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Zero sum game again: Don't bargain with Cthulhu

Let's see: We've had a bishop in Quebec who utterly refuses to support Catholics trying to get out of teaching material that pushes homosexuality and religious relativism. (He thinks we should wait around and see whether any actual harm comes from teaching the curriculum.) We also had the Catholic Church's representatives in Scotland apparently supporting "hate speech" legislation with specific reference to homosexuality and then shocked, shocked to find it being used to criminalize the statement of Christian moral teaching.

Now a show-down is brewing in Ontario concerning totalitarian legislation against Catholic high schools under the aegis of "anti-bullying." We discussed it already a bit back in April in a thread about the dangers of accepting public funding. The Catholic bishops in Ontario gave in on setting up clubs specifically for self-identified homosexual students in their Catholic high schools, gave in on the government rule that such clubs may not be used for purposes of turning allegedly "gay" young people away from homosexuality, and then tried to draw a line in the sand on the name of the clubs, insisting that the Catholic high schools be allowed to call them "Respecting Difference" clubs (oh, yah, there's a name that upholds Christian moral teaching) rather than "Gay-Straight Alliance" clubs. And now the Ontario government is planning to nix that symbolic gesture as well and is insisting that Catholic schools not be allowed to teach that homosexuality is objectively disordered. The bishops are prepared to go to court to fight against calling the clubs "gay-straight alliances." We will assume that they intend to continue teaching that homosexuality is objectively disordered. I have been able to find no word on whether, somewhere along the line in all of this, the schools gave up their right to discipline students for actual fornication, whether hetero- or homosexual.

When will Christian leaders learn? When? We seem to have the "harmless as doves" part down pretty good, but the "wise as serpents" part, not so much. You cannot compromise with the devil. You cannot bargain with him. You cannot give him an inch, stick your head back in the sand, and hope he'll go away and leave you alone. It never, never, never works.

What was needed were leaders who said this: "It is part of our Christian teaching that homosexual desires are objectively disordered and all homosexual acts are gravely immoral. In the tragic event that a young person experiences the disorder of same-sex attraction, this is not a matter for public discussion but should be kept private among that person, his parents, and his spiritual advisers. We refuse to participate in giving the cultural impression that same-sex attraction is to be publicly proclaimed, much less celebrated. We refuse to participate in the cultural movement that encourages people to claim such disordered desires as an essential part of their personal identity. We particularly believe such encouragement to be terribly harmful, indeed, a grave scandal, for young people in their sexually formative years, and we will have no part of it. We also insist on keeping high moral standards in our distinctively Catholic institutions; students can be disciplined for engaging in any non-marital sexual acts. Setting up a club specifically for self-identified homosexual students would send a message inconsistent with our schools' behavioral standards. For all these reasons, we refuse to set up such clubs in our schools, even if that means that we will suffer penalties for our refusal."

But I suppose that's asking too much, right?

To be quite fair, this matter of offering a compromise and hoping that will be the end of the demands is not merely a Catholic problem, not by any means. Those who followed the esoteric APA battle will know that David Hoekema of Calvin College insisted that a couple of decades ago, when the APA added "sexual orientation" to its non-discrimination statement, he believed the matter would stop there, because Christian schools could still discriminate on the basis of actual homosexual acts. Fast-forward twenty years and we were being told that, by blocking ads from schools that did what Hoekema thought they were allowed to do, the APA was "merely enforcing the policy on the books." The act-orientation distinction was ridiculed as homophobic nonsense. So much for compromise.

There are more recent rumblings in the world of evangelical institutions, even those that are trying to hold the line. Biola University has a (doubtless well-intentioned) professor named Matt Jenson who last year lectured in college chapel on the importance of "living as family" to "gay people," whatever that means, exactly. (And yes, I've watched large swathes of the sermon.) Apparently it is supposed to include taking a pretty lengthy hiatus from "so much as saying a word" about Biblical "imperatives" against homosexual acts (see minute 30-31). I plan to write more about Jenson's sermon in a later entry.

Biola is presently being hit with attempted psychological blackmail by a group of anonymous homosexual Biola students who allege that they live in trembling fear in the closet. This group's evident purpose is to undermine the school's position on sexual morality. Group members are made "hopeful" that the school will eventually "come around" by increasing support in America for same-sex "marriage." And their idea of hate mail includes this moderately-worded statement:

“If you embrace the lifestyle, you are at odds with God and scripture, and it is extremely doubtful that you are a Christian.”
While, to the credit of school leaders, Biola continues to affirm that homosexual acts are immoral, there is this vaguely ominous footnote to the story:

School officials already are looking ahead to next year, when Biola celebrates its 105th anniversary, and they said plans are in the works to facilitate an “ongoing conversation” with students about homosexuality.

Just don't do it, guys. Don't have an ongoing conversation. Never, never try to bargain with Cthulhu.

Comments (65)

And the serpent said to the woman, "You certainly will not die!"

When will Christian leaders learn? When? We seem to have the "harmless as doves" part down pretty good, but the "wise as serpents" part, not so much. You cannot compromise with the devil. You cannot bargain with him. You cannot give him an inch, stick your head back in the sand, and hope he'll go away and leave you alone. It never, never, never works.

One would think that conservative Christians would notice that where you see one of these habits, you almost invariably find a "Christian leader" whose views would disorder society in many ways of enacted. For example, you will find that virtually every leader who supports "tolerance and acceptance" on this issue also supports the welfare state without regard for the proven social and spiritual problems it creates. Many will also talk about "protecting marriage," while supporting a view of divorce that is inimical to its preservation.

Of course, many Christians fool themselves into thinking that they can straddle the line by carving out pieces they like from the devil's agenda and the Lord will anoint those things if we ask for His blessing.

Despite their pretenses, these fools are not harmless as doves. No fool is.

If the administrators of BIOLA U. have any brains, they will conduct an investigation of the student body to root out the queers, before they start to gain an open following on the campus. If they fail to do this, by the time the lavender sect emerges from the shadows, it will be too late to stop them. Because by that time, the Bent BIOLAIANS will have the support of liberal and leftist groups off campus and the government that will make it very hard or impossible to remove them.

I would not be surprised if the "anonymous" group is filled with students who aren't all _that_ anonymous. To my mind the easiest way to deal with such a problem is to put a line in one's student handbook that says that it is a form of misconduct to _advocate_ sexual immorality. I know of another Christian school that has such a line, though unfortunately the school quite evidently does not enforce it. That line makes it possible to exercise discipline against students who actually are trying to undermine a Christian school's moral teachings. A student of any sexual "orientation" who opposed the school's moral stance, advocated homosexual "marriage," or anything of the kind, could be disciplined. If things are as I fear they are, I would guess that members of this so-called "underground" group are advocating immorality in classes and in group discussions and therefore would fall under such a rule.

Crandall University, a fine Baptist liberal arts college in Moncton, New Brunswick, is experiencing a similar threat from the sodomites. Crandall is in the Dominion of Canada. I hold little hope that they can prevail in resisting the pressure to accommodate the homosexuals.
Biola could resist and succeed in running the pro-sodomite crowd out of their fine school. Let us pray that the Biola administration discerns how they should proceed.

