Thursday, September 08, 2022

One-sex marriage, a figment of the imagination


 

Last time we looked at what Jesus, God Incarnate, taught when questioned by Pharisees as to marriage, and later in the conversation, with divorce and with the status of eunuchs, in which he taught there are three kinds of eunuchs, Here, rther lately, are further thoughts.

 

Two and one 

 

Jesus seems to have defended his view of marriage by citing Genesis 2 That in itself is important. Human men and women can multiply. His authority is not like a doctor or  an engineer for Jesus Christ was not such , but he is the Incarnate God, in parity with  the Father and the  Holy Spirit, as the opening of the words of the Bible shows, and the opening words of John's Gospel. Moreover, he came to be incarnate in order of the sacrifice for sin, and who will judge us all.

He was God incarnate. A true Christian can use His words are proof of the first couple. ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said ‘ therefore a man shall leave his father  and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh.’

. (Matthew 19.5-6) flesh. 

 

 This is expressed by the two havjng ‘knowledge’ Which language of Jesus in Matthew 19. Women are not by made by men…..this there is not two men, but ‘one flesh’ for the couple, Matthew19.5, an expression that recurs with Paul in Ephesian 5…., and the account of Jesus as the Lord of the church, as well as the visit with his disciples at the wedding at Cana. (John  2. 1-12)Such ‘knowledge’ is not purely cognitive, but intimately united. Created ‘in the image of God, male and female he created them. Gen. 1.27.

 

 ‘Same sex marriage’, is not of a union of male and a female, a man and woman in the thinking about regard themselves’ but of  a man and a woman.

 

 Among these believers who are currently tempted by same-sex marriage notwithstanding,   being members of ‘mainstream’ churches, the Church England and Baptists or ‘general Baptists’ forming  the Baptist Union are Trinitarians, not rationalists or speculators. But why do they  subscribe? It seems that today the readership of their newspapers are being egged on to ‘same-sex’ marriages because they are popular in ‘culture’ .From the time of the Enlightenment (at least) men and women have reinterpreted the Gospel in harmonisation, the history of this programme forms a sad museum. But in the marriage of the same sex those have destroyed an basic Christian rite, ruined by the morality or immorality of taking in the culture of the day. 

 

.But the one can play the role of the other, not a contradictory one, but a complementary one. The man and  woman have different physical identity. To deny this is a kind of category mistake. These have physical differences, as the same sex people achieve  Lionel Shriver in her piece in the ‘Good riddance to the Tavistock’ The Spectator, (6 August2022 p.26 ). one flesh is joined together by God the Creator, for the life of their flesh united, and therefore inseparable also as a married couple, a new person in new flesh. As Shriver says ‘Personally, whenever I’m confused about which sex I am, I pull down my pants’. The union of Adam and Eve was a similar one of two similar physically-real partners. Knowledge of Adam 4.1. and later Cain and Abel ch. 4. And again, Seth 4.25f.

 

It is  extraordinary that people who are Christians come to advocate same sex- marriage when the opposite is both stated so clear in Scripture by their Saviour and  Lord when it is so clearly a male-female union.. The unclothed first pair were quick to ‘know’ each other.  See Gen. 4.1  ‘Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying ‘I have produced a man with the help of the Lord’ (Gen.4.1)

 This intimacy as in marriage until Paul’s teaching, and the Christ as  head of the church in each Christian. 1 Cor.7.17f. See the Song of Solomon. This must also be same a normal marriage.

 

When Eve is created, she has a body distinctly to that of Adam. Adam when Eve is created, there are different sexes, and experience of intimacy, as does of their different physical shape. One might note that the newly created Eve noted the shape of Adam’s, as different from their which makes their difference in shape. At least he or she is not a ‘partner’ in the elastic, euphemistic, modern sense.

 

This is by no means a sinless culture from the first couple., of course, as is shown by the first couple’s ‘Fall’, and the character of least one of their children. This should remind us that one important purpose in marriage is the wonder of bringing up children. So marriage is not the result of some loose ‘partnership’, but leads to sexual events of intercourse which normally breed a son or daughter This is expressed by Jesus as the couple of one or more as the couple grow ‘one flesh’. (Matthew 19.6) a child of one parent is equally the other.

 

Same sex marriage is a dead loss of a Christian marriage from these points.

