Sex Changes: It’s Fundamental

“The debates about homosexuality, in part because they often involve public policy and legal issues, tend to be sharply polarized…

Yet as the foregoing also clearly shows, the policy and legal debates surrounding homosexuality involve fundamental issues of morality and justice. Perhaps most centrally of all, they cut to issues of personal identity and self-definition. Hence there is another, and even deeper, set of reasons for the polarization that marks these debates.”

There is a reason that conservatives are mooring their dinghies on the shores of pro-homosexuality. They’re conservatives. But, as the article concludes, the debates actually have a genesis rooted much more deeply. Though at other times it was one form of cultural morality versus another, as Christians we can see that it is Christian morality versus all other moralities that is at the heart of the current controversy. Historically not much has changed. The social milieu depends upon who is ruling. As long as there is a civil magistrate, civil religion will prevail. It can be asked, then, what is morality? Or better, which morality is the best paradigm to address is the question, since it has always been a struggle for the religious control of the civil state. It can also be stated, what is justice in the civil state since it is ideologically driven, and not by any historical measure a question of absolutes?

For Christians there can be only one response. But, let me be as blunt as possible by contemplating Paul’s response to Peter: “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.” The church must confront its own when errors creep seeking to take captive the weak. And we are all weak. It does no good for anyone for ministers of the Gospel to remain chained to their pulpits, unwilling out of a faux respect for boundaries, as ashamed, or afraid, to not confront their cross-town rivals in the faith. The great Peter was not beyond the reach of the perfection demanded by Scripture. He was not beyond the reach of his fellow elder. What Scripture demands, it demands of all mankind everywhere- nothing less than perfect righteousness, as Peter would say later, “Be holy.” Scripture demands a perfect knowledge of doctrine, the mature stature of the Son of God, Ephesians 4. Peter’s actions, not even his verbal teaching, was blurring sound doctrine, and Paul condemned him for it. Perfection is impossible for any, and yet, to that standard even the “hypocritical” elder, Peter, had to be held accountable. In today’s church, we barely tolerate in-church discipline, let alone nailing a condemnation order to the backside of other churches elders. In many ways, we have become nothing more than a civic organization.

The issue of civil acceptance or rejection of Biblical morality is not the cause celeb of the Christian faith, any more than a restoration of an Edenic society is. The church is charged with the faithful preaching of the Gospel of repentance regardless of the outcome, regardless of the civil magistrates’ moral orientations. What kind of repentance is it which allows for sin in the church hierarchy by silent neutrality, but calls laymen and those outside to reject sin and confess the truth? Peter, by his actions, endangered even the highest of servants of the ministry: ‘For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all…” Even Barnabas, who stood with the apostle Paul as a co-worker, proved weak. So what should we say? Word, words, words… and actions, actions, actions, are the weapons of our spiritual warfare. They must be consistent with one another. Peter had laid down the sword, and Paul slapped him with it.

Here is the gist: Though no one is perfect, all are expected to be so.

Barnabas, Peter, even James’ men ran afoul of the ideal and stood condemned. As the historical review reveals, society has remained fickle in its moralities, always in flux, subject to the changes of the civil wind, no matter the influence of the church. What does change is the church, unfortunately. And once the church begins to embrace civilian moralities and doctrines by not confronting its Peter’s, Jame’s, Barnabas’, Hymenaeus’, Philetus’, Diotrephes’, Phygelus’, Hermogenes’, or the believer in the pew living in open defiance of the morality of Scripture, it soon becomes the leader of the crowd by default.

What separates the church from the world is not its “saltiness”. That is the common attribute of all men. Scripture has concluded all men sinful.When once the church begins to think of leaders as better than the world and not worth the same condemnation of sin, is when it loses its flavor. When it once begins to think it can give a pass to those claiming its name, is when it loses it flavor. When it covers the light of truth so that not all are held to the accountability of the light, elder and layman alike, is when its light becomes darkness. No one lighting a lamp shelters any from the message that of Lot’s wife, or that of wicked Lot. What matters is the direction we are facing and whether we will come into the light or not. What separates the church is it love of truth and its love for one another in that truth. In that, we at once recognize our weakness as having come out of the salty world. What separates us is that we do not deny it. The world tries to justify itself as just another morality. Scripture holds mankind all alike accountable to perfection. We condemn our weaknesses as a rejection of the moral perfection which is defined by Scripture, and by that condemn all others who reject it, also. What we offer is repentance and faith in the One True Light.