Thus far American law tends in most jurisdictions to support religious exceptions to "sexual orientation non-discrimination" laws. Not in all jurisdictions. (Boston comes to mind as a jurisdiction that insisted that Catholic adoption agencies place children with homosexuals.) I would guess that for the moment Biola has full legal authority to expel students and professors who try actively to undermine its moral positions. This may well not be the case for Crandall because of the more extreme leftism usually found in Canadian law. The greatest question for Biola will be the will to get tough. The problem with an agreement to an "ongoing conversation" is that it _sounds_ like it is saying that students and professors will be permitted without penalty openly to oppose and attempt to undermine the school's moral position. That's "dialogue," right?

I have a Biolan Facebook Friend who thinks the fact that the Biola Queer Underground being "pro-abstinence" somehow mitigates their sin.

If they think there's something good about increasing support for homosexual "marriage" (as the article implies) then they are not "pro-abstinence."

Let's not be stupid: These are people _actively_ trying to undermine the idea that homosexual attraction is objectively disordered and that homosexual acts are gravely immoral. There's not the slightest doubt of that. If in the process they occasionally find it useful deliberately to blur the act-orientation distinction, or even deceive, we just still shouldn't be stupid. The media is not writing about a group whose goal is to _uphold_ Biola's moral teaching while seeking counsel about their disordered desires.

And students who were pro-abstinence would applaud rather than deploring the message which is characterized in the article as an example of "hatred." Here's what it said, again:

“If you embrace the lifestyle, you are at odds with God and scripture, and it is extremely doubtful that you are a Christian.”

Here, from the horse's mouth (i.e., the group's own web site): (Emphasis added)

The recently published policy, eighteen months in the making, did not bring change except to make it clearer that Biola views “any acts of sexual intimacy between two persons of the same sex as an illegitimate moral option for the confessing Christian.” It did not even attempt to address those with transgender or other non-conforming gender identities. Nor did it speak to the consequences for those who do not view their own or other’s homosexuality as “a struggle to maintain sexual purity.”
However, unless LGBTQ students who don’t view homosexuality or transgender identity as sinful are allowed to speak openly without threat, this conversation will continue to be one–sided. Without inviting Christians speakers who have a different view of homosexuality, fruitful dialogue will not happen. In the past, your monologues on homosexuality have not been good or fair to us. We understand your interpretation of scripture; please hear ours.
While we know that the traditional understanding of homosexuality is the school’s stance, will supportive Christian representatives who don’t believe the Bible condemns monogamous homosexual marriages be invited to speak at Biola?
Will openly LGBTQ students who have “same-sex behaviors, same-sex attraction, and/or sexual orientation issues,” or those identifying as transgender or queer be included in these conversations? Will our voices continue to be silenced due to the fear of rejection and expulsion?
How will the university respond to those who are openly in same-sex relationships or are in the process of transitioning between sexes?

Anyone who thinks this is a "pro-abstinence group" is either stupid or uninformed.

The Roman Catholic Church hands out annulments like candy despite the clear admonitions of Scripture (Matthew 5:32, Luke 16:18, Mattthew 19:9) that to divorce is to commit adultery. They chose to bless Newt Gingrich's third marriage to his mistress. They weren't pressured to, they CHOSE to.

Further, the Roman Catholic Church has coddled pedophiles at the INSTITUTIONAL level for decades, perhaps longer. While pedophilia is a problem within the population at large, the protecting of pedophiles is uniquely Catholic.

The RCC is led by pampered men who live amidst wealth and splendor even as they lecture the poorest of the poor about contraception and its "intrinsic" evil.

Sorry, but the RCC has no moral credibility. NONE.

And here:

Surprisingly, some people have been unclear as to what we think about being both LGBTQ and Christian. To clear up this issue, we are in favor of celebrating homosexual behavior in its proper context: marriage. We do NOT believe that being gay or queer is a sin, whether in a relationship or otherwise. We do NOT believe that "acting upon" homosexual desires for intimacy in a loving marital relationship is wrong.


James Bradshaw, wide-ranging and pointless anti-Catholic comments are not welcome. Bag it.

One would think that conservative Christians would notice that where you see one of these habits, you almost invariably find a "Christian leader" whose views would disorder society in many ways of enacted. For example, you will find that virtually every leader who supports "tolerance and acceptance" on this issue also supports the welfare state without regard for the proven social and spiritual problems it creates. Many will also talk about "protecting marriage," while supporting a view of divorce that is inimical to its preservation.

Mike T, in an unfortunate indictment of the Catholic Bishops in the US, very few of them qualify sin simple terms as "conservative Christian leader." Many of the men who are called "conservative bishops" are conservative in comparison to the flaming liberal bishops, like Rembert Weakland and Roger Mahoney, but not conservative in absolute terms at all. The picture is a little better now than it was in, say 1994 (when all but 2 American bishops abolished their boys-only altar boy systems) but only by maybe one order of magnitude: maybe 20 bishops are conservative in a principled manner, and even that many is probably a stretch (i.e. that's not a conservative estimate).

"Dialogue" is almost always a one way street nowadays. I await with eagerness (not that I think it's coming, at least in my lifetime) the day when Christians demand the right to 'dialogue' with LGBSA style groups, insisting that they amend their organization to recognize the desires of some homosexuals to not act on their sexual desires, or who regard sodomy as immoral.

At least there's finally been some spine in America lately, but I'm really sick of these bishops who seem to act largely out of a fear that, if they uphold Church teaching, they'll take political heat and won't be treated with respect by dissenters anymore.

So is their claim that monogomous homosexual unions/marriages are not condemned by the Bible unreasonable? I think it's an arrangement not even considered in the NT, much less condemned.

The Catholic response is that even if these acts are not condemned by scripture per se, they are taught to be sin by the Church authorized by the Bible to decide such things. Therefore, they are sins, period.

Evangelicals, by inviting personal interpretation of scripture, open these doors that sew confusion.

This is one of the truly damaging effects of the entire same-sex marriage discussion. Souls are being endangered chasing a perceived loophole.

(And as for the Catholic baiting comments upstream, please understand the difference between human administrators and the teachings of the Church. We don't reject F = ma because some scientists have organized terrible things.)

"Evangelicals, by inviting personal interpretation of scripture, open these doors that sew confusion."

If we know that sweeping anti-Catholic comments are not welcome here, Desmond, then perhaps we ought to refrain from sweeping anti-evangelical comments as well.

Apologies, Michael. That statement was not meant as anti-evangelical at all. I just take it as pretty well understood that personal readings of scripture (heck, of any text for that matter--ever try playing role-playing games without rules arguments!) lead to varying understandings. Didn't realize that was controversial.

Sorry for my misunderstandings, which are many and include how to use the word sow.

To suggest that the utterly unambiguous, sweeping, and repeated (both OT and NT) biblical condemnation of homosexual acts can somehow be finessed by the fact that the Bible does not explicitly consider the recently conceived perverse category of so-called homosexual "marriage" is like suggesting that Jesus' condemnation of looking on a woman to lust after her may not apply to p*rn*graphic videos, which did not exist at the time. Or that the statement, "Thou shalt not steal" does not apply to high-tech embezzlement, which is not explicitly considered and is more complex than taking one's neighbor's cow. You can make up your own examples ad lib. Sophistry is sophistry. The abuse of clear Scriptural teaching is what it is. Christians of all denominations can recognize this and only harm their own minds if they refuse to do so.

