine traits (see Ps. 103:13; Matt. 23:37), although He has revealed Himself as Father (Eph. 4:4-6).

Medinger makes four points. These insights are politically incorrect today, but they nevertheless ring true in our lives and in our experiences.

First, while the masculine focuses on that which is external or is “outer directed,” the feminine emphasizes the internal, for it is “inner directed.”

The masculine faces the world: It is oriented to things; it explores; it climbs. Its energy is directed toward the physical: measuring, moving, building, conquering. The feminine looks inward toward feeling, sensing, knowing in the deepest sense. Its energy is directed toward relationships, coming together, nurturing, helping. Rather than moving out into the world, it draws the world around it into itself. Both the masculine and the feminine are relational, but the masculine relational drive is toward the physical, toward working and playing together; the feminine drive is toward being together. In fact, another way to describe this same contrast is masculine doing and feminine being.9

Medinger goes on to say that male bodies, which are stronger, are equipped to engage in masculine activity. Female bodies, by contrast, are equipped to facilitate the enhancement of relationships at a deeper level. He is analytical; she has intuitive insight. He is well-suited to protect, she to bear children and to nurture and comfort. His communication is straightforward, hers warmer and more intimate.10 Both are equal in importance, and both are necessary, but each is different from the other.

Second, the masculine initiates and the feminine responds. Accordingly, generally speaking, men plan and move out to accomplish new projects. They embark on new quests and adventures. The feminine acts to assist her male companion in accomplishing those goals through encouragement, support, and practical help.11

At this point we can expect to get a great deal of flack from those who see the traditional home as oppressive to women. We are not saying that a woman never initiates anything or that a man never responds to his wife. Nor are we saying that the role of the initiator is superior to that of the one responding and helping. Both are important and necessary, and both are of equal value.

When Focus on the Family relocated to Colorado Springs from Southern California in the early 90s, the move was exciting for Dr. James Dobson, its founder and president at the time. “For me,” Dobson remembers, “it took fifteen minutes to get used to the idea.” Dobson’s wife, Shirley, had difficulty. Dr. Dobson knew her perspective was different from his. “She’d have to start over. She had envisioned continuing to make memories in the same house where [we had] raised the kids. Plus, Southern California had more culture than Colorado Springs. I brought my ‘culture’ with me, in Focus.” Shirley had long known that relocating was a real possibility, and she maintained the perspective that she and her husband were a team. After the move and the departure of their adult children from the home, Shirley began to write books and to find fulfillment as chairman of the National Day of Prayer. Of course, she continued to be her husband’s chief supporter as well.12

351

As a side note, Medinger observes that since God is the ultimate initiator, it is entirely appropriate that He would reveal Himself in the masculine role of Father. We, as responders to God, are all feminine in this sense. How fitting, therefore, that we who are followers of Christ are called His bride (see Eph. 5:31-32).13

The third point highlights the immeasurably significant influence a wife has over her husband. The masculine embodies authority, and the feminine embodies power. We see masculine authority in initiation and in decision-making, and we see related masculine power in physical strength. These aren’t the only kinds of influence, however.

There is the power that is physical strength that can lift two hundred pounds or open the pickle jar, but there is also a power that endures, that does not vacillate, that is like glue or solder that holds things together. This is the power of the feminine. In the family, the woman, the one primarily embodying the feminine, is the one in almost all cultures who holds the family together. She makes the home and does the most to establish relationships among husband, wife, and children. This takes a special kind of power that is less often present in the man.14

A wife wields great influence over her husband. Despite all the talk about the benefits of cohabitation and how marriage is oppressive to women—and the perspective that biblical submission keeps a wife from reaching her full potential—marriage actually gives women great leverage. In his book, The Ring Makes All the Difference, social researcher Glenn Stanton describes a scenario in which a woman cohabitating with her boyfriend asks him to don a Barney costume to entertain the kids at her niece’s upcoming birthday party. He objects. He has plans to fish. Besides, Brittney isn’t his niece—she’s his girlfriends niece! Now, think how this conversation would go if the two were married. A husband cannot refuse his wife as readily as a guy can turn down his girlfriend.15 Stanton observes, “Contrary to stereotypes…a man with a ring on his finger will spend up to eight more hours a week washing dishes and cleaning clothes, floors, and bathrooms than his shacking-up peer.”16 Marriage really isn’t as oppressive as we’ve been led to believe! Feminine power is powerful indeed!

Fourth, the masculine uphold truths while the feminine emphasizes and offers mercy.

This contrast between the masculine and feminine is the stuff around which dramas are written. The father discovers that his beloved son has committed a terrible crime and forces him to turn himself in to the authorities. The mother pleads with him not to. The masculine operates on principle; the feminine is moved by compassion. The masculine looks to the long-term good; the feminine looks at the immediate human need. The masculine has a passion for truth, the feminine for love.17

Keep in mind that we never would say that men are totally without mercy or that women completely lack the ability to confront with the truth when necessary. At the same time, this difference and the others we have named are prevailing trends that should be acknowledged and celebrated. Why? They benefit couples, families, society, and humanity at large. Minimizing them is both foolish and detrimental.

