Opening Our Eyes to Obergefell and Its Effects: A Pastoral, Cultural, and Legal Round-Up

SCOTUSOn June 26, 2015, in a 5–4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in all 50 states. In the hours that have passed, Christians have been praying and wondering aloud what comes next and how we should respond. To aid our collective understanding of the Supreme Court’s decision, I’ve listed dozens of resources under the following headings:

  • The Decision: What Did the Court Decide?
  • On the Pastoral Front: What do we say to our church?
  • On the Cultural Front: What do we say to our neighbor?
  • On the Legal Front: What about religious liberty?

I am so thankful for the men and women who have been reporting and commenting on these issues. May their wise words aid you—as they have me—to think and pray and act with grace and courage for truth in these days. Still before reading any of these posts, let me encourage you to watch this two minute exhortation from Russell Moore, president of the ERLC.

Continue reading

Sermon Audio: Deviation from God’s Design (Romans 1:16-32)

Because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

— Romans 1:25-27 —

After four weeks of considering God’s design for marriage, sex, and gender, I turned to the subject of homosexuality today—a subject that has and is dividing our nation, and one that Scripture addresses with candor and the message of grace.

In today’s message, I argue from Romans 1 that the great problem is not homosexuality but humanity. All who are born ‘in Adam’ are sexual sinners. Idolatry is the chief sin and as a result of this inward deviation, all men and women experience various kinds and degrees of illicit sexual desires.

I fear some Christians have been to quick to dismiss people who experience same sex attraction. Too much of the message has been, “Just change.” To support our cause, many Christians have cherry picked verses to contest homosexuals instead of sharing the full doctrine of humanity and sin, which tells us that all of us have us have sinned, and none of us have natural (read: true and righteous) sexual desires according to the flesh.

As Paul argues in Romans 1, humanity has exchanged the glory of God for the glory created things, therefore God has given the human race over to the lusts of their flesh. As Romans 3:23 concludes, “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.” This is the great problem. Man has suppressed the truth in unrighteousness, because their natural state is not good or righteous. Sexual deviation is the ‘natural’ result of a fallen human condition. Homosexuality—like pornography, fornication, adultery, and divorce—is but one outward expression of this deeper deviation.

I am still grappling with how to state these things, but I pray this message will help you avoid some traps and give you light to better understand what God has said about humanity’s fallen condition. As I state at the front, the message is directed at Christians, but it is also applicable to those non-Christians who are willing to hear how all of us have sinned and how God has provided salvation in Jesus Christ.

Deviation from God’s Design (Romans 1:16-32)

For the rest of the sermons in this series (‘God’s Design for Marriage and Sex’), go to Sermon Audio.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

For Your Edification (6.1.12)

For Your Edification is a (bi)weekly set of resources on the subjects of Bible, Theology, Ministry, and Family Life.  Let me know what you think or if you have other resources that growing Christians should be aware.

BIBLE & THEOLOGY

Dating the Crucifixion.  Joe Carter points to a news report coming from the “International Geology Review” that claims “based on earthquake activity at the Dead Sea near Jerusalem, Jesus was most likely crucified on Friday, April 3, in the year 33.”  Carter’s news clipping reminds us that God’s revelation in Scripture and nature are both infallible, and that this new piece of data gives us plausible evidence confirming what the Bible already declares: “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split” (Matthew 27:51).

Biblical Allusions. Jeffery Leonard has written an SBL article identifying inner-biblical allusions.  In fact, using Psalm 78 as a test-case, he lists eight ways that “shared language” works in the Bible. He also goes one step further to discuss ways to determine how to discern the direction of the influence.  If typology, allusions, and echoes are your thing, I encourage you to check out the article: Identifying Inner-Biblical Allusions: Psalm 78 as a Test Case.

Here are the eight evaluations for considering biblical allusions:

  1. Shared language is the single most importantfactor in establishing a textual connection.
  2. Shared language is more important than nonshared language.
  3. Shared language that is rare or distinctive suggests a stronger connection than does language that is widely used.
  4. Shared phrases suggest a stronger connection than do individual shared terms.
  5. The accumulation of shared language suggests a stronger connection than does a single shared term or phrase.
  6. Shared language in similar contexts suggests a stronger connection than does shared language alone.
  7. Shared language need not be accompanied by shared ideology to establish a connection.
  8. Shared language need not be accompanied by shared form to establish a con­nection.

FAMILY, LIFE, & MINISTRY

Defending Marriage in a Pluralistic Society. Paul Brewster, a pastor in our local association and author of Andrew Fuller: Model Pastor-Theologian, has written a helpful piece on the difficulty and necessity of defending marriage in our contemporary society.  Brewster’s editorial is noteworthy on two accounts: (1) He lives in middle America–Madison, Indiana to be exact–which is not the left coast or a progressive college town.  Rather, it is a small town in the heartland of America, and yet it like every other community in our nation has been affected by increasing demand for marriage anyway you like it. (2) He is a faithful, small church pastor.  It is easy to point to and depend on the Albert Mohler’s, Tim Keller’s, and John Piper’s to speak up publically; however, in truth, it takes all pastors proclaiming the gospel and the Christian worldview for the effect of Christ’s witness to win the lost to Christ and to preserve the culture from moral decay.

May we who pastor smaller churches follow Paul’s lead and contend for a biblical and traditional definition of marriage, and may we hear his admonition to defend God’s design for marriage so that marriage does not become Silly Putty in the hands of fools.