“If you embrace the lifestyle, you are at odds with God and scripture, and it is extremely doubtful that you are a Christian.”

I have to agree that this is hate mail. If they had only stopped at "at odds with God and scripture." Surely,we are not calling into question the validity either of someone's baptism or belief in the Nicene Creed. Thank God we have a way to be reconciled to God after we commit mortal sins (though let's pray we won't commit them).

It is hateful to say that a person is probably not Christian based on their sins or a propensity to sin. There is a way, ultimately a loving way, to remove someone from the Christian community because of persistent and obstinate sin and resistance to truth via excommunication. Maybe it could be seen in the fullness of the letter (I doubt this) but that sentence does not show Christian love.

FWIW, I'm aware Biola is Protestant.

"Embrace the lifestyle" _means_ "persistent and obstinate sin and resistance to truth." I'm sorry if this sounds too "Protestant," but Our Lord clearly said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." St. James said the same. Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

If a man says "Lord, Lord" and obstinately and gleefully refuses to keep God's commandments while at the same time perverting Scripture and arguing that what he is doing is not sin, I agree with the letter writer: It is extremely doubtful that that man is a Christian in any meaningful sense whatsoever. To say that someone is automatically a Christian if he has been baptized and claims to believe the Apostles' or Nicene Creed despite blatant, on-going, unrepentant sin which he attempts to normalize is simply to reduce "being a Christian" to something extremely arid. To put it mildly. In fact, such a reductionistic view of Christian faith is exactly the sort of thing James was writing against throughout his epistle.

I think that it _does_ show Christian love not to continue to participate in this fiction that people such as those who wrote the above quotations from "Biola Queer Underground" are "our brothers and sisters in Christ" are "gay Christians" who are "part of the family." To do so only plays into their hands and lets them proceed unchallenged in their self-deception and in their belief that their souls are not in peril. That fiction is, moreover, unloving to those who might be confused by their teaching. These people are wolves who scarcely even bother to wear sheep's clothing. They are attempting by sheer emotional arm-twisting to elicit sympathy and to get their lifestyle accepted.


Completely agree that any belief that "embracing the lifestyle" should be challenged.

To perhaps take what you said out of context, it is true that a Christianity which does so embrace is arid at best and departs far from the truth and from God's love.

To say that they are not Christians, even in their aridity, I say again is hateful.

"A bruised reed he will not break"

To mix metaphors, let's bring them home, in the fullness of truth and love.

No, sorry. We need to be clear and precise. _Since_ it is not true in the relevant sense for the purpose of such a discussion that a person "living the lifestyle" is "a Christian" if and only if he's been validly baptized and claims to believe the Nicene Creed, it is not _loving_ to subordinate truth to niceness. That is not speaking the "fullness of truth." Part of the problem with our day and age is that love is equated with not hurting people's feelings. The term "Christian" is not some sort of compliment that we need to find some way or other to apply to people because we're afraid of being insulting if we refuse to apply it. It's absolutely astonishing that you, who appear to understand the moral issue to some extent at least, would literally say that it is "hateful" to call someone's Christianity into question in the light of that person's persistent and defiant sin. To my mind it simply illustrates the way that the word "hateful" is overused in our society and that people learn to overuse it.

M.Bauman: Despite their pretenses, these fools are not harmless as doves. No fool is.


The primary fact about a 'fool' is not stupidity, nor even non-wisdom; rather, it is intellectual dishonesty. To claim that another is a 'fool' is to assert a moral judgment about that person, namely that he lacks intellectual integrity, that he is intellectually dishonest, that he is a hypocrite with respect to reason. That is, that he is worse than a liar; for a mere liar lies episodically, whereas a fool lies systematically. A mere liar lies about some fact, but a fool lies about the nature of truth itself.

Anyone who [says] this is a "pro-abstinence group" is either stupid or uninformed ... or intellectually dishonest.

To say that they are not Christians, even in their aridity, I say again is hateful.

To call such a statement hateful is to abuse the definition of hate. You are implying that Lydia's belief that they fail to meet requisite characteristics of being a Christian is a form of actually despising them as people. That isn't even remotely logically sound. By that logic, my wife hates her bird because she refuses to call him a person because while parrots have form of true sentience (hers is equivalent in intelligence and self-awareness to a 2 year old), the bird has no soul.

To further add to the analogy, that would be in direct contradiction to the observation that my wife demonstrates love toward her bird and that Lydia demonstrates Christian love toward these individuals by gently, but firmly, rebuking their heresy.

Syl, whether or not a baptized person who confesses the Creed, but who also willfully embraces a sinful lifestyle, can be properly considered a Christian is a question of theology. Biola has its theology and its letter is consistent with that. It may be wrong, but it isn't hateful.

Actually, I believe it may have been an e-mail or other message, possibly anonymous, from someone responding to the group's web site. I doubt, to be honest, that anyone in an official capacity at Biola would be willing to say something that...forthright.

Somebody needs to make a comment about the Canadian Catholic high schools. What's going to happen now that they have to fight in court anyway? Am I right that they should have refused to set up explicitly homosexual clubs in the first place? Can they (I don't know the answer to this, though I've tried to find out) ultimately gain some independence from these insane rules by refusing government funding? (Perhaps if any reader knows how education works in Ontario he can answer this.)

I can help on the first question:

Am I right that they should have refused to set up explicitly homosexual clubs in the first place?

Absolutely right.

Don't know on the second.

My small, church-affiliated university approved a gsa in the Fall 2011. I took all of 90 days for it to be recognized as the student organization of the month, for...for...for? Well, we never found out.

Several of us got together privately to discuss the email announcement, made by the faculty sponsor who said, basically, that some Christian denominations think badly of homosexuality but some also think nothing of it and even celebrate it, so because of that there is no authentic reason to think that there isn't room for the gsa and dialog, no one's beliefs intending to be stepped on, respectfully.

What we decided was that the university was abdicating from its mission to lead students in their moral lives and what had been done was a great disservice to the young people who were under our tutelage. A letter was sent to the president, a puff of smoke came back.

Since its inception, the gsa has become involved with, and brought to campus, increasingly hard-core homosexual organizations for "dialogue", held in the university chapel, no less. I have not attended those meetings because I already know what their dialogue is about - not change, but recruitment.

What will the next academic year bring? Probably more of the same, even morely more of the same.

I am getting old but my position is this. Homosexuality corrupts everything it touches, whether that be at the personal or all the way up to state level. It is a poison to human beings and human life & culture, no less than any other poison and greater than most. It cannot be turned beautiful no matter how much lipstick and powder is put on it, nor cannot it be made good despite whatever ostensibly upright institutions can be fooled into accepting and promoting it.

To go along with the gag, whatever it is called - gay rights, anti-bullying, equally - means no less for the future than dumping a bucket of radioactive waste wherever the gaggers point.