We stated earlier that God embodies both the masculine and the feminine. This is a good place to illustrate this truth. Consider Psalm 62:11-12, which presents the perfect balance between contrasting qualities.

11 One thing God has spoken,
two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
12     and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
according to what they have done” (NIV).

Were God powerful and strong but not loving, He would destroy us all. Were He loving but not powerful, He would desire to meet our deepest need but would be unable to do so. Thankfully, He possesses both strength and love. Moreover, in His design for the family, He has provided for a balanced representation of essential contrasting qualities like strength and love, and truth and mercy. This is important for both the husband and wife, for each provides a check against the excesses of the other; and it’s essential for children, whose views of God are first based on what they observe and experience in their relationships with their parents at home.

Nature Also Warns Against Departing from God’s Plan

We have seen a variety of ways in which creation testifies to God’s clear definition of marriage in Scripture. One more thing we must do is contrast this to homosexuality, which today purports to be just as natural, normal, and healthy as heterosexuality. Nothing could be further from the truth, and examining a few of the things that happen physiologically when two men come together sexually will demonstrate just how far homosexuality departs from God’s design. It is diametrically opposed to God’s intentions and plan. Nature affirms this clearly, reflecting precisely what the Bible teaches with regard to behavior to emulate and actions to avoid. Be forewarned! The quote I am going to present is explicit, but necessarily so. Yet it also is limited, for much more could be said. Still, enough will be said to vividly illustrate creation’s reflection of God’s design and the cost of departing from His plan. Go here to read these important statements.

We Have a Duty to Point Out Nature’s Lessons Regarding Sexuality

In an article titled “Homosexual ‘Marriage’ and Natural Law,” blogger Kevin Kukla does a good job of summarizing two of the major points we have attempted to make: “The female body and the male body are designed to operate sexually in union with each other. Homosexual activity defies the innate design of the human body.”18 It logically follows from these two truths that we do well to heed what we learn from nature about sexuality and human relationships.

Even though “common sense” has become all too uncommon today, it can be restored as we raise our voices to declare the obvious. Let us raise them lovingly, forthrightly, consistently, and persistently. As the apostle Paul wrote, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6:9).

Part 4 is available here.

 

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

top image: Signing the Register, painting by Edmund Leighton (1853-1922)

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scriptures designated NIV are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Notes:

1https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/jamespresc317816.html?src=t_natural_laws

2http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/03/marriage-what-it-is-why-it-matters-and-the-consequences-of-redefining-it

3Ryan T. Anderson, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, (Kindle Edition: Regnery, 2015), loc. 411.

4Charles Colson with Anne Morse, My Final Word, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 142.

5Walt Larimore, MD, and Barb Larimore, His Brain, Her Brain: How Divinely Designed Differences Can Strengthen Your Marriage, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008).

6http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-mens-brains-are-wired-differently-than-women/

7 http://www.mastersofhealthcare.com/blog/2009/10-big-differences-between-mens-and-womens-brains/

8Alan Medinger, Growth into Manhood, (Colorado Springs, CO: Shaw, 2000).

9Medinger, 84.

10Medinger, 84-85.

11Medinger, 85.

12Dale Buss, Family Man: The Biography of Dr. James Dobson, (Wheaton: Tyndale, 2005), 118-119, 245-247.

13Medinger.

14Medinger, 86.

15Glenn Stanton, The Ring Makes All the Difference: The Hidden Consequences of Cohabitation and the Strong Benefits of Marriage, (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2011), 41-42.

16Stanton, 49.

17Medinger, 87.

18http://prolife365.com/homosexual-marriage-and-natural-law/

 

 

The Supreme Court…Isn’t: Part 2 of 2 Parts

Responding to the Court’s Ruling on Marriage
Part 2: Application—Eight Reasons Why The Supreme Court
Has Crossed an Ominous Line

…This noble doctrine and heritage of religious liberty calls to us…to be the right kind of Christians. Let us never forget that a democracy, whether civil or religious, has not only its perils, but has also its unescapable obligations.
—George W. Truett, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, in a speech on religious liberty delivered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, May 16, 19201

In part 1, we examined Romans 13:1-7 and drew from it six biblical principles relating to the state. Here is a summary of our discussion.

  1. All people are to submit to governing authorities. Christians in particular are to be good citizens.
  2. The state’s authority is not absolute but has been delegated by God.
  3. The government’s primary job is to maintain order by rewarding those who do right and punishing those who do wrong.
  4. Government does not have the authority or the right to promote ideas or actions that are morally wrong or contrary to God’s will.
  5. When government uses its authority to further immorality, injustice, or other unethical ideas or practices, it abuses its God-given power. Thus, whatever is legal isn’t necessarily right. Moreover, whenever and wherever man’s law directs Christians to disobey God’s law, believers are obligated to obey God.
  6. The state wields “the sword”; it has the power to enforce its laws. However, it misuses this authority when it penalizes those who refuse to obey immoral laws. Of all people, Christians must resist this tyranny.

