The Pen

A Response To [SBC Voices] Dan Barnes “The Legislation Of Morality.”

To kick off the show, I want to express my thankfulness that Dan Barnes believes and teaches that homosexuality is a sin and is a sign of ultimate depravity. I definitely agree with him, but considering that I don’t know the guy and have not previously interacted with him, knowing this salient point is served to help better frame the rest of the post. Also note that I did not post the article in it’s entirety, but rather ruminated on large chunks. The full article can be found here

To first address the point of legislating morality, I find it fascinating that anyone would shy away from this. It’s a common enough accusation; that Christians either can’t or shouldn’t legislate morality, but here’s the deal- someone’s morality is always going to be imposed and the only question is whose it’s going to be. Do you want the nations laws to have as their foundation and focus a Christian morality, or would you like a pagan, secular humanist morality? Because the world is wicked, their hearts first instinct and inclination is to wield the legislation of morality as a weapon and use it to suppress any salt and light that might expose their dark deeds and mephistophelian thoughts. If you give up the desire to legislate morality then these people will run with it. You give them an inch and they will scrape and scramble and scream for the whole mile, and there is nothing but oppression, suppression, and a free reign for the culture of death at the end of that road for the Christian.

We have laws against certain types of marriage, no underage marriage, no polygamy, no marriage to animals, and some places, no same sex marriage.  What is the line that we have drawn, and do all of these stand on the same side?

Yes, they stand on the same side as a list of taboos that our world is seeking to normalize and to make as common as  a marriage between one man and one woman once was.  As far as the line drawn between these marriage issues- its likewise nothing but a fluid construct that people are seeking to tear down. It is the hypocritical, bigoted and deluded man who says that they support “marriage equality” and yet try to limit any other conceivably perverted deviation of that first and only ideal. If you put any restrictions whatsoever on who or what or how many of anything a person wants to marry- then you don’t support “marriage equality” at all but rather have only served as yet another pawn in the never-ending struggle to advance the agenda.  But in this way, our sick society is in a hurry to do away with any and all norm or societal constructs that would make any of these “marriages” meaningfully different.

As a Christian, I have found there are times I am to stand up, and times to sit down.  When someone is being taken advantage of, being hurt or abused, then I must stand up.  As a Christian, I am to defend the rights of the orphans, the widows, the oppressed and those in need.  I would oppose marriage to children and animals because they would exploited, we have seen it happen.  With polygamy, women end up being exploited.  It is historical, we see it happen with the cults that have illegal practiced polygamy.  Women become exploited and often children become brides.  What about homosexual marriage?  Are people being exploited in same sex marriage?  I don’t have the answer.

Dan, the problem with your understanding of “standing up” as a response to exploitation is twofold. The first is that while I would certainly agree with you that all these relationships are in some way exploitive, the sad fact is that you can find tons of people in those very relationships who will deny they are exploitive. You can find 13 year old girls dating 19 year old men swooning as if in love. You can find several sister-wives who enjoy being married to a single man. You can find people who have written papers on how animals have no sense of self and cannot comprehend what exploitation is, and therefore would make perfectly acceptable sexual partners. And so using “exploitation” as a standard for morality worthy of limiting the freedoms of our fellow men would ultimately not be tolerated and would quickly wither and die.

Which brings us to the much more important issue of disagreement we have – the fact that the definition of “sin” in the Bible is not whether or not someone is being exploited, but rather whether or not God has declared it thusly. God defines sin, not us. “Exploitation” as a means of measuring morality is not a biblical category or definition. The morality of these things in the scriptures is not determined or evaluated on the basis of who is being exploited, but rather has to do with whether or not we have an objective standards of morality that God has given us in his Word and whether we believe it to be sufficient. Furthermore, I would suggest that because God is so great and unfathomable and his ways are not our ways, we may think we know why so-called “gay marriage” is evil and wicked, and we may indeed have some insight from the Bible why this is, but there could be so many others reasons why he views it as abominable that we can’t even think of or dream up. For this reason  the condition of “exploitation” as the filter by which we determine whether or not something as harmful and would necessitate us standing up and defending as unjust  is extremely foreign to me.

But even then, let’s run with your qualifier for a second. As far as the question of whether or not these people in “gay marriage” are exploiting each other, what’s there to “figure out.”? Going with the general definition of “exploitation” as ‘someone using something or someone unjustly as a means to one’s own end’, how doesn’t this perfectly match that description?

The reality is that by embroiling themselves deeper and deeper in this sin, they are hurting each other. We agree that the sin of homosexuality, as per Romans 1, is characterized by lustful hearts and vile passions. In this sense, under the guise of love and commitment, they are actually using each other to slake their lusts and satisfy the desires of their wicked hearts. That’s both unjust and self-serving. In a similar vein, they can also never truly love each other, because the essence of the relationship is actually one characterized by hatred for each other as they entrench each other further and further into sin and away from the power of the gospel to redeem.

It’s exploitive in that it also creates victims. These individuals are creating children via artificial means and are forcing their children to grow up without a Mother and a Father out of and apart from the Christ-created structure of a family. Any same-sex union that seeks to imitate and copy the real thing will want to go all the way and bring children into their relationship , which is also a form of child abuse. Strong words, but you’re robbing them of the sanctified  environment which they were designed to grow up in, and replacing that with one which will naturally and tragically indoctrinate them into believing the view that their parents’ relationship is good, and in the alleged virtues of the morality of same-sex marriage.