I do want to say, as a reason for kudos to Biola, that it apparently recently turned down a request for a GSA at Biola. I learn this from the page of the "Biola Queer Underground," which has a F.A.Q. asking whether their group's formation and web page is a response to the recent rejection of a GSA proposal. They assure the reader that their group is not the group that made that request. Great. So there are multiple groups pressuring this school.

To suggest that the utterly unambiguous, sweeping, and repeated (both OT and NT) biblical condemnation of homosexual acts can somehow be finessed by the fact that the Bible does not explicitly consider the recently conceived perverse category of so-called homosexual "marriage" is like suggesting that Jesus' condemnation of looking on a woman to lust after her may not apply to p*rn*graphic videos, which did not exist at the time.

The Bible condemns lust and theft, therefore it also condemns lust and theft made possible through today's tech, as the use of tech to lust and steal does not fundamentally change the acts.

The Bible condemns all types of non-marital sex, therefore it would also condemn non-marital sex made possible through today's tech (such as sex with robots or aliens or holograms or Cthulhu), as the use of tech to have non-marital sex does not fundamentally change the act.

However, the Bible does not condemn sex within marriage and neither does it define marriage. Therefore, the new concept of homosexual marriage leaves us with an ambiguity that lust and theft do not permit. (There is no insitution within which lust and theft are permissible, whereas there is an institution within which sex is permissible.)

Look--I don't believe this argument. I fully applaud the first half of your OP and agree with Alphonsus's 7:02 post. My point is not that these people are correct, only that, given Biola's approach to theology, their argument is a reasonable one to present.

In fact, Biola's approach to theology invites these sorts of discussions and promotes these misunderstandings. Where is their teaching on the nature of marriage? If it were clear to these people that homosexual marriage is not possible, then this issue could not be raised.


Using Desmond's argument, it would be easier to justify acts of pedophilia than gay marriage because I cannot think of a single instance where adult-child sex is condemned by name rather than understood implicitly as a sexual perversion. This is part of the problem with the Protestant "if it's not the in Bible, God must not have an opinion on it" attitude. It should be obvious that anything related to homosexuality would be condemned by virtue of the core act of gay sex being condemned; likewise, no one should need the Bible to specifically name pedophilia to know that it is a sexual perversion. Unfortunately, there are many who use the limited liberty of conscience the Bible provides to open the door to moral relativism.


Gay sex is specifically called an abomination. "Gay marriage" would no more make it licit than putting lipstick on a pig would make the swine a model.

Desmond, it's perfectly clear to a large percentage of people at Biola that homosexual "marriage" is not possible. The BQU is a minority trying to make trouble.

I really do not think it does _anyone_ from _any_ portion of Christendom any good to pretend that the Bible is unclear where it is perfectly clear. Catholic teaching is supposed to be closely related to biblical teaching. It does not behoove Catholics to be obscuring the teaching of Scripture where it is crystalline. I realize it is a game that is sometimes played in order to argue for the need for a magisterium and to show the alleged helplessness of Protestants in the face of new challenges. Not only is this thread not the place for that argument _generally_, it is in particular a poor and ill-chosen place to try to make that argument since homosexual acts are indeed so clearly condemned in the Bible. Hence, the smallest amount of logic shows us that a relationship that is based on the plan to have and indeed to celebrate those very acts cannot possibly make the acts themselves morally unobjectionable. End of story. I'm sorry, Desmond, but this particular attempt at Catholic evangelism is simply making it look like Catholics try to score points for the magisterium by pretending that Scripture is unclear even where it is very clear. That is _hardly_ what is needed on the homosexuality issue, and not at this time, of all times. Stop fiddling while Rome burns. You have Scripture on your side. Don't throw that away.

To say that they are not Christians, even in their aridity, I say again is hateful.

It isn't aridity. You are misusing that expression. They have willfully turned their back on the clear meaning of Scripture and 1900+ years of every moral theologian and preacher of Christianity.

It is one thing to sin over and over again out of weakness. Alcoholics do that all the time. It is another thing altogether to do so calling the sin "good". That's no longer a sin of weakness, that's truly turning your back on the Gospel.

Now, there are lots of us who turn our backs on the Gospel about little things, or for short moments, and then stop short and repent of our evil. This isn't any deep-seated hatred of some teaching of the Church. Those who have a truly deep-seated repudiation of a clear teaching of Christianity are what is usually understood as "heretic". And in a certain sense (incomplete, but valid within that qualification) a heretic is outside the Church, outside of Christianity. Because they have put themselves there.

What will happen at the end of time when Christ comes a-judging? Some of these, the ones who die in the midst of their sins, Christ will say of them: begone from me, I know ye NOT. Why? Because they have nothing of the spark of the Holy Spirit in them, because they repudiated Christ when they repudiated his word. Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. and Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. He will recognize His own, and those who repudiate his word will not be His own.

Be that as it may, I don't find it necessary here and now to say of these people "you are not even Christian", because it is sufficient for present purposes to say instead "you fail at being good Christians."

Finally, let's remember something: the ability of those caught in vice to recognize the truth is just as impaired as the ability of those with gravely damaged eyesight to recognize the fullness of beauty. To intellectually adhere to the disorder as if it were good is as much due to the sin warping the will (and the will urging the intellect away from the evidence) as it is to the disorder warping the affective powers. The fact that most of these people "cannot" see the truth of how horrid the disorder is, doesn't mean that the truth isn't manifest in its own right, and manifest to everyone who has their heads affixed right.

I listened to the Jensen sermon for the first time just now, and I really have a problem with his advice to those who are 18-22 years old. That is the first rule of communication: consider your audience. There is a lot of truth to what he says to then extent that ministering to broken people involves not being judgmental and such. But for 18-22 yer olds who are solidly into their parent-planned extended adolescence? Um, no. His sermon might make sense for a homosexual outreach team, but for the crowd he is addressing? No. What are they hearing from this? That homosexuality isn't that big of a deal. He talks about people that are "so broken." Well there are people horribly broken. And should those people be befriended and counseled by 18 year olds? Not likely for the sake of either. Either.

A more mature crowd who knows who they are and what's what, and have gotten over whatever revulsion normal folks have for homosexual behavior while still understanding the wrong and terrible harm it does to those in its grip (whether practicing anything or not) it makes much more sense. If I were a Biola parent I'd want to know when Jensen was going to be fired for his poor judgement, and tell them I'm withdrawing my student and expecting a refund while waiting for an answer. They'd probably think I was bluffing, but then none of this would ever happen anyway since I would never have sent my child to Biola for a blissful extended adolescence to begin with. And even if I did I wouldn't be backed into the corner where Biola was my best option because I'd understand my options as they truly are to begin with. The sooner the ed bubble pops the better in my view and people see the options that modern life for all its problems provides to the knowledge seeker. Higher ed has jumped the shark in my view. But I digress.