Against this biblical backdrop, let’s now consider briefly the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. The state, obviously, is a major player in the debate over marriage and in the implementation and administration of national policy regarding marriage. In the days ahead, the government, especially at the Federal level, will enforce the Supreme Court’s ruling and the implications and policies that flow from it. How should Christians respond?

Dr. R. C. Sproul, founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries, along with several of his colleagues, wrestled with this very question on Ligonier’s Monday, July 6 radio broadcast, Renewing Your Mind.2 In addition to Sproul, Ligonier Ministries teaching fellow Dr. R. C. Sproul, Jr, President and CEO of Ligonier Ministries Chris Larson, and program host Lee Webb participated in the discussion. All agreed that the ruling represented a watershed moment for America because it was so horrific and terrible. It was both lawless and unconstitutional, on par with both Roe v. Wade and Dred Scott.3 These rulings appear to be unique American history because they are not just egregious in degree, but in kind; they stand in a class all by themselves. Without doubt, the marriage decision is offensive to God, and He will not ignore it.

32c617d1Dr. R. C. Sproul

The panel’s observations about the nature of the Supreme Court’s marriage decision underscore the need for believers to relentlessly oppose it—even if and even when it costs them dearly to do so.

Here are some of the panel’s observations. Some statements are closer to quotes than others, but each fairly represents the ideas conveyed. Minor edits have been made for clarity.

  1. The marriage decision doesn’t mean a massive shift within the homosexual community alone, but also in the culture at large. Also, it will trigger a shift within the church because of the heavy influence of the culture on the church.
  2. This isn’t just people giving themselves over to homosexuality; it’s also their celebrating it in the streets and celebrating it as a positive good. And it’s the state saying the same thing. This is not just giving validity to homosexual behavior, but it’s creating counterfeit marriage and calling it real.
  3. God didn’t give marriage to Christians or to Jews only. It wasn’t simply a religious group that was singled out to participate in marriage. Rather, marriage was given in creation as God’s law for all human beings throughout time. Moreover, it was defined by Him. The state does not ever have the right to redefine a creation ordinance—an ordinance that has been in effect since the very act of creation and since the very existence of the institution of marriage itself.
  4. The church doesn’t expect the state to do the work of the church, but it does expect the state to do the work of the state. The state, remember, also is ordained by God. Protecting life and protecting marriage aren’t just religious values but humanitarian values. When we say we object to the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, our concern isn’t that the state has separated itself from the church, but that it has separated itself from God! Since the state is a God-ordained institution, it is doing this to its own peril and to the detriment of its people.
  5. What we’re talking about here is not just a rejection of God as Redeemer or as potential Redeemer. We’re talking about a rejection of God as Maker. This is what Paul warns about in Romans 1 when he talks about homosexuality—but the court went even further than this. This ruling shakes a fist at God and says, “You made all of us, redeemed or not, to be this way (meaning that a man and a woman fit together naturally in marriage), and we’re going to turn this on its head; we’re going to pervert this as heinously as we can. We’re going to celebrate it, too!” This isn’t just telling God, “We know better than You; You’re mistaken and we’re wiser than you.” It’s “This will really tick You off because we hate You!”

Here are some additional observations we can add to the list.

  1. The court not only rejected God, but also set itself up as God.
  2. The redefinition of marriage nationwide gives proponents of same-sex marriage the ability to use the government to force those who disagree with them to participate in their celebrations—against their desires and against their consciences. This is diametrically opposed to the principle of religious liberty on which this country was founded.
  3. The court didn’t bring marriage to same-sex couples; instead, it brought same-sex couples to marriage. In other words, the court didn’t just bestow marriage on same-sex couples that desire it; it brought the characteristics to a same-sex relationship into the institution of marriage, thereby negating those things about natural marriage that make it special. (1) The court severed gender and gender differences from the meaning of marriage. In a practical sense, the institution of marriage no longer is about the dynamics inherent in opposite sex relationships; it isn’t about male and female differences anymore. (2) The court separated procreation from marriage. Marriage no longer is about a relationship that can produce children. This portends ominously for the future of civilization and its youngest and most innocent citizens. (3) The court severed gender from parenting, negating the unique contributions of both mothers and fathers from the family. Marriage and the family are no longer about the special skills and contributions a man can make as a father or that a woman can make as a mother. (4) The court, rather than validating children, has trampled on their emotional needs by depriving many of them of either a mom or a dad. Put another way, the court ignored the needs children have for the protective influence of a father and the unique, nurturing touch of a mother. When a society favors adults’ rights over children’s needs, it has become barbaric in the worst possible way.

