Same Sex Marriage – Women, Children and Religious Freedom?

Following last week’s Supreme Court neglect of responsibility which forced states against their will to redefine marriage into meaninglessness, the overwhelming response of the press has not been objective reporting but wild cheer leading, a celebration of equal rights, good for all Americans. Is that reality?

Today, I’m not going to dissect all these opinions, but rather refer you to thinkers and writers much wiser than I. All four articles below are found at Breakpoint  They are transcripts of the Breakpoint radio program and can be read or heard.

First I refer you to the late Chuck Colson’s insight, Judaism’s Sexual Revolution – Why Judaism Rejected Homosexuality. After you read this link, be sure to read the comment below it  Unbounded Sex is an equal-opportunity destroyer, posted by Ken Reighard.

Second, Colson’s legacy is being carried on by Eric Metaxas (biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer) and John Stonestreet. Check out Metaxas’s analysis, Supreme Inaction on Gay Marriage, What Now? that the legal challenge is not completely over, even though it is “the bottom of the ninth and we’re behind.”

Third, John Stonestreet addresses the double negative impact on religious liberty and doing good for children. The Jealous God of Tolerance – Gay Rights Trump Religious Rights Again?

Fourth, another Stonestreet commentary, The Unseen Pain behind ‘Gay Marriage” – Victims of ‘Happinesss’  For all the stories that compellingly describe gay couples and families, celebrating love and happiness, there is a long list of victims. Julie Darnelle’s story is heart breaking, but not rare. The human suffering caused by the supposed “right to sexual happiness,” will be multiplied by millions as America goes down this road.

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court inaction last week, I posted What Next for the Church? Our Response to Same Sex Marriage.  Then on Sunday, October 12, in the last ten minutes of my sermon, I included points of application related to same sex marriage.  I am in an  expositional series in the letter of 1 John, available the Faith Church website under sermons.

What Next for the Church? Our Response to Same Sex Marriage

June 25, 2014 – a federal judge declared Indiana’s marriage laws unconstitutional, opening the door to the issuance of same sex marriage licenses in Indiana.  Then a stay was issued on the ruling until it could be appealed,

September 4, 2014 – a three judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that laws in Indiana and Wisconsin violate the U.S. Constitution. Again a stay was issued on implementation pending appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

October 6, 2014 – the United States Supreme Court, shocking both sides in the battle, declined to hear appeals from Indiana and four other states, thus letting stand the 7th Circuit’s decision, resulting in the legalization of same sex marriage in Indiana and several other states. Marriage application forms have been amended to accommodate same sex applicants and these so called marriages have resumed.

As I wrote in response to the June 25 ruling, Mourning and Rejoicing, I was not surprised by this ultimate outcome, as the trajectory has been established for several years. I am deeply saddened about it because God’s creation order is being violated and the whole nation will suffer. You don’t need a Bible to have overwhelming evidence that this is unnatural. The damage is incalculable for the nation, for children, ultimately for those who flaunt God’s law as the Scripture declares such persons will not inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:10)  Continue reading “What Next for the Church? Our Response to Same Sex Marriage”

Mourning… and Rejoicing

Dancing in the streets!  Mourning in our hearts!

Historic Day for Indiana – I heard the news yesterday, but reading the headline and the details in the Indianapolis Star this morning made for a sad start to this day.

Predictably, a federal judge in another act of judicial tyranny, declared Indiana’s marriage laws unconstitutional. Laws based on thousands of years of precedent, 238 years of United States precedent, accepted definitions across all national and cultural lines throughout world history, were overthrown by a single federal judge. Oh, he’s not entirely alone as judges like him in other states have done the same, against the will of the people, against the wisdom of history, redefining marriage into virtual meaninglessness. Continue reading “Mourning… and Rejoicing”

Hijacking the Male Brain

Complementary to my earlier post, The Case Against Pornography, I commend the latest from AlbertMohler,com, How Pornography Works:  It Hijacks the Male Brain.  This is a book review of Wired for Intimacy  by William Struthers of Wheaton College.

Why such an emphasis on pornography?

I’ve seen the consuming devastation of it in men’s lives for decades, but in the past ten years, through the internet, with 24 hour access to hand held devices, it seems to be overwhelming the male population and making major inroads among women as well.

Morgan Bennett says that “current pornography use is around 87 percent for young adult males and 31 percent for young adult females, and roughly 50–60 percent of both genders find pornography use ‘acceptable’.”

Christians are not unaffected and the consequences for damaged relationships, broken marriages, general dysfunction, and alienation from God are incalculable. I’m simply sounding the alarm that accompanies a similar culture wide decline in the biblical times of the Judges.

Consider it, take counsel, and speak up! Judges 19:30 NASB 

 How will you battle this killer enemy?  How will you protect your children?  How will you defend the defenseless among us? Ostrich time must end!

The Case Against Pornography

Cocaine?  Heroin? Which drug is the most powerful with the most people addicted? Which does the most harm?