Look, part of doing things against nature is that people are repulsed by it. Part of being a mature Christian, which includes being a mature person, is to have those who are able overcome such things --without being seduced by it-- for the greater good to do so for the benefit of those who are trapped in these circumstances. Maybe Jensen's advice makes sense for that crowd even up to the point of not "so much as saying a word." Maybe not, but for the sake of argument at least let's say yes. But even if so the problem is that if you really can't even "say a word" then there has been a capitulation to the agenda to begin with (the poor folk now don't even know they aren't normal) and in my view Jensen is inviting us to enter a vicious cycle. Namely, where we average people (not necessarily mature, mature Christian, or otherwise displaying wisdom) can no longer navigate the classic way of "loving the sinner while hating the sin," and most just accept the sin as no so bad normatively and existentially (as opposed to theologically, where it arguably isn't any worse than cutting class.) Because the immature and innocent are by definition less than all of wise, mature, mature Christian, and maybe even gifted in certain ways. Jensen would have the unwise and immature act as if they were *always* a) mature Christians (and persons); b) in a special calling; c) in a certain special delicate situation calling for the tender expressions of acceptance. This is absurd. It is a pitiless strategy and leaves the weakest among us vulnerable on all sides. It happens that most of our culture is none of those things, and this includes the weak and the innocent. No culture has ever been different. The vast majority are not mature/Christian/wise and they look to the supposed wise such as Jensen to know what is acceptable and not. But not to worry, the poor folks will just accept homosexuality as normal, which at least is doable for them. Acceptance is good. Culture 1, Christianity 0.

Call me cynical, but it is hard to escape the feeling that Jensen knows this. No matter, it is profoundly misguided and dangerous at very best. His view of Christianity seems to be to accept the most harmful and illicit behavior and hope to talk people out of it sometime before they die. Or not, because at least they'll feel accepted all the while. Or not, because they won't be able to stand "so much as a word" because of the initial acceptance anyway. It's a vicious cycle. His view is all too common, alas.

However, the Bible does not condemn sex within marriage and neither does it define marriage. Therefore, the new concept of homosexual marriage leaves us with an ambiguity that lust and theft do not permit.

The above isn't ignorance, it's dishonesty. The Bible does, indeed, define marriage.

Yet, even if it didn't, *everyone* know, and has always known, what it is and what the term means.

Yeah, and the Bible condemns the act of "a man laying down with a man as with a woman". Since that isn't a condemnation with respect to "not being married", the condemnation applies to the act regardless of marital state. For example, it condemns the act EQUALLLY AND ON THE SAME BASIS whether one or both of them or neither of them happen to be married to women - which is not how the Mosaic Law condemns fornication and adultery. Those acts it separates out and condemns on separate basis. So, yes, the claim is just dishonest about the Bible.

Mark, I think you're definitely right that Jenson's sermon conveys a number of misimpressions. I'm going to put up a post about it later today. I would say it contains outright incorrect theology, which is a sad irony, as he is a theology professor.

I think Jensen uses theology to rationalize his politics. He was at the forefront of the Jesus mural cabal who thought a whitish Jesus (modeled after a Russian Jew but faded in the sun) was offensive to minorities. That whole "discussion" was a divisive farce that pleased no one.

BTW, in that mural "discussion" minority students who objected to the mural we were supposed to listened to, while those minority students who thought there was no problem with a historically accurate mural of Jesus on campus weren't as eagerly listened to. Pure politics.

Mark, I'm afraid the utter silliness concerning that mural and the amount of time the administration and others (including faculty like Jenson) were willing to put into such a ridiculous thing is one of the reasons that I am worried about the spine of the school in response to this attack by the homosexual lobby. I have tried in the post that I just put up (which I hope you will appreciate) to be as charitable to Matt Jenson as possible, but what you say doesn't really surprise me very much. There is a new breed of evangelicals out there whose goal seems to be to cede as much ground to an attacking enemy as possible in an attempt to make them like us. Presumably the hope is that if they like us and see what nice guys we are they will spontaneously turn their lives around even though we were telling them that our acceptance of them, even our acceptance of them as "Christian brothers," was in no way conditional on their even attempting to turn their lives around!

This is connected with the self-deceptive movement to so-called "post-partisan evangelicalism," which is of course nothing but lightly warmed-over moderate leftist politics coupled with a deliberate de-emphasis on any issue that could be regarded as "right," such as abortion and resistance to the homosexual agenda. Perhaps it is uncharitable of me to guess that Jenson is associated with that trend, but both the sermon and what you say about the utterly stupid mural discussion do tend to confirm such a guess.

As far as the spine of the school, I'll bet you that if you went to school there you'd probably think the spine is pretty solid based on those you know personally and you'd see the mural thing (as my example here) as a loud vocal minority. It probably is. So the spine of the average person is likely pretty good. But on the other hand, the leadership is an open question. It isn't an accident that the mural fiasco happened after leadership changed.

I guess it is my hobby horse as a midwestern son of prairie farmers, and avid student of American history, but I can never think that the typical modern Christian understanding of their duty to follow authority is sound, or even informed by past Christian Americans. My perception of the Christian perspective that I've seen since coming to faith as an adult is that their ideal of obedience to authority leans towards the obsequious variety. I have the same objections with them over the honor we owe to those in authority. My view is it is pretty minimal, and it seems to me Christ never went beyond the minimum in action at best. I just marvel sometimes at how few people know what an honor culture is, how badly they've gone historically, and what Christian principles might have to say about it. Unfortunately, there is always a price to be paid for bad theology.

I have little doubt that in one day if the right thinking students or staff pushed back vigorously about any action they strongly disagreed with the leadership would have to back down. But they know their community, and that they'd never even consider doing such a thing. They'd talk among themselves about how wrong and unjust something is and do nothing for fear of being seen as disobedient, one of the worst things they think a Christian can be. Wise as serpents . . . FAIL. If you didn't know, you could never guess that the ancestors of these folks organized the Boston Tea Party. So on the spine thing I'd say it all depends on what the leadership wants to do because of how I see the social aspects I described, right or wrong. In any case I wouldn't sidetrack the discussion by arguing any of that.

There is a new breed of evangelicals out there whose goal seems to be to cede as much ground to an attacking enemy as possible in an attempt to make them like us.

That wouldn't be what is pointed out in this discussion, would it?

Good connection. I think the two phenomena _are_ connected but that the one appears to be more philosophical while the other (which I was thinking of here) is more overtly political. In particular, there is a lot of talk now in the evangelical community about being "post-partisan," which usually means trying as hard as possible not to look like the "religious right," which in practice means looking like the moderate religious left--up-playing so-called "social justice," downplaying abortion, and being...as accommodating and nice-sounding as one can bring oneself to be on homosexuality.

I'm sorry, Desmond, but this particular attempt at Catholic evangelism is simply making it look like Catholics try to score points for the magisterium by pretending that Scripture is unclear even where it is very clear.
If Scripture were so clear on the nature of sex and marriage we would not have such division among Bible-believing people of good will on fundamental issues such as divorce, contraception, and even direct abortion.

Many say it's obvious divorce is impossible and many say it's obvious divorce is possible. The Bible doesn't seem capable of resolving this issue.

So, when people see such diversity of opinion among Christians, there is no impediment to bringing forth an argument about the nature of marriage that may include devoted people of the same sex. Because, they may reason, if the Bible were so clear on marriage there is no way Christians could possibly disagree on the most fundamental issues such as divorce.

The approach to theology that begins and ends with "the Bible is clear on this" is not helpful to these sorts of people. By not being able to articulate anything other than this approach, Biola is in a difficult position and is less able to help these souls escape the dangerous path they are on.