In the 1953 biblical epic The Robe (Twentieth-Century Fox), Tribune Marcellus Gallio is the Roman soldier who wins the robe of Jesus when he gambles for it at the foot of the cross (see John 19:23-24). Tribune Gallio eventually becomes a Christian, and his life is forever changed. As a Christian, however, he is seen as a traitor to the Roman Empire. (The early Christians were seen as traitors to the state primarily because they were misunderstood. The misunderstandings, however, were widely believed and acted upon.) At the end of the movie, Marcellus stands before Emperor Caligula. He is accused of treason and is condemned to die, but Caligula gives him a chance to escape the death penalty.

MV5BOTc0NDQ5ODIyMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzg4MzgxMTE@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_

Caligula: Tribune Gallio, you stand condemned to death, but it is our desire to be merciful, to give you a chance to recant your treason and go free. Kneel to us, and renew your tribune’s oath of loyalty to your emperor. Renounce your misguided allegiance to this dead Jew who dared to call himself a king.

Marcellus kneels.

Marcellus: Sire, with all my heart I renew my pledge of loyalty to my emperor and to Rome, a pledge which I have never broken.

Caligula: And the other—Jesus—renounce Him so all can hear.

Marcellus stands.

Marcellus: I cannot renounce Him sire, nor can you. He is my King and yours as well He is the Son of God.

Caligula: And that is your answer.

Marcellus: Yes, sire.

Caligula: Tribune Gallio, we decree that you be taken immediately to the palace archery field and put to death for high treason!4

Was Tribune Gallio a traitor to Rome? No; he fulfilled his God-given responsibilities to his country. Yet he also understood that as a Christian, he had to put his Savior first—even before his country and even before his own life—when Rome demanded he renounce Christ.

While Christians do not yet face death for practicing their faith in America, the cost for being a Christian is rising significantly. Despite the cost, we cannot stand idly by and remain silent when the God-ordained institution of marriage—a picture of Christ and His church (see Eph. 5:31-32)—is being disfigured and mutilated by the state. The Supreme Court really isn’t Supreme. God is, and Christians have the job of obeying God’s verdict rather than the Supreme Court’s.

Won’t you speak up? Won’t you make a commitment to work tirelessly to reverse this horrific ruling? Let’s work together to bring our country back from the brink!

 

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Notes:

1http://www.reformedreader.org/baptistsandreligiousliberty.htm

2http://renewingyourmind.org/broadcasts/2015/07/06/a-response-to-the-samesex-marriage-ruling

3http://www.wordfoundations.com/2015/07/17/the-supreme-courtisnt/

4The Robe, Twentieth-Century Fox, DVD, original movie 1953, renewed 1981

http://renewingyourmind.org/broadcasts/2015/07/06/a-response-to-the-samesex-marriage-ruling

Obergefell v. Hodges: Eliminating Freedom in the Name of Upholding It

440px-Supreme_Court_US_2010

It has long been my opinion, and I have never shrunk from its expression…that the germ of dissolution of our Federal Government is in the constitution of the Federal Judiciary—an irresponsible body…working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief over the field of jurisdiction until all shall be usurped from the States and the government be consolidated into one. To this I am opposed.
—Thomas Jefferson1

[T]he Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government.…and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence.
—Noah Webster2

Americans now live in an oligarchy—a form of government that can be described as rule by a few. This is but one of the lessons coming out of the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case in which the Court redefined marriage in America to include same-sex couples.

It is helpful periodically to review the various approaches to government. There are five.

  • Monarchy—rule by one, a king
  • Oligarchy—rule by a few, an elite group
  • Democracy—rule by the majority
  • Republic—rule by law
  • Anarchy—rule by none

Note that when the founders of America established this country, they set up a republic. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 took place from May 25 to September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.3 The meetings were secret,4 so concerned citizens were anxious to know what had happened. Following the proceedings, a lady approached Benjamin Franklin and asked him what kind of government delegates had established for the new nation. Franklin replied, “A republic…if you can keep it.”5,6

In fashioning the republic, this country’s early leaders looked to the Bible and sought to base the structure of the nation’s new government on biblical principles.7 Here’s one example. The men who established this nation crafted three branches of government—the presidency, the Congress, and the courts (executive, legislative, and judicial). They patterned these after God’s multiple roles as king, lawgiver, and judge. Isaiah 33:22 says that “the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King; He will save us.” But there is more. Recognizing man’s sinfulness and his tendency to become corrupt when given too much power, America’s earliest leaders made the branches separate. The specific responsibilities given each branch and the barriers between them would act to restrain each one and keep it from overstepping its authority.

Sadly, the judicial branch has overstepped its authority on many occasions. Most recently and most ominously, five unelected Supreme Court justices, along with numerous federal judges in lower courts, have overruled millions of American citizens who voted to affirm natural marriage in 39 states.8 The Constitution’s “We the People” has been replaced by the elite few of the Supreme Court. In other instances the executive branch has overstepped its authority, and Congress and the courts have allowed this to happen.9,10,11

As believers and as concerned Americans, we need to understand the fragility of our liberties. Freedom is threatened not solely by arrogant politicians on one side of the spectrum and acquiescent officials on the other, but also by (and this may be even more important) the absence of an internal restraint that used to characterize Americans. Today, society’s rejection of God has removed that restraint, and bitter fruit can only result.