 

 

 

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Matthew 19 and same-sex marriage






Matthew 19, and same-sex wedding

 

 

 

In the Gospel in chapterMatthew chapter 19 , Jesus Christ stated in clear  language, that marriage between a man and a woman was integral to the creation. On this occasion, Christ was discussing divorce with the Pharisees. In answer to the question. Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any ? Jesus answered:

 

Have you not read that who created them from the beginning made them male and female, .....‘Therefore   a man shall leave his father and his mother and to his wife, and they shall become one flesh?’ (v.5-6)


This is a clearly a reference to Genesis 2, and it covers both Gentiles and Jews…. Jesus  implies that this arrangement was difficult to carry on wives ‘Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives,  but from the beginning it was not so.... And I say to you who ever divorces his wife , except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commit adultery’(v.9).

 

But, he said to them, there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs  who have been  made eunuchs by men, and there eunuchs who have been eunuchs by men made eunuchs  who have made themselves  eunuchs, who have made  eunuchs, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. (v. 12) It appears that these cases put in peril  Christ’s teaching the difference between men and women in marriage. (Matthew 19.12 -22.)

 

Jesus did not only teach parables to his hearers, but engaged his opponents in other theological  and moral  matters.  In Matthew 22,  Jesus was answering the questions of the Sadducees who say ‘that there is no resurrection , and they asked him a question’ to which Christ gave them a full response. (Matt. 22-33.)

 

Here in, many years later,  the state of two Christian groups in England: the Church of England, the group who are  a state Christian denomination, and the Baptists. These are the historic congregations, yet there are other, more conservative Baptistic groups.. Each of these are under the shadow or jeopardy due to the same-sex couples  allowable according to the Act of 2013.

 

The Church of England observes, that The Episcopal Church in the U.S. has allowed same-sex marriage since 2015, and the Scottish Episcopal Church has allowed same-sex marriage since 2017. But, until the present, the Church of England continues the historic position, Jesus’ position.and to oppose same-sex.


More of Baptist and Church of England journalism

Consider some Top stories in this situation – Justin Welby forced to allow Anglican bishops to reject statement on sexuality’. And, ‘there are motions to oppose same-sex marriage forces rethink of Anglican summit’.  This is the problem the church finds itself currently. 

 

What of Baptists and same-sex marriage? because of the independence of their congregations, one could envisage, different positions without  splitting the Denomination.

 

The Baptists During their Assembly to 2013 (following the legal change), have  launched a series of conversations that have since taken place throughout our union, in churches, associations and colleges on the issues around the registration of Baptist church buildings for the purpose of holding same sex marriage services. .
 
The issues have also been considered in meetings of their Council (in November 2013,  `November 2013 and March 2014, and March 2016. and at many meetings of Team Leaders and the Baptist Steering Group.’

 
At Assembly 2014 an update of our process was shared and the following was offered on behalf of the Baptist Steering Group to express where we were up to on the journey. [To  make room for Act 2013] This served as a backdrop to the continuing conversations and the way we sought to behave as Baptists Together.


During Assembly 2013 we launched a series of conversations that have since taken place throughout our union, in churches, associations and colleges on the issues around the registration of Baptist church buildings for the purpose of holding same sex marriage services.  There is a breadth of opinion in our union on these issues, as can be seen in the responses received
 
They stated then: ‘
As a union of churches in covenant together we will respect the differences on this issue which both enrich us and potentially could divide as we seek to live in fellowship under the direction of our Declaration of Principle ‘That our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, is the sole and absolute authority in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and that each church has liberty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to interpret and administer His Laws’ Upholding the liberty of a local church to determine its own mind on this matter, in accordance with our Declaration of Principle, we also recognise the freedom of a minister to respond to the wishes of their church, where their conscience permits, without breach of disciplinary guidelines.


 We affirm the traditionally accepted Biblical understanding of Christian marriage, as a union between a man and a woman, as the continuing foundation of belief in our Baptist Churches a Baptist minister is required to live and work within the guidelines adopted by the Baptist Union of Great Britain regarding sexuality and the ministry that include ‘a sexual relationship outside of Christian marriage (as defined between a man and a woman) is deemed conduct unbecoming for a minister’. And in 2014 it was asserted,  ‘A Baptist minister is required to live and work within the guidelines adopted by the Baptist Union of Great Britain regarding sexuality and the ministry that include ‘a sexual relationship outside of Christian marriage (as defined between a man and a woman) is deemed conduct unbecoming for a minister’.

 

From this it seems that the future sees each Baptist independent  congregation might to decide itself whether to uphold same sex marriage, or not.