The above isn't ignorance, it's dishonesty. The Bible does, indeed, define marriage.
Oh, I can assure you it's my ignorance and not my dishonesty at work here, as I am quite ignorant and try to avoid dishonesty. I will take this to heart and investigate this matter further; I just can't help but see so many different understandings of marriage among Christians that the idea that "everyone knows what marriage is, duh" isn't one I've been able to grasp yet. Thank you for your response.
Stop fiddling while Rome burns.
How right you are. My effort would be better spent in prayer than in posting. I truly do love your work Lydia and will go back to being a reader instead of a commenter. Your work makes a positive difference in my life, and for that I thank you. God bless.

Desmond, you attribute the multiplicity of views on this issue to ambiguity in the Bible when the real cause might be the resolute depravity and unteachableness of the readers.

The approach to theology that begins and ends with "the Bible is clear on this" is not helpful to these sorts of people.

Desmond, you're making a mistake here. Yes, both the Bible and natural law are absolutely clear on this: marriage is between a man and a woman. Nobody can read the Bible with an open heart and come away with confusion on this point.

There are many facets to marriage, some of them lying at the very core of marriage itself, others resting more at the periphery, or extraneous attachments thereto. The more central the aspect is, the more manifest it tends to be. For example, nobody has the least bit of doubt that marriage means a kind of union between 2 people. Nobody thinks that a person can "marry himself". Why not? Because they perceive with complete clarity THAT particular core aspect of marriage. Similarly, most people have a sense that marriage, to be marriage, implies a kind of exclusivity or fidelity, but (given the history of polygamy) they are not quite as clear about this, about exactly what kind of exclusivity it implies. This is because fidelity is a good of marriage that pertains to a second-order aspect of marriage, rather than a first-order aspect.

Likewise, for 99 % of history, for 99.99% of humans, people were absolutely clear that this union between 2 was a union of a male and a female. That's what the word means, and has always meant. This is a first-order aspect of marriage.

Now, as is typical of most words and most concepts of important aspects of life, people can know "what it is" just fine, but not be able to state the definition or defend it from puzzling questions about the periphery. Ask any non-philosopher "what is the soul?" and you will get a lot of hems and haws and a lot of non-helpful attempts. Same with "justice", or "discipline", etc. The fact that people have trouble STATING the definition, or have trouble carving out the exact meaning from peripherally troubling ideas, does not imply that the core meaning is in serious doubt. It isn't. If it were, we would be wholly unable to live in society at all.

There is absolutely no doubt that the meaning of the term "marriage", a term that is a social convention (as are all words) to express a reality that is BOTH a social institution and natural institution, is a union between a man and a woman. This is a first-order aspect of marriage. It is also somewhat clear that the term "marriage" is about a union in which romantic love is a normative element. (This would probably stand as a second-order aspect of marriage, since you can contract a marriage licitly and morally without it. Some cultures would be clearer on this fact than ours is, because they always had arranged marriages.) These facets of marriage are both clear, though not equally.

What there is rising doubt about, now, where there was no doubt 50 years ago, is WHY marriage excludes unions other than between male and female. And there is further doubt about the proper placement of romantic love in relation to the first-order aspects of marriage. For some time in the west we have emphasized romantic love to the utter abandonment of the other goods of marriage, so that a number of people have become confused about it's placement in the order. More than a few people imagine that a marriage without romantic love is simply no marriage, which is false.

But it wasn't until the last 15 years that this dis-ordering of romantic love in common perception of marriage impacted the previously manifest, accepted truth that marriage is a union between male and female (outside of the scholarly views of the .0001 % of the population which were gay sociologists of the 1970's and 80's). Thus, if romantic love is core, presumably it might subdue the principle of different sexes for the 2, at least that's the possible train of thought. Yet it remains true for people generally that they still know that the term "marriage" means - and has always meant - a union that involves a man and a woman. So one avenue in which a modest-sized number of people attempt to resolve the apparent dilemma of meaning is to suggest that the aspect of meaning that includes difference of the sexes of the 2 is a cultural and historical aspect, not an aspect that resides by nature in the core meaning of marriage. So, they might say "yes, marriage has always culturally meant a union between a man and a woman, but for the future maybe it need not mean that, because we can change our culture."

So far, every time the matter has been put to a vote for the people in the US, they have rejected this. There is no reason to think that the people as a whole have resolved to abandon the meaning of marriage that comes to us from prior generations, because as a whole there is no doubt that the disparate sexes of the 2 is a core aspect of the institution. Admittedly, few people can express this clearly, and fewer still can defend it with a fully cogent argument. But that doesn't mean that basic fact isn't manifest to them, all the same.

Michael Bauman is correct that the main source of doubt about the truth stems from a disorder in the wills of those who profess that marriage is open to single-sex unions. I would merely add that in addition to the 2-4 % of gays directly subject to this disorder in their wills, and 20%+ of heterosexuals whose (non)-practice of marriage has also distorted their ability to see the truth, there are a not-small number of people who have been conned into thinking that their inability to clearly state WHY marriage doesn't include 2 men or 2 women must mean that they should doubt THAT it does so. There are, consequently, some people whose voting doubt on the matter is politically manufactured and philosophically naive, rather than wholly due to bad will.

there are a not-small number of people who have been conned into thinking that their inability to clearly state WHY marriage doesn't include 2 men or 2 women must mean that they should doubt THAT it does so.

Ain't that the truth. And I have to say, that's where it's _useful_ for those who are evangelical and other Christians that the Bible is so clear on the illicitness of homosexual acts. I do believe in the natural law and don't believe the Bible has to list every sin, but it never hurts when the Bible so clearly backs up common sense.

So, when people see such diversity of opinion among Christians, there is no impediment to bringing forth an argument about the nature of marriage that may include devoted people of the same sex. Because, they may reason, if the Bible were so clear on marriage there is no way Christians could possibly disagree on the most fundamental issues such as divorce.

If this is what motivates a person to make outrageous claims such as "the Bible does not preclude the possibility of homosexual marriages," then that person is being extremely obtuse. First of all, the Bible is quite clear about homosexuality, and the idea that a Christian conception of marriage could legitimately encompass and embrace a homosexual "version" of it is an idea a little too stupid to address in simple language. It's like asserting a conception of Darwinian evolution in which natural selection plays no role, and the process is actually carried forward by invisible changeling-faerie magic. This is one of those cases where it takes thousands of lines of patient baby talk to refute two lines of obvious nonsense. Asserting that it is possible to conceive of a version of red which is also not-red is a very simple thing to do. Showing why it's ridiculous takes rather longer.

Moreover, the actual multiplicity of views about what constitutes marriage is much exaggerated. I reject that shopworn premise altogether. While such questions as when and under what circumstances divorce is permissible are sources of substantive disagreement, even an issue as important as that doesn't introduce confusion into what, fundamentally, we're talking about when we use the word marriage. This is like saying the multiplicity of opinions concerning the immediate role of the proletariat in post-revolutionary Communist societies shows that Communists of good standing might also be devotees of Ayn Rand. Clearly, there are some things that get right down to some basic ontological issues, and on those the level of disagreement among Christians (especially when we understand that group as an historical and not merely a contemporary one) is actually quite small. We shouldn't confuse something important with something foundational. The behavior of black holes is something that scientists disagree on, and disagree on in extremely important and even essential matters (such as, whether they emit radiation). That doesn't mean you can go around asserting that a reasonable scientist might therefore claim that a black hole is just a mole on Zeus's back.