Clayton M. Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts.12 A brilliant economist and as well as a man of faith,13 Christensen offers these insightful observations in a powerful You Tube video. (While he uses the term “democracy,” here he essentially means our republican form of government.)

Some time ago I had a conversation with a Marxist economist from China. He was coming to the end of a Fulbright Fellowship here in Boston, and I asked him if he learned anything that was surprising or unexpected. And without any hesitation, he said, “Yeah, I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of democracy.” The reason why democracy works, he said, is not because the government was designed to oversee what everybody does. But rather, democracy works because most people most of the time, voluntarily choose to obey the law. And in her past, most Americans attended a church or synagogue every week, and they were taught there by people they respected.

My friend went on to say that Americans follow these rules because they had come to believe that they weren’t just accountable to society; they were accountable to God.

My Chinese friend [further observed] that as religion loses its influence over Americans, what will happen to democracy? Where are the institutions that are going to teach the next generation of Americans that they too need to voluntarily choose to obey the laws? Because if you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police.14

Read that last statement again and allow it to sink in. If you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police. The positive counterpart to this truth is that widespread adherence to religion compels people to police themselves, making a free society possible.

Our founders, as well as many of our leaders and statesmen during our nation’s history, understood that devotion to God or “religion” was the only force that could hold both people and leaders accountable to the nation’s laws. Note that leaders, not just citizens, were to live under the law. Read carefully some of America’s statesmen’s words on the importance of religion in maintaining liberty.

Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States

  • “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”15—Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
  • “[M]en…will be free no longer than while they remain virtuous.”16—Samuel Adams (1722-1803)
  • “Human rights can only be assured among a virtuous people. The general government…can never be in danger of degenerating into a monarchy, an oligarchy, an aristocracy, or any despotic or oppressive form so long as there is any virtue in the body of the people.”17—George Washington (1732-1799)
  • “Statesmen…may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand….The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.”18—John Adams (1735-1826) On October 11, 1798, Adams also said, “[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”19
  • “Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is impossible that a nation of infidels or idolaters should be a nation of free men. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with freedom.”20—Patrick Henry (1736-1799)
  • “[W]ithout virtue there can be no liberty.”21—Benjamin Rush (1746-1814), signer of the Declaration of Independence
  • “We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”22—James Madison (1751-1836)
  • “All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they may have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the Word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet. It may do for other countries and other governments to talk about the State supporting religion. Here, under our own free institutions, it is Religion which must support the State.”23—Robert Winthrop (1809-1894), to the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Bible Society Boston, Mass; May 28, 1849.
  • “The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.”24—Frederick Douglas (1818-1895)
  • “America! America! / God mend thine every flaw, / Confirm thy soul in self-control, / Thy liberty in law!”25—Katherine Lee Bates (1859-1929), in the second stanza of “America the Beautiful”
  • “History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.”26—Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)
  • “Without God, there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first—the most basic—expression of Americanism.”27—President Dwight Eisenhower, 1955 (1890-1969)
  • “You cannot have liberty without faith. You may have tyranny and despotism without it, but not liberty. Because if you dissolve the bonds which faith creates, the government must inevitably move in to create the control which has been lost by [the removal of] the internal Christian self-government upon which the founders of this country based our nation.”28—D. James Kennedy (1930-2007), in a sermon titled “The Bible and the Constitution” preached June 7, 1987

djameskennedy

  • “Does [Justice] Kennedy understand liberty apart from God’s moral code brings on horrors like were experienced during the French Revolution? Does he understand the role marriage and family play in self-governance? Does he have any idea of the kind of world he has insured our children will know?…America was morally adrift long before this ruling. This is the fast-track version of moral relativism as national political, legal, educational and cultural policy.”29—Joseph Farah (b. 1954), founder, editor, and CEO of WND.com

We as believers must recognize these truths if we are to effectively contend for the preservation and, in some cases, the restoration, of liberty and freedom. Most people have absolutely no understanding of the delicate balance between national order and individual liberty. Perhaps no modern observer painted a clearer picture of this balance than Francis Schaeffer.

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In our own country we have enjoyed enormous human freedom. But at the same time this freedom has been founded upon forms of government, law, culture, and social morality which have given stability to individual and social life, and have kept our freedoms from leading to chaos. There is a balance here between from and freedom which we have come to take as natural in the world. But it is not natural. And we are utterly foolish if we do not recognize that this unique balance which we have inherited from the Reformation thought-forms is not automatic in a fallen world. This is clear when we look at the long span of history. But it is equally clear when we read the daily newspaper and see half the world locked in totalitarian oppression.