Neither according to two compelling articles by Morgan Bennett in Public Discourse, the online publication of the Witherspoon Institute.  The New Narcotic makes the case that 40 million regular users of online pornography, compared to about 2 million each for cocaine and heroin (less than 1 million hardcore addicts), pornography addicts are 10 times more than the traditional choices.   A companion article, Internet Pornography & the First Amendment, describes the history of applying the first amendment to pornographic and obscene materials.  Both are “must reads” for all adults, though I warn you it won’t be a pleasant experience.

But surely, viewing images on a computer screen won’t do the damage of physically injecting or consuming heroin and cocaine, will it? Continue reading “The Case Against Pornography”

Sex and the Single Person

I recently completed nine weeks of preaching from 1 Corinthians 5-7 Sex in a Broken World, as part of a sequential exposition of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, The Church in a Broken World. Audio sermons of the entire series are available here.

While it may have pushed the limits of acceptability to preach on sex for that long, we certainly weren’t able to cover all of the highly relevant issues about our sexual desires and acceptable expressions and limits.  And even more important, we weren’t able to develop the whole range of who we are as sexual beings made in God’s image for His Glory and our joy. So, I’ll post a few more supplemental items that I hope will be helpful.

The last message in the series was Sex and the Single. And just a couple of days after that sermon, John Piper posted two episodes of his audio series, Ask Pastor John, that are relevant to this theme..

In the second of the two posts, Piper makes these two statements.

        There are glories that can be shown in marriage that can’t be shown in singleness.
        There are glories that can’t be shown in marriage but only in singleness. Continue reading “Sex and the Single Person”

“Common to Man” Temptation

(supplemental  to the current preaching series, Sex in a Broken World, from 1 Corinthians 5-7. Audio sermons available here.)

I memorized this Bible verse in my teen years, No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

The application of this promise is vast, applying to every thing we face. The immediate context of 1 Corinthians 10 includes widespread sexual immorality in Israel, not the only area of sin and temptation, but certainly a “common to man and woman” challenge, and particularly complex today. Continue reading ““Common to Man” Temptation”

Freedom from Pornography

Last Sunday, at Faith Church in Indianapolis, I preached from 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, My Body – God’s Temple, a primary passage on the call to moral and sexual purity.  By far the most common form of sexual impurity today is pornography, made easily accessible and secret due to the internet. Estimates of the men affected by porn, and increasingly women too, is truly frightening.  This includes professing believers in Jesus Christ. My concern is that a sermon like this, while it may be convicting at the time, unless specific action is taken, the conviction will ease and no change will take place.

Therefore, I want to do all I can to keep this issue before you and call you to confess your involvement and develop a battle plan to deal with it.  A new resource coming out his month is a book by Heath Lambert, Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace   This book, not yet for sale, will be available soon, but what we do have is an Interview with the author, and a couple of great posts about it by Tony Reinke.  So please listen to the interview and check out Porn, Pride and Praise and 20 Quotes from Finally Free.

Washed and Waiting – Wesley Hill

In the midst of all the angry rhetoric over Homosexuality and issues related to the GLBTQIA world, there have been plenty of unhelpful attitudes and false accusations on both sides. In the midst of these discussions, I am most concerned personally that we follow the model of Jesus, “full of grace and truth.”

I see many people compromising or abandoning the truth of Scripture.  But some of us are needing to repent and grow a ton on the grace side of things. Wherever you tend to err, don’t be a boomerang and leave one error to embrace the opposite error.

Those that may be the most marginalized in this discussion are sincere believers in Jesus Christ who deal with the curse of same sex attraction.  Whatever the cause, if a cause can even be identified, these are brothers and sisters who accept the Bible’s teaching about homosexuality, that homosexual behavior is forbidden, that they are committed to celibacy, thus not acting out their desires.  But for many, the desire is still there.  They may experience enough healing to successfully enter a heterosexual marriage.  For others, that has not been possible, and their only biblical option is celibacy.

One such person is Wesley Hill, whom I heard speak last winter at a conference.  I commend his book, Washed and Waiting, Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality. Zondervan, 2010  As with all resources I recommend, it is never an endorsement of all that is written or said.

Boy Scouts of America and Sponsoring Groups

East 91st Street Christian Church to cut ties with Boy Scouts over allowing gay youths. July 25, 2013

Heritage Christian School to end charter with Boy Scout group over gay issue. July 25, 2013

3rd Indianapolis-area Baptist church cuts ties with its Boy Scouts troop over move to allow gay youth. July 12, 2013

Southeastside church cuts affiliation with Cub Scout pack over vote to allow gay youth. July 11, 2013

These are all Indianapolis Star headlines in July, the painful decision of churches and schools to end what in some cases, has been a very long relationship with the BSA.

What troubles me about this is the impression that these organizations are turning away little kids over a “political viewpoint” instead of being loving and accepting of all children after the model of Jesus, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Matthew 19:14 Continue reading “Boy Scouts of America and Sponsoring Groups”