 

As a union of churches in covenant together we will respect the differences on this issue which both enrich us and potentially could divide as we seek to live in fellowship under the direction of our Declaration of Principle ‘That our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, is the sole and absolute authority in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and that each church has liberty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to interpret and administer His Laws.


From this it seems that the future sees each Baptist independent  congregation might to decide itself whether to uphold same sex marriage, or not.

 

As a union of churches in covenant together we will respect the differences on this issue which both enrich us and potentially could divide as we seek to live in fellowship under the direction of our Declaration of Principle ‘That our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, is the sole and absolute authority in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and that each church has liberty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to interpret and administer His Laws.’
 
Upholding the liberty of a local church to determine its own mind on this matter, in accordance with our Declaration of Principle, we also recognise the freedom of a minister to respond to the wishes of their church, where their conscience permits, without breach of disciplinary guidelines.
 
We affirm the traditionally accepted Biblical understanding of Christian marriage, as a union between a man and a woman, as the continuing foundation of belief in our Baptist Churches.
 
So A Baptist minister is required to live and work within the guidelines adopted by the Baptist Union of Great Britain regarding sexuality and the ministry that include ‘a sexual relationship outside of Christian marriage (as defined between a man and a woman) is deemed conduct unbecoming for a minister’.


And as a union of churches in covenant together we will respect the differences on this issue which both enrich us and potentially could divide as we seek to live in fellowship under the direction of our Declaration of Principle ‘That our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, is the sole and absolute authority in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and that each church has liberty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to interpret and administer His Laws.’
 
Upholding the liberty of a local church to determine its own mind on this matter, in accordance with our Declaration of Principle, we also recognise the freedom of a minister to respond to the wishes of their church, where their conscience permits, without breach of disciplinary guidelines.

 

[I am grateful from the journalism cited in Wikipedia as the two English denominations wrestle in the difficulty of a looming of same-sex marriage.]   

 

Here are more headlines from the Baptist paper: ‘The Baptist Union to allow gay marriage ceremonies.’  ‘Baptist Union to allow gay marriage ceremonies’ .From these the Baptists  making room for same sex activity, and perhaps marriage itself. From such headlines post-2013 against and pre-2013 provide a tendency  to  show that  sex marriage in Baptism congregations is in the wind. There is evidence more recently that there is opposition of   a group of Baptist ministers.


The Baptist Union of Great Britain is to reconsider its commitment to one man, one woman marriage for its ministers under pressure from LGBT activists.

In a letter to members of the Baptist Churches, the Union’s Core Leadership Team said it was “reflecting” on a request to allow ministers to marry someone of the same sex .Individual churches may choose to host same-sex weddings, but in rules for members of the Baptist ministry, same-sex marriage is deemed gross misconduct. General Secretary Lynn Green said the process had been triggered by “a letter signed by 70 people who are part of Baptists Together, the majority of whom are ministers”.According to the church’s Ministerial Recognition Rules, “sexual intercourse and other genital sexual activity outside of marriage (as defined exclusively as between a man and a woman)” is specifically forbidden.But signatories of the letter have demanded the phrase which defines marriage “exclusively as between a man and a woman” be dropped. Removing this phrase, Green explains, “would mean that a minister who is in a same-sex marriage would no longer be committing gross misconduct and lose their accreditation”. At the Baptist Council meeting in March, activists from pro-LGBT groups, including Affirm and Open Table, gave presentations to members promoting ‘equal marriage’ and ‘inclusivity’. The Core Leadership Team, Ministerial Recognition Committee and Trustees are currently deliberating on how to best respond to the request to abandon the biblical code of conduct for its ministers. A decision is not expected this year. 

Conclusion

Matthew 19  has the words of the Saviour,  that a natural wedding ‘at the beginning’ of the race, in the account of Genesis 1, 24, which relates the  Sixth Day of the Creation to the pair. That was and is a wedding of a man and a woman. But features from the journalistic news that we have been to find of Christian Protestant churches, they are on a road that modifies and qualifies the view of our Lord in an endeavour to shape Christian Marriage in the interests of  a ‘Woke Theology’.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 












Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Virtues and Vices, 1 July 2022


 


Edward Reynolds 1599 - 1676


A feature of the Christian life is that the virtues of it are the result of the regeneration of God the Holy Spirit, and that  they are revealed in bunches. Both are Peter in his first and second epistle, and Paul in several  ways in his varied letters, takes this view

 

So Peter states

 

 ‘…..make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue , and virtue with knowledge , and knowledge with self-control, and  self-control with steadfastness,  and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so short-sighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1.5-11)

 

Note that there is no mention over different classes of disciple. A virtue is a power of the soul (Note that for Peter, power, ‘divine power’) is the overall (v.2) source of progress in the Christian life. Various matters can go together. Peter  mentions as  a ‘bundle’ use of a string of powers, and sometimes some causes other virtues. Bt as we shall see, vices come in groups too.