The Reformation not only brought forth a clear preaching of the gospel, it also gave shape to society as a whole—including government, how people viewed the world, and the full spectrum of culture.…This is not to say that the Reformation was ever a “golden age” or that everyone in Reformation countries were true Christians. But it is clear that through the Reformation many were brought to Christ and that the absolutes of the Bible became widely disseminated in the culture as a whole. The freedoms which grew out of this were tremendous, and yet, with the forms grounded in a biblical consensus or ethos, the freedoms did not lead to chaos.

But something has happened in the last sixty years [Schaeffer’s statements were published in 1984]. The freedom that once was founded on a biblical consensus and a Christian ethos has now become autonomous freedom, cut loose from all constraints. Here we have the world spirit of our age—autonomous Man setting himself up as God, in defiance of the knowledge and the moral and spiritual truth which God has given. Here is the reason why we have a moral breakdown in every area of life. The titanic freedoms which we once enjoyed have been cut lose from their Christian restraints and are becoming a force of destruction leading to chaos. And when this happens, there really are very few alternatives. All morality becomes relative, law becomes arbitrary, and society moves toward disintegration. In personal and social life, compassion is swallowed up by self-interest. As I have pointed out in my earlier books [these statements come from the last book Schaeffer would write], when the memory of the Christian consensus which gave us freedom within the biblical form is increasingly forgotten, a manipulating authoritarianism will tend to fill the vacuum. At this point the words “right” and “left” will make little difference. They are only two roads to the same end; the results are the same. An elite, and authoritarianism as such, will gradually force form on society so that it will not go into chaos—and most people will accept it.30

We cannot overstate the ominous nature of this situation. While in truth, religion, most significantly Christianity, has provided the basis for American freedom and liberty, today that foundation is being viciously attacked. Furthermore, a new definition of freedom now prevails in society. To most people, freedom is what we once referred to as license. And beyond this, Christianity is being portrayed not as the friend of freedom, but as its enemy.31,32,33,34

Even more broadly, the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges sends the signal to all Americans that whatever a person has an urge to do, fulfilling that urge is legitimate and valid—even a positive good. This lie not only falsely legitimizes homosexuality but will falsely legitimize a great deal of additional destructive behaviors and practices as well. President Barak Obama said, “No matter who you are or what you look like or who you love, America is a place where you can write your own destiny. When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.”35

Unfortunately, we are not freer under these conditions, because under these conditions, we really aren’t being treated equally. Some are being treated as more special than others; preference is being given to those who engage in practices contrary to God’s law. They even have been given an unfair advantage in that they now have legal leverage to use against dissenters that dissenters do not have, even though the American way is one of free and open debate, with each group contending for its position in the marketplace of ideas. The American people also are being lied to and being led to believe that destructive actions are harmless and even good. Our founders would not be fooled by these lies. They realized the truth of these Bible passages, among many others.

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Prov. 14:34).

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isa. 5:20).

The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings (Jer. 17:9-10).

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:9-11).

Still, especially in this environment, we as Christians have a duty to declare the truth and to call America back to God. We must do so lovingly, but also with confidence that the truth is on our side. And we must do so with a clear understanding of the connection between faith, freedom, and stability in society. We do this not for our sakes alone but also for the sakes of the children who will bear the brunt of the marriage ruling.36,37,38,39,40

We also do it for everyone celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, because we realize they actually are sawing off the very branch on which they themselves are sitting.

Eventually, unless America’s course is altered, no one will be free.

 

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Notes:

1http://www.tysknews.com/Depts/The_Law/jefferson.htm

2http://www.free2pray.info/5founderquotes.html

3https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_Convention_(United_States)

4http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/Ftrials/conlaw/convention1787.html

5http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/a-republic-if-you-can-keep-it

6http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/7631-a-republic-if-you-can-keep-it

7http://www.nccs.net/2003-10-early-americans-studied-the-bible.php

8http://goo.gl/JJN1vy

9http://dailycaller.com/2014/05/07/ted-cruz-releases-definitive-list-of-76-lawless-obama-actions/

10http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-f-will-stopping-a-lawless-president/2014/06/20/377c4d6e-f7e5-11e3-a3a5-42be35962a52_story.html

11http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3304919/posts

12https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clayton_M._Christensen

13https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clayton_M._Christensen

14https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjntXYDPw44

15http://www.dakotavoice.com/2008/07/only-a-virtuous-people-are-capable-of-freedom/

16http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch18s14.html

17http://foundingquotes.com/georgewashington.htm

18http://foundingquotes.com/johnadams.htm

19http://www.beliefnet.com/resourcelib/docs/115/Message_from_John_Adams_to_the_Officers_of_the_First_Brigade_1.html

20http://foundingquotes.com/pathenry.htm

21http://www.partyof1776.net/p1776/issues/Virtue/contents.html

22http://thestoryoflibertyblog.com/2012/06/21/james-madison-and-the-constitution-and-branches-of-government/

23http://www.fortifyingthefamily.com/religion_state.html

24http://quotes.lifehack.org/quote/frederick-douglass/the-life-of-the-nation-is-secure/

25https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_the_Beautiful

26http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs155/1108762609255/archive/1116360892946.html

27http://eisenhower.archives.gov/all_about_ike/quotes.html

28http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=6131413413610

29http://www.wnd.com/2015/06/the-consequences-of-the-marriage-ruling/

30Francis A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1984), 21-23.

