Friday, 24 October 2014

You can't be 'gay' and a Christian

The basis of that belief is exemplified in St. Paul's assurance to the Corinthian church that what some of its believers used to be—and here he recited a catalog of sins that included arsenokoitai ("sexual perverts") — they no longer were, because they had been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God.
Later they spell this out, pointing out that this does not mean Christians never sin:
Let us be especially careful here, to obviate misunderstanding. Referring to our lives in time, and in a spirit of mortification, we may say, with St. Peter, "I am a wicked man."We may say, "I am a thief," "I am a harlot," "I am a liar," meaning that I have committed these sins, they weigh upon my shoulders, they are the splinters of my self-hewn cross, which I bear under my flesh. We say so in shame. But we do not thereby express an ultimate or God-ordained identity. Quite the contrary. We mean, "This is what I am in a distorted sense, because of what I have done, and because of the evil that I am still fearfully tempted to do." 
Thus they helpfully conclude:
There are Christians who are thieves, because there are Christians who are sinners. But there can be no such thing as a Christian thief. We are ourselves at last when we can say, in glory, "It is not I, but Christ who lives in me." And Christ is no sinner.
Lots there to think and pray about...

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

You can’t declare war and insist that you mean it nicely

This from Toby Sumpter
...when an innocent sounding man insists with tears in his eyes that all he’s asking for is the right to be with his lifelong partner in his final moments in the hospital as his legal spouse, Christians must insist that this is not all he is asking for. No, he is also asking that we toss out justice and mercy. He is insisting that we help him defy the God of heaven. Whatever social, emotional, psychological, and cultural factors are at play (and there are likely many), the bottom line is that institutionalizing sin as a human right is a declaration of war on God. And you cannot declare war on God and insist that all you want is to be able to file joint tax returns. That’s like a jihadist landing at JFK Airport loaded with TNT insisting that he’s just here to visit his mother for her birthday, honest. That’s certainly very sweet, son, but, um, no.

A similar case could be argued regarding abortion and the pursuit of women's lib. When feminists say that all they want is to be allowed the choice to do as they please with their bodies, they are often being unwittingly wily.

For more of Toby's incisive argument go here

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The importance of families for both Church & State

We must have a special eye upon families, to see that they are well ordered, and the duties of each relation performed. The life of religion, and the welfare and glory of both the Church and the State, depend much on family government and duty. If we suffer the neglect of this, we shall undo all... If any good be begun by the ministry in any soul, a careless, prayerless, worldly family is like to stifle it, or very much hinder it; whereas if you could get but the rulers of families to do their duty, to take upon the work where you left it, and help it on, what abundance of good might be done!
– Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, (Banner of Truth, 2005) p.100

Surprisingly, this is not something that I heard much of while at seminary but reflecting on some of the situations I've seen in the parish, I see much wisdom and truth in what Baxter says here.