June 25th, 2003 is the date. That is the date for the 70th General Assembly of the OPC. They met at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa to discuss matters of the church. There were many things going on but the one that should catch everyone’s eye was the Lee Irons trial. Yeah, this is old news. I admit that I am a “day late and a dollar short”. However, there is some concern of specifics in this trial that affect the OPC and the Church of Christ at large.
During the whole process between the time he was going through a lengthy process with the Southern Californian Presbytery and the final verdict at GA (General Assembly), we see specifics or details that many might miss. One important detail in this scenario is his wife’s article, response, and the session of Redeemer Chapel. It is interesting that one would write “Since conservative Christians oppose gay marriage in the church for religious reasons, it is in our best interest to support gay marriage in society for civil rights reasons. Wasn’t sure you heard me the first time? Then let me be absolutely clear: Conservative Christians should support civil same-sex marriage” (M. Irons, Par 1).
This not only came from a Christian, but a reformed minister’s wife.
Irons same mentality is also being stated today as well but from someone else, not in your normal “liberal” churches, but in a reformed church, I.E. a Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) church. Here is the article to which I am referring, but more specifically, read the words of the minister yourself:
“I’m a pastor of a church where members are not uniform in their response to this ruling, and I actually find that to be one of the most beautiful things about our church. Some of us are putting rainbow filters on our Facebook avatars while others are disappointed in the SCOTUS decision but are holding our tongues on social media for fear or being labeled in an unfortunate way” (Prentiss, Par 3).
“As a pastor of a beautifully-diverse church like this, I find myself wanting to offer counsel to both sides of this debate (even while lamenting the unfortunate bifurcation of this issue into two sides aligned against one another.)
For those of us who find the SCOTUS decision something to be celebrated, we should remember Romans 14, where the Apostle Paul advises those of us with less scruples to be gracious towards our brothers and sisters with more. (The “weaker” brother language is unfortunate here, because it seems to suggest one is right and the other is wrong. But, what Paul is asking the Romans to do is to not quarrel over, or judge your brother over matters of dispute.) For you, this ruling might be self-evident and long-overdue, but there are brothers and sisters who are reading the same Bible who are coming to different conclusions than you, and their voices shouldn’t be excluded” (Prentiss, Par 4&5).
And he finally concludes with this:
“The thing I love about Intown is that people on both sides of this debate, as well as those in the middle, can find their views on this and other controversial issues being drawn up into and relativized by our union with Christ. Not only do we bring different convictions to his Table, we also bring our sins and failures, and there, if no other place, we should look across the aisle at our brothers and sisters and see equals – equally in need of grace and equally possessing the dignity of God” (Prentiss, Par 8)
We have to look at these two instances and come to the same conclusion: they both believe that we should capitulate to the abomination of homosexuality. This is not only contra confessional but it is contra legem Dei or against God’s Law.
How Should We Respond To the Church: A Positive Argument
When we look at these two cases, we should note that this is from within. You cannot sit there and say, “of course they would say that because those are the liberal folks!” We expect this kind of response from the PCUSA, but instead we receive such sad responses from members of the OPC and PCA. How should we respond to these cases? How should we respond to the churches that are spiritually declining because of these views? With the Word of God!
What does God say concerning these issues? Well, you do not have to look very far. We understand that there are both positive and negative responses within scripture that deal with sexuality. The first response has been and always will be a positive one. Here is what a positive argument or statement looks like:
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:27-29
This is the first positive argument you see for sexuality. God tells us specifically that He created “male and female” to be “fruitful and multiply”. This is the creation order. This is a command. When God commands us to do something, we must go and do what He has commanded (sound redundant?). If we do not do what He commanded, then we are sinning. Likewise, if we go against the creation order in which He Himself created and called “good” (Verse 31) then we are still sinning. What do we see absent from this positive argument? We do not see anyone else in the creation of mankind. We have two individuals named Adam and Eve. God did not call forth another man and give Adam a choice.
Also, from these few verses we see the positive argument that when a male and female come together they are “fruitful”. When male and male (or female and female) come together they are not fruitful. God did not create man to be with man nor woman to be with woman. Why? One reason is because they are not meant to “be fruitful”. Another answer could be that since this goes against the creation order and command of God, it is sin and therefore can only produce what was produced when Adam disobeyed: Death.
A Partial Response to Brian
When looking at Brian’s post and trying to figure out where exactly he went wrong, I would like to point out a few things that others should heed. I hope this is beneficial to whoever reads this article.
The first thing I want to point out is Brian’s acknowledgment of the “ruling on Gay Marriage” (Prentiss, Par 1). When the premise of your paper acknowledges homosexual activity or two homosexuals being together as a form of marriage, then you have already capitulated (notice the Genesis 1 sexuality vs. wicked sexuality Romans 1). You have turned your mind, heart and soul from the Word of God (yes, these are quite high of charges, but sin comes from the mind and heart of man — Matt. 15:19). Not only did we already point this out in the positive argument from Genesis 1, but we see this in negative arguments. Paul tells us in Romans that man was so sinful God gave them over to more sin. However, not only did He give them over to sin but homosexuality is the bottom of the list. As a side comment, you could also think of the “natural” argument you always hear people say. They will tell you that they did not choose to be homosexual, but rather they were “born this way”. What does God say about this? Not just mentioning that homosexuality is at the bottom of the list but it is not natural.
“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” (Romans 1)
If marriage between a man and woman is natural (Gen. 1), and homosexuality is unnatural (Romans 1), then putting Gay and Marriage in the same sentence is as natural as unnaturally putting natural and unnatural together (naturally of course…). Man is saying opposite of what God has already said.
Brian tells us he’s “a pastor of a church where members are not uniform in their response to this ruling” (Prentiss, Par 3). This is a public admission of a failure to teach his flock on biblical sexuality. The sad thing about his remark is that he finds this “to be one of the most beautiful things” (Prentiss, Par 3) about his church.
He then continues to say something that is baffling to me, but then again I have to remember where his allegiance lies. “As a pastor of a beautifully-diverse church like this, I find myself wanting to offer counsel to both sides of this debate (even while lamenting the unfortunate bifurcation of this issue into two sides aligned against one another)” (Prentiss, Par 5). What I find unfortunate is that a pastor (of a supposed confessionally reformed church) is more worried about disunity then righteousness in doctrine and life. He cares more for their feelings and disconnect from socializing then teaching them what God commands.
There is more I could bring up in this article but I think there is sufficient evidence that capitulation (can you tell I like this word?) is a key trait. When we look at what people are saying, doing, or feeling you have to know that without having God’s Word as your standard, you are lost in your autonomous sinful, wicked heart (Jer. 17:9).
Irons, Misty. “A Conservative Christian Case for Civil Same-Sex Marriage”. November 19, 2000. Web. http://www.musingson.com/ccCase.html
Prentiss, Brian. “WHAT A CONSEQUENTIAL COUPLE OF WEEKS!”. June 27, 2015. Web. http://intownchurch.com/blog/2015/6/26/what-a-consequential-week