With respect to Bill C4, I wish to encourage, or challenge, Christians to stand firm in the challenge this law presents. What we are witnessing is Parliament’s “lawless declaration of independence from God” (Rushdoony), and it is not an option for the pastors of Canada to remain silent.
There are at least three reasons why this is a Gospel issue.
- Preaching the Gospel demands preaching the Law of God. It is not “good news” unless it is understood what we are saved from. God’s Law determines right and wrong. Bill C4 denies this.
- The Gospel demands change (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 John 1:5-10). It is a part of the normal Christian life to identify and struggle against sin, and God’s Law tells us what sin is. A Christian who is not painfully aware of his sin and is not actively struggling against it is no Christian. Bill C4 denies this, and attempts to make change, or conversion, illegal. 1 Corinthians 6:11, “and such were some of you” is now a forbidden topic.
- The Gospel will change us. Bill C4 denies this. See 2 Timothy 2:5 and Romans 1:16-17.
What I write below is an exposition of my first thesis (#1) above. These do not read well, as they are taken from slides I prepared for a lecture. Please bear with me. I intend to write about the impact of C4 upon the second and third theses in later posts.
Preaching the Gospel demands preaching of the Law of God. My aim is to make clear the fact that the Law of God is absolutely clear about sexual sin, and the behaviours protected by Bill C4 are damnable sins.
The church today has been invaded by antinomianism, which weakens, rejects, or distorts the law of God. It is actually considered a very bad thing to believe or teach that God’s Law, specifically His moral Law, should be obeyed today, that this Law should be the foundation for our civil society.
Interpreting the Law Today
1. The law of God is a mirror of God’s holiness and our unrighteousness. It serves to reveal to us our need of a saviour. This Law must be a part of Gospel preaching.
(first use of the law)
2. The law of God is a restraint against sin.
(second use of the law)
3. The law of God reveals what is pleasing and what is offensive to God.
(third use of the law)
The Christian is to love the law of God and to obey the moral law of God.
Let us then apply this Law to Same-Sex marriage (hereafter SSM). Since it is soon to be illegal to attempt to change one’s “sexual orientation” (to change one’s preferred sin), this is a natural place to begin. Preaching, counselling, teaching, and encouragement will all be denied to those who struggle against the sin of same-sex attraction.
The arguments from Christians against applying God’s Law to SSM run something like this:
Question: “Is SSM sinful, or should Christians accept it?”
Answer: “Jesus does not explicitly comment on it, and condemnations against male and female homosexuality are confined to the Old Testament and Paul.”
If we follow Jesus, we can’t say (from what He taught) that SSM is wrong.
Answer to the objection: Consider the Seventh Commandment:
14 “You shall not commit adultery.”
Webster’s dictionary (2003) defines adultery as: “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband also: an act of adultery”
But how does Scripture define it?
The Bible forbids many other forms of sexual sins: incest, male and female homosexuality, fornication, bestiality, some forms of sin that are tied to pagan rituals.
The 10 Commandments only list one: Adultery. The 10 Commandments only name Adultery as a sexual sin.
Jesus affirms that adultery and fornication are sinful, but does not name the other sins.
If Jesus doesn’t condemn SSM, why do Christians reject it?
Answer: Jesus does address it.
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, (πορνεία porneia), theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:19, ESV)
Porneia is a catchword for all kinds of sexual immorality.
It will be argued, “But SSM is marriage, and therefore not porneia, immorality.”
Answer: SSM cannot be marriage. Consider Jesus’ understanding of marriage:
“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.'” (Mark 10:6, ESV)
What is the larger context of this verse? What is Jesus talking about? In this context, can Jesus be approving of SSM?
Answer 1: Jesus understands marriage as being only between a man and a woman. If He is our authority, we cannot say otherwise. His teaching that marriage is heterosexual is grounded in creation. Created order is, by being of God’s decree of creation, unchangeable.
Are there other answers?
Answer 2: the use of synecdoche in the Bible. A synecdoche is a single word (a part) to describe the whole. For example, a farmer might say he has 50 head of cattle. This is a figure of speech meaning he has 50 cows, not that he has only 50 heads! Adultery is a synecdoche for all sexual sins, since all sexual sins are a rejection and breaking of the marriage covenant.
The Seventh Commandment against Adultery is a synecdoche for all sexual sin. Adultery is the chief of the sexual sins, because at its heart is a violation of the marriage covenant, either by those in the covenant or those outside of it. The term serves as a synecdoche for all sexual sins since it is the broadest term.
There are sexual sins that Jesus does not mention—we cannot take that “silence” as permissive. For example, Jesus does not condemn child pornography. We can hardly take that to mean He permits it!
If adultery is a synecdoche for all sexual sins, it makes discussing this topic possible without mentioning every possible transgression.
Answer 3: the words of the Law are the Words of God. Jesus is God, therefore the words of the Law are the words of Jesus.
Answer 4: the OT Law is useful. That is, the moral Law is still binding on Christians, and ought to be taught. Remember too, that when Paul wrote these words to Timothy, the Old Testament was the “all Scripture” to which he refers!
2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV) 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
“All Scripture” in this passage refers to the Bible of the early church—the OT.
Answer 5: Paul’s writings (and prohibitions against homosexuality) are inspired:
2 Peter 3:15–16 (NIV) 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Although Jesus does not explicitly name homosexuality or same-sex marriage as sinful, sound hermeneutical principles enable us to apply the principle of the seventh commandment to this question.
Pastors today must preach “the whole counsel of God.” We must not entertain the notion that, “Since SSM is legal, we must treat it as real marriage.” SSM falls squarely under the sin of adultery.
The next two theses will point to the urgency of application for pastors and teachers.