Where we are found to be loving one another is in our willingness to call one another to accountability through repentance, and our willingness to stand near to help one another despite the moral failings of our flesh. By this, the common salt of the earth knows that we are disciples. We are mankind, just as they are, calling them to join us in the new life offered. It is not by our perfections that we receive. That is, our good works merit us no favor with God. That was Peter’s and circumcision’s problem. It is by grace through faith, a faith grounded in the Truth.  It is not by compromise, not by permissions, either, but through discipline, each part doing its part until we all come the unity of the faith, to maturity of the knowledge of the Son of God, reforming our minds day by day, that makes us different. That is the big part that is missing is the leadership in the church and why they have unwittingly become the leaders of civil rather than Biblical morality. We don’t, for the most part have men like Paul, who are willing to execute the office of ministers of the Gospel, and confront equals who by word or action teach false doctrine. What is missing today are faithful ministers of the word, as in Paul’s charge to Timothy, willing stand in public and denounce, the public embarrassment that some show forth for the Gospel of Jesus Christ while they blasphemously take upon themselves the name. The former make themselves partakers with the latter if they do not confront the error within. It is the least loving of all to leave a brother, yes, even a fellow elder, dying in the ditch, beaten and bloody, and do nothing.

We cannot cleanse the world, we cannot preserve it, but we can point it toward the Perfection which is coming to judge the world. To those being saved He is the sweet savor of life, to others, the stench of death. To one he is coming in respect to salvation, the other to the judgement of eternal damnation. There is only one answer we can give to the world, only one response to falsehood and every lofty argument which exalts itself against the knowledge of God: Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!

If judgement is to begin, let it begin with the household of God. Paul’s love for Peter could not have been expressed better than his publicly humiliating his brother in the presence of all so that all would fear the demands of a righteous Savior from heaven. And, so that all might wonder at the grace provided through Him alone. Peter obviously learned his woodshed lessons in holiness and the necessity of the blood of Christ and His resurrection to attain the holiness we all woefully lack. He learned it well enough that it became his theme of warning to the church and to those beyond of the coming destruction of all who oppose God.

Killing Calvinism Is Easy Just Ask Luther

Lutheran Insulter :: List of Insults

If Luther had coffee with Greg Dutcher:

You are the prostitute of heretics!

Let me add this:

Just as in a picture or dream you might see the king of the flies with his lances of straw and shields of hay arrayed against a real and regular army of seasoned human troops, that is how you go to war.

Dr. Eric Hankins, Heretics And Hypocrites: The Southern Baptist Confusion

Founders Ministries Blog: Response to “A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.” Part 3.

Responding to Eric Hankins’s Southern Baptist “Traditionalism” | SBC Voices.

“A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” | SBC Voices.

A Response to “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation”.

An Introduction to “A Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation” | SBC Today.

Praisegod Barebones: Calvinism Conference Questions, Part 3.

Malcolm Yarnell: The Grace of Unity: A Prayer for the Southern Baptist Convention.

Treasures Old and New: Malcolm Yarnell’s Private Hell Of Not Knowing The Truth Which Brings Unity.

According to Widipedia’s classical definition

The word hypocrisy comes from the Greek ὑπόκρισις (hypokrisis), which means “Jealous” “play-acting”, “acting out”, “coward” or “dissembling”.[3] The word hypocrite is from the Greek word ὑποκρίτης (hypokrites), the agentive noun associated with υποκρίνομαι (hypokrinomai κρίση, “judgment” »κριτική (kritiki), “critics”) presumably because the performance of a dramatic text by an actor was to involve a degree of interpretation, or assessment.

Alternatively, the word is an amalgam of the Greek prefix hypo-, meaning “under”, and the verb krinein, meaning “to sift or decide”. Thus the original meaning implied a deficiency in the ability to sift or decide. This deficiency, as it pertains to one’s own beliefs and feelings, informs the word’s contemporary meaning.

To be a Southern Baptist one must take this on as a necessary mode of appearance. The SBC cannot decide on what it believes. Each side claims that soteriological matters are of utmost importance, they at the same time admit that it isn’t. Each side says that the Bible teaches their side, but at the same time allows that the other side may also be right.

At the end of the long fight over inerrancy, what was washed under the bridge during the flood of the conservative resurgence was the authority of Scripture which grounds inerrancy. You see, it does not matter if it could be proved that the Bible is without error as historically transmitted if the things that it claims cannot be established as truth within its own context. Never mind the history of transmission, the message, that is the doctrines it contains, if left to matters of opinion, undermine the very reliability for authority begged by the arguments for inerrancy.