A multiplicity of views even on important matters such as divorce do absolutely nothing to establish that either the Bible or the people who believe it are confused about whether marriage has something to do with the opposite sexes. Disagreement on important substantive issues does not establish confusion over issues that are of tautological importance. To use another example, the difference in the Eastern and Latin views of the Trinity--"Et filioque!" anyone?--is obviously of extreme importance, as it concerns the essential nature of God that lies at the heart of our religion. The Christian Church was split over it. But it would be a gross distortion to say that a reasonable person might conclude from this that therefore Christianity has nothing clear to say about whether 1) God is transcendent or whether instead that 2) Hindu pantheists have got it right after all. The difference just isn't that stark, even if the Holy Spirit doesn't actually proceed from the Father and the Son (which he obviously does...).

And just as many societies have had many different approaches to the particulars of marriage, it is something else altogether to conclude from this mildly interesting but obvious sociological fact that marriage has nothing particularly to do with the existence of two complimentary sexes. In similar fashion, moral relativists will sometimes assert that the differences between societies on normative issues somehow prove the non-existence of real, objective morality. But aside from all the other problems with this incandescently bad argument, it's just not true that the differences are all that large, even though they're obviously of tremendous practical consequence. There's never been a society that admired and rewarded cowardice as a moral good--not even in our own thoroughly degraded time--and it is inconceivable that it could ever happen. These important issues surrounding marriage, such as divorce, have to do with the moral and practical consequences of what marriage is, but they leave quite untouched the primary issue that there is such a thing as marriage, and that it has a lot to do with the birds and the bees.

Put simply, these Christians have ceased to think Christianly. They have succumbed to what Richard Weaver called "moral idiocy" due to the ubiquitous influence of modernist and post-modernist thought and its inherent nihilism. Hyper-pluralism (the multiplicity of conflicting views) is not a cause of this moral idiocy but a symptom, yet it definitely adds to the confusion.

Thus, these "clear" issues of Biblical sexual morality will not appear clear to those who are looking at them through corrupt modernist/hyper-pluralist lenses. They have no shared consensus by which to evaluate rival truth claims, and thus they go into the modern default mode of "diversity and tolerance."

It's interesting to compare the same-sex "marriage" issue with the abortion issue. Apparently, if recent polling is to be believed, the American public is moving in a pro-life direction at the same time Americans are secularizing and rejecting traditional sexual norms. It is said that a majority of Americans now favor public policy that is substantially "pro-life". And for the first time, a majority of Americans also favor same-sex "marriage".

The pro-life movement over the years had a strong, clear, and succinct argument: the fetus is a human life. Here are the pictures. This was a message that actually did well in soundbites, billboards, and bumper stickers. One didn't need to be a theologian or a philosopher or even a Christian to recognize this simple reality.

I would have to say that the marriage movement doesn't have it so good. How do we communicate the truth of marriage to a paganized and rapidly secularizing public with a vanishing attention span? What's our message in a sentence or two?

Jeff, I don't believe recent polling is much to be believed, on either issue. I can't prove that, but my guess is that if a "substantially pro-life" legal regime were put on the ballots of the several states, as has happened with homosexual marriage, national polls would turn out to be fairly off-base, as has happened with homosexual marriage. What people actually do when faced with the reality of a change in the law is different from what one does when asked a question by a pollster. The former situation calls forth all the intuitive "penumbras" and gut reactions that the latter simply doesn't. Meanwhile the latter situation contains a social component that the voting booth lacks.

Jeff, please be much more careful in suggesting a majority of Americans also favor same-sex "marriage". Usually, statistics like that are quite filled with problems. We saw this in the debate over forcing charities to submit to the Obamacare despotism on contraceptives. When you phrase the question one way, a majority favor it. When you phrase it another way, less than 40% favor it. When you look at these results, the proper thing to do is say that the methodology is imperfect and does not allow us to draw definite conclusions, but of course that's not what the polling organizations do. They just pick the specific question whose individual result they like and go with those numbers.

In fact, in every large jurisdiction in which it has been tested at the ballot, the result is that the people reject gay "marriage." It is somewhat more plausible that a majority of Americans do NOT favor gay "marriage."

Whether you believe the polling or not, I am absolutely convinced of one thing: public opinion is moving in one direction on abortion, and in the opposite direction on same-sex marriage. That much should be clear to anyone who has been paying attention over the last ten years. Whether it amounts to majorities in either case is really beside the point. The question I asked is still looking for an answer.

public opinion is moving in one direction on abortion, and in the opposite direction on same-sex marriage.

Agreed. I don't think that there is likely any successful 2-sentence message for the Christian view of marriage. Too many people who don't get it because they are either too far removed from the message in terms of their own morals, or are too much screwed up by bad philosophy or bad modes of thinking to enable the message to overcome a lack of mutually agreed starting points. In the face of such obstacles, only 2 things, I think, can be successful, typically done in tandem: good example, and conversations. Example of healthy and happy marriages, and conversations one after another over a long period might, just possibly, open eyes and hearts and minds. Yes, this is certainly the slow road. Sometimes you can get their attention when their marriages or relationships have blown up, and they are actually searching / asking for help. But you can't make people intent on TV to listen to a sermon.

I don't have two sentences I can give you, but then, back in 1996 I think you could have fairly asked the same question about the pro-life movement. Even now, I don't think the movement's successes, such as they are, can be put down to a winning two-sentence message. The pro-life camp's message has always been pretty straight-forward, I guess, but the war of words has taken a very long time indeed to turn in our favor.

Lydia, your views on the teaching power of a sectarian Bible (there are several versions out there, after all) don't interest me so much as your understanding of the operation of grace in "being" Christian (from 'stand'+'under' ie in its absolute objective transcendence truth vaunts over us like Genesis' vault of Heaven, without the aid of grace we can only grasp its sensible accidents by our appetite and will) “If you embrace the lifestyle, you are at odds with God and scripture, and it is extremely doubtful that you are a Christian.” how do you want us to share communally your passively-voiced "doubt"? What state of grace are you calling into question?

The pagan understanding of natural law would correspond with what we Catholics call actual grace, that intellect has the power to reckon right action IF sensual self-mastery is not subject to a disordered deficiency by habitual practice, aka virtue becomes freed of vice by integral human development, with the assistance of a "magister" a teaching authority. The apostles and Paul's Roman disciples continued this conventional good habit, applying it habitually to the liturgical life of the nascent Church, using right reason to discount prohibitions "under the law" such as circumcision. What authority (the Bible did not then exist as you use the term) spoke the Word in those times? What reasoning did they reckon with? Catholics understand that the community could not maintain their vulnerable often fractious unity by pagan habits alone, they experienced -- and thus came to understand -- themselves as conduits of sanctifying grace shared in the liturgical action of baptism, reconciliation, lord's supper, sacerdotal ordination and so on. None of these habitual acts are defined in any book of the Bible whichever collation you adhere to (with or without the Wisdom and narrative texts) they are spoken of in the voice of the Word made Flesh who dwells amongst us, taught by the Spirit of the Advocate communing sacrosanct across time and space.