31http://www.citizenlink.com/2015/06/26/why-the-marriage-decision-is-not-like-roe-v-wade/

32http://www.citizenlink.com/2015/06/30/why-the-marriage-decision-is-not-like-roe-v-wade-radio/

33http://freedomoutpost.com/2015/05/war-on-christianity-american-churches-who-oppose-same-sex-marriage-will-lose-tax-exemption/

34http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/courts-conclude-faith-loses-to-gay-demands/

35http://wspa.com/2015/06/26/justice-scalia-delivers-scathing-dissent-of-gay-marriage-decision/

36http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/06/26/american-college-of-pediatricians-on-same-sex-marriage-ruling-a-tragic-day-for-americas-children/

37http://www.wnd.com/2015/05/high-court-on-verge-of-destroying-the-family/

38http://news.yahoo.com/lawyers-gay-marriage-detriment-children-013731653.html

39http://www.wnd.com/2004/05/24469/

40http://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/05/27/the-wests-hatred-of-children-and-families/

Redefining Marriage: A Journey Littered with Lawlessness and Radical Activism

In a 5-4 decision released on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States redefined marriage nationwide, mandating that same-sex couples be allowed to “marry” in every state in the union. At least two of the justices participating in the ruling should have recused themselves. Also, the U.S. Constitution never mentions marriage, so nothing in it requires a nationwide redefinition of marriage. Yet beyond even these concerns, the Court’s decision clashes head-on with reality.

The Supreme Court cannot change what marriage is any more than it can change what gravity is—but the effect of the ruling will be devastating for our country, especially for the children who will be deprived of mothers and fathers by intention and design.

As the debate over same-sex marriage raged in this country, Charles Colson made this observation: “The argument…is that to deny homosexuals marriage is manifestly unfair. But it’s not unfair. Gays and lesbians are not unworthy of marriage; they are incapable of marriage.”

Although incapable of marriage, same-sex couples will now have the opportunity to enter into a relationship recognized and sanctioned by the government, and it will be called “marriage.” When public policy collides with the truth, problems result, and the Supreme Court has opened the door for some very, very ominous problems for this country and its citizens. For these and many other reasons the Supreme Court’s ruling is illegitimate and should be resisted.

How did we get to this point? We do well to look back. The Supreme Court has acted irresponsibly and lawlessly, but along the way so have many lower courts, numerous state legislatures, and even some elected leaders. Citizens voted by the millions in their respective states to affirm man-woman marriage, but these laws and amendments, even though they were enacted by due process, have been overruled by judges who are not supposed to have lawmaking authority. What happened?  In a report written primarily during the latter part of 2014 and early 2015, I present some highlights.

The report is titled “Justice Denied.”

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

http://www.usconstitution.net/constnot.html

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/06/26/supreme-court-marriage-equality-decision-unadulterated-judicial-activism/S3w8eDx94vIJ01Yd7JijUI/story.html 

A Critical Time for the American Church

Listen a special 3-part series of Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk broadcast. Dr. Dobson and his guests discuss a Supreme Court ruling this summer that could impose same-sex marriage nationwide. What should be the church’s response? These broadcasts aired April 15 through 17, 2015.

Supreme Court Ruling On Gay Marriage – I

Supreme Court Ruling On Gay Marriage – II

Supreme Court Ruling On Gay Marriage – III

Clarity Needed

When a church renovated its worship center, the decision was made to hang a beautiful portrait of Christ on the wall directly behind the pulpit. When the pastor got up to deliver his message on the Sunday morning after the renovation was complete, a little boy in the congregation who was still new to the church’s worship services asked his mother, “Mom, who is that man who stands so we can’t see Jesus?”1

Portraits of Christ are important. They’re particularly important to God—especially those He Himself presents in Scripture. We need to make sure that we never obstruct them—that we never “stand so people can’t see Jesus.” Instead, we must faithfully uphold these images so they can convey all God wants them to convey.

Just ask Moses. In a fit of uncontrolled emotion, he distorted a picture of Christ that God intended to present to Israel, and, through the pages of Scripture, to future generations. Making their way across the wilderness after being freed from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites lacked water, and they grumbled and complained. Moses and Aaron met with the Lord, who instructed Moses, “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and the animals” (Num. 20:8).

Moses, however, didn’t speak to the rock. Overcome with frustration and anger, he took his rod and hit it twice. While life-sustaining water did pour out, God punished Moses for not obeying Him: “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them” (v. 12). The place was called Meribah, which comes from the Hebrew verb meaning “to contend” or “to argue.”