Charles Spurgeon’s Biography.  Here is an hour-long docu-drama retelling the life and labors of Charles Spurgeon.  If you are unfamiliar with this powerful minister’s pulpit ministry, this is a good place to begin.  If you want to know more about Charles Spurgeon, I would encourage you to check out John Piper’s audio biography, Arnold Dallimore’s biography Spurgeon: A New Biographyor his own two-volume autobiography–The Early Years and The Full Harvest.

For Your Edification (5.11.12)

BIBLE

Reading the Bible Through the Jesus Lens.  Here is how Michael Williams explains  the main emphasis of his new book, How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens.   This is one of the books that I am commending for our church to read this summer in our “Summer Biblical Triathlon.”  It looks to be a great resource and help for seeing how all the pieces in the puzzle reveal the face of Jesus Christ.  Take a listen.

THEOLOGY

Ian and Larissa.  Will your view of God sustain you in the face of cancer, heart attack, or brain damage?  The story of Ian and Larissa testifies to the power of a vision of God that sees him as good and glorious in all circumstances.  The book that they reference is called This Momentary Marriageand it is grounded on the singular premise that “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in him” (John Piper), a truth that is wonderfully put on display in John Piper’s book Desiring God.  Ian and Larissa’s story is unique because of what God has given to them–yes, given to them (Phil 1:29)–but it is not unique in the sense that every child of God will be given opportunities to suffer and bring glory to God in the process (cf 2 Cor 1).  The video is worth watching a couple times and will need a box of tissues.

FAMILY, LIFE, & MINISTRY

May 9, 2012: A Dark Day for Marriage. Albert Mohler provides a very helpful podcast analysis of President Obama’s renewed commitment to supporting “gay marriage” in law and in our land.  Mohler is one of many voices who have reacted to our president’s recent announcement.  Below I have included Mohler’s written response, as well as, a number of other faithful responses.

Evolution’s End? President Obama Calls for Same-Sex Marriage by Albert Mohler

Five Reasons Christians Should Continue to Oppose Gay Marriage by Kevin DeYoung

How to Win the Public on Homosexuality by Collin Hanson

Marriage and the Presidency  by Ryan T. Anderson, Robert P. George, and Sherif Girgis

The Blasphemy of Barack Obama by Joe Carter

President Obama, Same-Sex Marriage, and the Future of Evangelical Response by Ed Stetzer


May these resources serve to edify you this weekend and spur you on towards love and good deeds in Jesus Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

For Your Edification (4.30.12)

For Your Edification is a weekly set of resources on the subjects of Bible, Theology, Ministry, and Family Life.  Let me know what you think or if you have other resources that growing Christians should be aware.  

BIBLE

The Case for Adam and Eve. In case you haven’t noticed, the historicity of Adam is once again under attack.  Groups like BioLogos and books like The Evolution of Adam (both of which are led or authored by Peter Enns) have recalled the question of Adam’s historical reality. Since evolution is still a topic promoted in schools and assumed in the media, this is an important discussion.  Thankfully, scholars like C. John Collins have given compelling evidence–biblical and otherwise–to help us see how Adam’s historicity is possible and why it matters.  In this interview, Professor Collins answers some important questions.  See also his recent book, Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?

The Whole Bible For Our Whole Lives. Our Presbyterian brother, Stephen Um interviews Richard Lints, asking him to discuss how biblical theology helps us read the Bible.  For me, reading Lints book,  The Fabric of Theology, was revolutionary.  He introduced me to the idea of reading each passage of Scripture in light of the textual, epochal, and canonical horizons.  In other words, he gave me terminology (which he got from Edmund Clowney) to describe how each text fits into the larger network of texts, chapters, books, and testaments known as the Bible. Every week, when I preach, I am looking to see the “micro-context” (trees) and the “macro-context” (the forest).  Why? Because men like Richard Lints showed me how to read the Bible as one unified story.  I encourage you to listen in on their six minute conversation.

THEOLOGY

The Old Testament and Providence. Kevin DeYoung provides a helpful overview of God’s purposeful providence in the history of Old Testament Israel.  It is a lengthy read, but one that is filled with strong biblical insights.

Jonathan Edwards of Typology. Douglas Wilson (pastor, theologian, author, and all-around literati) and Joe Rigney (Bethlehem College and Seminary) sit down to discuss Jonathan Edwards.  In this video they discuss his spiritual and sometimes speculative view of the two books of God–Scripture and Nature.

Take a look.

FAMILY, LIFE, & MINISTRY

Know Your Evangelicals. Joe Carter has begun to give short bios on evangelicals that every gospel-loving Christian should know.  In the first week, he has highlighted prison minister Charles Colson, cultural warrior Francis Schaeffer, and slave emancipator William Wilberforce.  Another, short book that provides similar information is Warren Wiersbe’s 50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Spiritual Giants of the Faith.

Speaking the Gospel in an Age of Intolerance.  Ron Brown, assistant football coach at Nebraska, has come under fire for his opposition to a recent ammendment to a local ordinance in Omaha, Nebraska.  As the city seeks to add a clause protecting homosexuals, Brown stood up and spoke against it.  He has received great criticism for his stance and may face censure by his employer.  His public witness is bold, but his rationale is what makes the story so important.  As a bondslave to Christ, he wants to be found faithful to his master, and more than seeing homosexuals become heterosexual; he wants unbelievers to trust in Christ. He states,

It is not all about seeing homosexuals become hetereosexuals. This is not the message of the gospel. The gospel is about all types of sinners (like me) who are unbelievers becoming believers. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not discriminatory, it is all inclusive: we are all sinners. I am pretty consistent in talking to all types of people about Christ. This is the thing that encourages me in this whole thing: the gospel of Christ is being presented. God will forgive people. He will give a clean-slate to all who turn from sin and trust in Jesus.

May we all be so bold.