Theologically the only human act capable of creating a voice that dwells amongst us is monogamous conjugal fruitfulness of man and woman who birth fraternal siblings who can speak of themselves familiarly - ie pertaining to one family - as "us." What basis or habit do Protestant Christians use to define who "us" is? For Catholics "us" is gifted at infant Baptism, the sheep may wander from the fold (and often do, residing as we do in a sin-sick world) they're still actual graced sheep capable of sheepishness -- they don't arbitrarilly suddenly become goats -- they're just 'lost' sheep no longer in the sanctuary (aka fold) of sanctifying grace of redemption but who know his Name if called.

(part 1 of 2)

It's very, very bad strategy, and not required by Catholic theology, for Catholics to imply that Protestants are not justified in their opposition to abominations such as the homosexual agenda. Since I take that to be your somewhat obscurely worded point, C.K., I simply beg to differ. I would guess that many of your co-religionists, and not just the "liberal" variety, would beg to differ as well. Oh, by the way: The Catholic educators in Canada, apparently with the approval of the bishops, have completely backed down on the "gay-straight alliances" in their explicitly Catholic schools. I don't have the follow-up link but read it a few weeks ago and simply didn't happen to post an update. Perhaps the Catholic faithful need to start lecturing their own leadership about not poisoning Catholic education rather than lecturing conservative Protestants on how they allegedly haven't a leg to stand on as allies on this issue.

part 2 of 2)
The Bible isn't the gate of the sheep fold (Christ is), its the 'land title' if you will of a territorial area that the sheep fold extends contiguously within Judeo-christian belief. Sadly that land title is heavily contested - the registrar's jurisdiction is not honored communally. And yet the Registrar - the Logos - connects that contiguous space, transcending time and space, recording his dominion-sealed 'book of life' (Revelation) of his Christian flock, he shepherds them, he dwells amongst them, ever-present Emmanuel.

What terrestrial gate-keeper and holder of the keys helps "christians" comprehend such contiguity of His grace-filled sheep fold?

Administratively the argument from actual grace of heterosexual complementarity/natural law of goats is sufficient, bringing the argument from sanctifying grace into the mix muddies the waters so its hard to tell sheep from goats... especially when the theologically speaking Bride and Bridegroom is no longer defended as normative. When the 'invisible' Church is whoever or whatever self-identifying Christians say it is, Jacob's graced discernment of lambs without blemish, is simply disregarded. Scoff - who reads that part of the Bible with that hermeneutic anymore? No need to define 'blemish' as mark of rebellion or sin. That's not helpful in maintaining respect for polite perversities such as doctrinal differences (snark off). Roman Catholics see Christ's crucifixion-consummation as teh source of the sanctifying act that conceives the Church in the Holy Spirit and gives it birth at Pentecost. Same-sex relationships cannot serve as signs of the marriage of heaven and earth, they mirror autoeros, the marriage of earth with earth. Heterosexual relations within marriage only serve as a sign of the mystery of God's lowering himself to human finitude when they are open to the graces that flow from the sacrifice implied by the cross: new life.

You cannot use the Bible as the hammer of the law - for starters sacred scripture contains two laws, rather like the Koran which verse takes precendence? The secular progressive or historical key: newer is better, thus Jihad justifies mortal sin of murder for infidels; and love of neighbor justifies mortal sin of unchastity for same-sex attracted persons? Is this how the Logos speaks to his created souls? Submit by Mohammed's key or submit to Calvin's key? Both men suffered same-sex disorders of human concupiscence - absent filial humility to mater ecclesia they operated with a contraceptive mentality to sanctifying grace. Actual grace is not sufficient to reform the Christian life, we are not merely coins being minted by a Divine Chancellor of the Exchequer of the cosmic economy of gratuitous favor. A transcendent key of communion unlocks the logic of love, a revelation of man (or woman) standing under Truth. The body of Christ has no head other than Jesus. The mystery of grace is the mystery of life-giving potency of sex. Ponder that awhile. Let it implant in your soul Every human sprang from the loins of a man united with the mystery of the woman's monthly cycle. No man can make himself, just as no man can make his own Church. He needs a mother, and we need a mother Church. Homosexual political activism is deeply antithetical to a well-formed christian self-understanding. When it is not seen that way by active Christians it is likely the fault of their incomplete Christian formation, fruit of positivist reformers who confused actual grace with sanctifying grace, who confuse potency to act with fecundity of act. We are all potent by virtue of the favor transmitted in the actual grace of our parents' conceiving us (or the favor of the test tube technicians who mingled certain pre-determined gametes in conjunction with the pharmacist's drugs constraining the womb's activity to fit the physician's scheduled appointment for implanting the preimplantation-diagnosed and thus pre-selected embryo, the non-predestined unified gametes are trashed, relegated to garbage collectors who specialize in disposing human detritus)*.

Whether actuated morally or immorally. fecundity remains a gift of God...

And as such rather like the luck of the draw of IVF coherence among Baptists remains the gift of God - what assurance do they have that the theology on offer -- lets mot refer to what's 'taught' by a magister, since that's a sectarian Catholic conception of "tradition" a historical hermeneutic long since overthrown by Baptists not in need of such graced receptive assurances -- can form a soul in the humility required for fidelity to its maker? Evidence indicates there is insufficient coherence, no contiguous sovereignty. Don't get me wrong here - Catholics are not immune to IVF-like faith formation. The Vatican has recently voiced its concerns re: LCWR's unorhtodox position on ewes sojourning without Christ unburdened by lambs. But so long as they are not excommunicated ex-cathedra (or excommunicate themselves by faking women's ordination or assisting materially in procuring abortions by advocating for same) they are not goats, they remain sheep, without a shadow of a doubt - that's why the Pope has given them a very generous five years to rediscover their ewe=y relationship to the Lamb of God, to return to the apostolic fold (their existence is not a de-facto of magisterial tradition, they were instituted de-jure as a gift to elevate respect for exactly this crucial 'receptivity' aspect of their role in formation of souls in reception of the Lamb of God in the Eucharist. That they don't see it that way could be compared to the object disorder of SSA - they are attracted to the vanity of mutual admiration, uninclined to fruitful formation of dependent lambs. pig-headed members of the body of Christ the Lamb of God, a painful thorn in the flesh to be sure, but perhaps part of God's plan to call forth true conviction and witness? The Theology of the Body was no accident - had a certain prelate from communist lands not been selected Pope (thanks to the communio of the holy Spirit forming the conclave's consciences), the penetrating wisdom needed to critique the culture of death would remain incomprehensible to many if not most Christians, and the culture of life an even more precarious concept in secular perception. Reflexive consciousness is a theological concept that needs wider dissemination.

* limbo not Hell.
Hell is for more mature formed consciences amongst us who reflexively reject responsibility for the response due (owed) to their Redeemer, an anthropology made in the image of He who stooped to conquer. Without sacrifice no kenosis. Absent self-giving kenosis, no love. Devoid of coherence, incoherence prevails.

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