Why was God so upset? Disobedience always displeases the Lord, but here something else was involved as well. Exodus 17 indicates that earlier, at a place called Rephidim, a similar situation unfolded. Water was nowhere to be found. The people complained there too, but God told Moses what He needed to do to set the stage for a miracle. “Behold,” the Lord said, “I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink” (Ex. 17:6). Moses obeyed God, and even though the people had grumbled, they had water to drink. This place also was called Massah, meaning test, and Meribah, the same name given to the location mentioned in Numbers 20. The differences in what occurred in Exodus 17 and Numbers 20, however, indicate these were two different places.

Pieter de Grebber, Moses Striking the Rock

We need to understand that at the Meribah in Numbers 20, Moses ruined a divinely orchestrated picture of Christ. Jesus is the Rock (see 1 Cor. 10:1-4; Eph. 2:19-21; 1 Pet. 2:4-8). He also is “living water” (John 4:10-14). He had to die, or be struck, only once. Based on His death, salvation comes to all who repent of their sins and trust Him for forgiveness and eternal life. In other words, sinners need only speak to Him—for, having already died, He stands ready, willing, able, and even anxious to forgive (see Heb. 7:25-28).

We see just how important this portrait of Jesus was to God when we realize that because of Moses’ disobedience, God would not let His servant enter the promised land! Later, when the Israelites were about to take possession of the land, Moses recounted that he had asked God to reconsider, but the Lord said, “Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter” (Deut. 3:26). Does this sound harsh? If it does, we need to remember that God is God. His judgments don’t reflect His opinions but reality.

In the New Testament, we see that a similar situation unfolded in the Corinthian Church with regard to the Lord’s Supper. Paul wrote these words in 1 Corinthians 11:

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

In other words, some had died because they failed to approach the Lord’s Supper with necessary reverence and respect. Remember—the Lord’s Supper is a divinely created picture of the sacrifice of Jesus’ body and blood on the cross.

We can be assured that God is keenly aware of divine signs and images that are being misrepresented today. Thousands of years ago, God placed the first rainbow in the sky as a reminder of His faithfulness after the flood of Noah (see Gen. 9:8-17), but in 2015 many people see rainbow colors and celebrate evil in the name of the politically correct principles of “diversity” and “inclusiveness.” Then there’s marriage—a sacred institution ordained and instituted by God (see Gen. 2:18-25) as well as a picture of Christ’s relationship with His church (see Eph. 5:22-32). Needless to say, that picture is being muddied and distorted everywhere people look. If marriage is redefined in America, how can it possibly continue to represent in society anything close to the relationship God ordained it to represent? If we lose marriage, we lose an image that helps people understand why Christ died. While we cannot expect non-Christians to act as Christians, neither can we ignore the fact that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and for many years upheld those ideals.2 Yet in recent decades in this country, we have, as a nation, kicked God out of public life. Given all the opportunities we as Americans have had to hear and respond to God’s truth, we must understand that God will hold us accountable.

What, then, does it mean in our day to stand so people can see Jesus clearly? We can cite at a growing number of examples of believers who are so standing, including Barronelle Stutzman of Richland, Washington, who is putting her livelihood and all her possessions on the line to uphold genuine marriage.3 Oregonians Aaron and Melissa Klein also are taking a public stand to present Jesus with clarity, even at great risk to themselves and their livelihood.4

“But how,” someone might ask, “do such actions reflect Christ’s love?” We need to understand that it never can be loving to participate in a lie, which is exactly what Stutzman, the Kleins, and many others are now being told they must do. Pray for an increasing number of pastors to have courage to publicly stand with these believers and to explain to their people the importance of biblical marriage.

Greg Quinlan is a former homosexual. Today, he serves as a lobbyist for the New Jersey Family Policy Council. His perspective on ministry to homosexuals is rooted in part in a clear understanding of the way the early Christians lived out their faith in the first century. Here are his insights.

The reason we see so much of a proliferation of homosexuality in our society now is because we live in a sex-saturated culture.…The first century church thrived in a hyper-sexualized homosexual culture in an age of sexual anarchy. So can the 21st century church. We do not need to compromise our message in order to bring homosexuals into the church or accommodate them.…The truth is the truth, and if we love someone, we will tell them the truth that homosexuality is destructive to someone. I know because I watched 100 of my friends die of AIDS.5

Certainly there are many inappropriate and unloving ways to uphold the truth, but there never can be a loving way to distort it.

Copyright © 2015 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.

Notes:

1Adapted from Vance Havner; see http://jesusalive.cc/quotes.htm

2Copy and paste this web address in your browser: http://firstprinciplespress.org/newsite/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/America-is-a-Christian-Nation.pdf

3http://www.christianpost.com/news/grandmother-who-refused-to-make-gay-wedding-floral-arrangements-could-lose-house-life-savings-after-guilty-verdict-134480/

4http://dailysignal.com/2014/09/29/lost-bakery-now-face-bankruptcy-governments-discrimination-fine-brings-oregon-baker-tears/

5http://www.wnd.com/2014/12/nobody-is-born-gay/

 

For further reading:

Two Ways We Should NOT Respond to the “Redefinition” of Marriage

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

April 10, 2015