And sadly, many of the children that they raise [and have not produced] will be the ones who will exploit and attack and will victimize your children and grand children. Right now the gay activists are completely blind to the fact that they have gone from the “victims”  to the victimizers- from the “abusee” to the abuser as they desperately and forcefully try to force people into the closest from whence they came, even as they legislate their own hateful and bigoted morality. And know what? It’s only getting worse. We are on a terrible trajectory, and proponents of same sex-marriage don’t just want the right to be tolerated, but rather demand the right to be celebrated. Your uncertainty about this issue and your hesitation to draw those deep lines in the sand only serve to embolden them, and this manifests as a sign of capitulation to their demands, which will only encourage them. They will not be content until they have full societal acquiescence, and you accepting their premise “in some sense” legitimizes their relationship in the eyes of the public, as well as to your friends and family who need examples of courage and resoluteness in the shadow of the great darkness that is descending upon us. If you balk now, it will become the rope that they will hang you with.

In polls, it seem that many people are for same sex marriage.  If the majority of the country believes it should be legal, should we oppose it?  The question for me is, is this an issue I need to stand up and fight?

First, who cares what the majority believes should be legal? That factoid has absolutely no bearing on what the biblical imperatives are, and that question and is so close to being wholly irrelevant that its not worth considering. We live in a fundamentally sick society, and this is seen no more clearly than when it wallows in its perversity and the proliferation of its culture of death by tolerating and celebrating the killing thousands of their pre-born neighbors every day. This is something that God hates, and so we as Christians should oppose it, despite what our lost and decaying culture says. I  suspect you would oppose abortion in the face of great adversity, and so why would same-sex marriage be any different, or in some way be exempt from the good things that we are to fight for? Again, The determination of whether something should be opposed has nothing to do with how our country views it, or what opinion they possess of it, or whether it is exploitive, but rather what does the life-giving, fire-breathing, sin-convicting, Christ-exalting Word of God say about it?

Are people being hurt and exploited?  Some would say yes, that same sex marriage would hurt and destroy children and families.  I agree that the best situation for a child is in a home with the mother and father.  Mother and mother or father and father is not the best situation.  The issue is something I think we all need to think through and decide if it’s something we need to fight.

We all fight in different ways. Some fight with bayonets in the foxholes, others pay for the guns and sharpen the blades. But if we are to hate what God hates, then we ought to fight against all wickedness, particularly with something that so distorts the gospel and the relationship between Christ and the Church.

 This is a complex issue.

No. It’s not. I can’t think of a single aspect of this situation that would even mildly come close to approaching complexity. It’s simple when you are allowing your worldview to be shaped and informed by the sufficient Scriptures and not through artificial or philosophical artifices.

and our faith as Christians combined with our freedom as Americans often comes into conflict.  People in this country are free to practice all types of immoral and unethical behavior, which ones do we stand against ad which ones do we sit down and pray that God will change hearts?

I don’t see what would give this situation a special exemption or dispensation from being something that we should not be constantly engaging and fighting against, in whatever small and meager way we can. Look at it from this vantage point-in the same way we don’t read scriptures about serving the widow and orphan and opine and question and struggle with whether or not its best to feed and provide for the widow, but merely pray for the orphan that God will feed them and meet their needs, neither do we do it with this. We don’t have to choose between the widow and orphan, but rather can and should stand up and fight for both of them, in whatever way that fighting looks like, There’s no reason there has to be even a hint of mutual exclusivism.

When it comes to the issue of same sex marriage, I just don’t know.

That’s awful. You should know. And if you don’t know, you shouldn’t spread your doubts until you do know.

I one sense, it doesn’t violate someone’s freedom or exploit the people involved, but in the same way, there are people who get involved that can be exploited.

Freedom-violating is not a biblical category and standard that we ought to be concerned about as it pertains to this morality. And again, it always exploits the other person. This is undeniable because the foundation of its conception is inherently sinful and evil and is borne out of a deep sense of sexual brokeness and slavery to sin. When two people celebrate their brokeness and revel in their sin, it can’t help but be exploitive, soul-crushing and enslaving.

It’s a slippery slope either way.  To begin to limit freedoms may come back to limit our freedom to worship.  In the same way, too much freedom can bring destruction and pain.

We are already on the bottom of the slope. It was slicked with axle grease a long time ago, and the line up at the top of the hill waiting to come down is only is getting more and more crowded. Our loss and limit of freedom is happening right now. All the time. The fact is then that it doesn’t matter how much freedom we give others to commit their sins, it will never satisfy or satiate, but rather will just build their appetite for more. They are coming after us to limit our freedoms with a vengeance. They are actively seeking to marginalize us and render us anathema to societal cohesion. They want us to shut up, and smile, and it doesn’t matter how much you try to capitulate and appease them. Come hell or highwater, they will impose their morality on you, and you will not like it, and your freedom will be nothing but a  distant memory.

I am thankful for men like Dan Haseltine who struggle with the issue.  Sometimes we have to face realities of national vs religious freedom.  It takes struggle and prayer and dialogue.  What we don’t need is condemnation for those thinking through the issue.  I pray we will all have wisdom.

I’m not thankful for men who have supposedly been Christians longer than I have been alive, and yet struggle with and then vocalize doubts and disagreement over what in fact are simple, non complex issues that are clearly revealed and are promulgated throughout the Scriptures with perspicuity and clarity. If anything I’m disappointed and discouraged that he went off half-cocked and used his platform to speak about something that he demonstrated he knew nothing about, and then subsequently caused an uprroad that will take years to pick up the pieces of, and which only served to muddy the waters. It was highly unwise for him to have done so, and while I appreciate the fact that Dan is seeking to think through certain concepts as a whole [and yes, I have read his follow-up on his blog] There’s nothing about those tweets that I agree with, or am thankful for.

[Contributed by Dustin Germain]