Questions need to be asked. If both sides are claiming their soteriology is the doctrine of Scripture, both cannot be right. That leaves one in the camp of false teaching, which is a quaint, mealy-mouthed way in today’s environment of can’t we all get along tolerance-speak, heresy. Just so as to not be accused of bandying about terminology too loosely, here is what I am getting at. The Scripture makes no allowance for false teaching. To say that opinions are doctrine is at the same time to say they are not. At least not in the Biblical mandate to not go beyond what is written. Anyone can hold opinion, but no one is free to teach it as doctrine. To draw the lines a little tighter, in the matter of the Calvinist/Arminian debate (yes, that is what is at issue no matter the denials from the anti-Calvinist side) within the SBC, each claims their soteriology as the correct one as a matter of truth derived from Scripture. As Hankins claims, this is not a matter of secondary importance, doctrines which make little to do, but the very foundation of the traditions and the faith once and for all delivered to the saints:

The following is a suggested statement of what Southern Baptists believe about the doctrine of salvation… Every generation of Southern Baptists has the duty to articulate the truths of its faith with particular attention to the issues that are impacting contemporary mission and ministry… We believe it is time to move beyond Calvinism as a reference point for Baptist soteriology… We believe that most Southern Baptists, regardless of how they have described their personal understanding of the doctrine of salvation, will find the following statement consistent with what the Bible teaches and what Southern Baptists have generally believed about the nature of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

There is no escaping the conclusion, Hankins believes, and rightly so, there is only one biblical soteriology. All others are false. And if the doctrines of salvation are not primary, what are? If defection from them is not heresy, then what is? Though someone might be tolerated for believing in error, teaching error is quite a different animal, prowling about seeking whom it might destroy. If Paul admonished Timothy saying:

Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

Teaching falsely leads to iniquity by destoying the hearer. If even eschatological matters were the subject of such condemnation, what more attention should be paid to matters soteriological? If Paul could condemn the circumcision party practice as being anathema in Galatians for adding to Christ’s finished work, isn’t it then paramount to secure other soteriological doctrine which could cause error destrucive to the faith? Paul condemned vain arguing as sinful and as marking out those who were and were not Christ’s. But if the doctrines espoused by Hankins are no more right than those he opposes, they are vain babble and just as destructive as any other heresy.

Paul didn’t exclude arguing by the way, in fact he instructed Timothy to contend for the faith and to silence those who oppose the doctrines and traditions handed down to him. So, contrary to Hankins, it is only right to advance one doctrine as exclusive and opposed to another. Which is in fact what he is doing even though he denies it.

The real question for the SBC, one which has haunted it since it opened the door to the Arminians more than a century, is does it believe what it says it does, or not? If it can accept as doctrine equilateral opinions of men, it really fits the definition of hypocrisy, a system ever halting between two opinions never coming to the truth and unstable in all it dealings.

Who’s My Neighbor? Of Idle Bugbears And Other Flagitious Crimes

Here is a section out of Calvin’s commentary on Matthew 10:

12. Salute it. As they could not distinguish the devout worshippers of God from despisers, he enjoins them to address in a friendly manner any family which they may have occasion to meet. The act of saluting is a kind of opening to a conversation. They had already been warned to look out for persons to entertain them, whose religious zeal was generally known and believed. But as it sometimes happens that persons of lofty reputation, when they are brought to a serious trial, discover their impiety, it was proper that this rule should be expressly laid down. The meaning therefore is: “Make trial, when you first enter, whether your entertainers will cheerfully submit to hear you. Whoever shall willingly embrace your doctrine, remain in their house, that your salutation may be confirmed. If any shall reject, depart from them immediately, and, so far as lies in your power, withdraw your salutation.”

13. If it be not worthy. The import of this mode of expression may be thus stated, — “As their ingratitude makes them unworthy to enjoy the blessing of God which you have supplicated for them, break off every bond of communication.” The word peace refers to the mode of salutation which generally used among the Jews. As the Hebrew word שלום, (shalom,) peace, denotes prosperity, when they desire that any one may be well and happy, and that his affairs may succeed to his wish, they pray that he may have peace I do acknowledge that the apostles brought to men a different kind of peace, but it is too great a refinement of speculation to make this passage refer to the free reconciliation which takes place between God and men.

14. And whoever will not receive you. This awful threatening of punishment against the despisers of the gospel was intended to animate his disciples, that they might not be retarded by the ingratitude of the world. He directs the apostles, indeed, what he wishes them to do if they meet with despisers. But his principal design was that, wherever their doctrine was rejected, their well-founded grief and distress might be relieved by consolation, that they might not fail in the middle of their course. And we see how Paul, relying on this consolation, boldly sets at naught all the obstinacy of men, moves on steadily in the midst of hindrances, and boasts that he is

a sweet savor to God, though he is the savor of death to them that perish, (2 Corinthians 2:15,16.)