 

So in Romans, for example, Here is one case, in 12. 9.


‘Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour, Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.(12. 9-12)  ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.’

 

And in the Ephesians, ‘put off your old  self which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires , and to be renewed  in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness’.( 4.22 – 44). Contrasting with ‘all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another’, continued in chapter 5.

 

Christian virtues , sometimes they are explicitly the some model in Christ’s work.  In these affections are produced. Affections from 12.10. Phil 2.1 2Peter 1.7. 1.5,  various clustering as in Rom 12.9, 13.3, love 1 Cor 13, Eph 4.22, Philippians 2.3, 4,8.

 

The contrast between virtue and vices is signalled by The NT difference between the affection and emotion in such passages, as shown by Edward Reynolds, an influential member of the Westminster assembly,  who in the 1660’s at the Restoration of the King Charles II conformed with the Church of England and became Bishop of Norwich.   In his book on the emotions, A Treatise on the Passions and Faculties of the Soul.

 

As we shall see, it seems to have been Reynolds to make a distinction between affection, for the  sophisticated, and the  passion, for the simple, as we shall see,

 

The way of the treating of the passions and affections Reynolds says,

 

For the corrupt effects of passion in general, because there are many more, because there may be a multiplicity as well of evil as of error, when there is but  a unity of goodness and of truth, one amongst  another; or in references to understanding, will, or body. The effects of them amongst themselves is in their mutual  generating and nourishing of each other, as fear is wrought by love; and anger , by grief. p, 99 Reynolds (6.48’). He comes close to an ideological account of emotion .

 

He goes on

 

And it is true as well in man’s little commonwealth, as in greater states, that there  are no more pestilent and  pernicious disturbers of the public good, than those who are best qualified for service and employment, - if once they grow turbulent and mutinous, neglecting the common end, for their own private respects, and desirous to raised themselves upon public ruins. And, indeed, it is universally true, things most useful and excellent in their regularity, are most useful  and excellent in their regularity, are most dangerous in their abuse. (Treatise  on the Passions and Faculties of the Soul. 6.38)

 

For the apostles Peter and Paul, however, the Gospel and its virtues is not a ideology, propounding gentleness of character, contrasted with the ‘roughness’ of the character of the crowd. Not class struggle. (see the references to a quiet life I Tim. 2.2, I Peter 3.4, I Thess.4.11) These are the fruit of the Spirit and of Christ’s own  example.

 

Owen provides  something more acceptable:

 

The mortification of our affections towards these things, our love, desire and delight, will produce a moderation of passions about them, as fear, anger, sorrow and the like ; such will men be stirred up unto these changes, losses, crosses, which these things are subject unto….. When the mind is weaned from the world, and the things of it, it will be sedate, quiet, composed, not easily moved with the occurrences and occasions of life: it is dead unto them, and in a great measure unconcerned in them,. This is that “moderation”  of mind wherein the apostle would have us excel. [1]

 

The Apothat Apostolic  teaching about virtue and vice is about two cultures, the one generated by the Spirit, and the other the fruit of the flesh. This is a spiritual difference, not social or political, but religious. With Paul between………and Peter in I Peter  2.1, 12, and 4.3-4 , and 2 Peter 1.5 1.7, 2.14. And Paul, in Romans 12.10, and Philippians 2.3. and its vicious opposites, Ephesians 5. 3—11and Philippians 3 17-9, and Colossians chapter 3.

 

The following expressions are typical.  Ephesians,  4.22…..’put off your own self which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires’, and chapter 5. And ‘put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility,  and much of Colossians chapter 3, ‘meekness, and patience, bearing one another.’ And other similar Petrine passages, and in I Peter  4.7 and earlier I Peter.  2.11f.

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[1] These passages are in Chapter 4 ‘The Powers and Faculties of the Soul’ by Paul Helm, Human Nature from Calvin to Edwards, (Reformed Heritage Books, 2018), particular pages 98-100.