Now, this passage shows in what estimation the Lord holds his gospel, and, indeed, as it is an inestimable treasure, they are chargeable with base ingratitude who refuse it when offered to them. Besides, it is the scepter of his kingdom, and therefore cannot be rejected without treating him with open contempt.

Shake off the dust As the Lord here recommends the doctrine of the gospel, that all may receive it with reverence, and terrifies rebels by threatening severe punishment, so he enjoins the apostles to proclaim the vengeance which he threatens. But this they cannot do, unless they burn with very ardent zeal to make known the doctrines which they preach. We must therefore hold that no man is qualified to become a teacher of heavenly doctrine, unless his feelings respecting it be such, that he is distressed and agonized when it is treated with contempt.

To shake off the dust from the feet was probably a custom then prevalent in Judea, as a sign of execration; and was intended to declare that the inhabitants of the place were so polluted, that the very ground on which they trod was infected. That it was an ordinary custom I conjecture from our Lord’s manner of speaking of it as a thing well known. This form of execration confirms still more what I lately mentioned, that no crime is more offensive to God than contempt of his word:

for he does not enjoin them to make use of so solemn a mode in expressing their detestation of adulterers, or murderers, or any description of malefactors.

Verily, I say to you That they may not imagine this to be an idle bugbear, Christ declares that those who reject the gospel, will receive more severe punishment than the inhabitants of Sodom. Some view the word judgment as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem. But this is foreign to our Lord’s intention: for it must be understood as referring to the general judgment, in which both must give their account, that there may be a comparison of the punishments. Christ mentioned Sodom rather than other cities, not only because it went beyond them all in flagitious crimes, but because God destroyed it in an extraordinary manner, that it might serve as an example to all ages, and that its very name might be held in abomination. And we need not wonder if Christ declares that they will be treated less severely than those who refuse to hear the gospel. When men deny the authority of Him who made and formed them, when they refuse to listen to his voice, nay, reject disdainfully his gentle invitations, and withhold the confidence which is due to his gracious promises, such impiety is the utmost accumulation, as it were, of all crimes. But if the rejection of that obscure preaching was followed by such dreadful vengeance, how awful must be the punishment that awaits those who reject Christ when he speaks openly! Again, if God punishes so severely the despisers of the word, what shall become of furious enemies who, by blasphemies and a venomous tongue, oppose the gospel, or cruelly persecute it by fire and sword?

There is more to charity toward those outside the church and in than a universal credit card. For example, try his commentary on Matthew only a few chapters later. Mix that in with loving your neighbor and it will not be just anyone to whom you show favor. There is a catch. True enough, compassion in certain, let me say that again certain, circumstance dictates another approach, but even in that, our obligations are not carte blanc, but must be balanced with the full spectrum of wisdom found in Scripture. Having taken on a burden we pay our vows, but just what burdens is a more nuanced matter altogether.

For example, the Samaritan Story isn’t about the Samaritan, not his needs, but Christ who bears man’s whole person of desperation upon his own shoulders. It is about those who do what is right and good by nature and not out of religious zeal. It is about those who do so, not out of pretense because of commandment, but because theirs is truly a heart of compassion. Typically, those who act from command tend to exalt other legalisms above charity. Such was the case with the priest and Levite whose religious purity rose above the common dictates of conscience. But if it were just about treating the needs of neighbors, it should be noted just who the players were.

They were brother neighbors, not stranger neighbors. Those who passed by were from Judah. The victim from Jerusalem, likely a Jew. As Calvin notes, greater care, more specific and special care is to be taken with a brother as was commanded in the second great commandment. The Samaritan’s were their disenfranchised brothers. As brothers, the Law prescribed treatment of them and it was this which was specifically what the Jews were not showing, and which the Samaritan, outlaw such as he was, did. There is one Law for both, true, but the distinction between brother neighbors and those outside the covenant are clear. And if we just read the Scripture we can find out that the Samaritans were not irreligious. Take Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well. She was waiting for Messiah. She was one of those who Christ expected would need succor and would receive it. More than that, he expected his disciples to render it despite appearances or traditions.

Beside these tidbits, the parable is in answer to a trap set by a lawyer. It had specific parameters, a specific case, and not a general charge. And the fact is it was meant to show the religious hypocrisy of the workers of the law who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. To maintain their religious purity they were willing to hate their brother. The irony sticks like blood to clay, the cries of Abel to the ears of the brother who slew him. Yet, these men, like the lawyer who asked the question, were willing to go to law to justify themselves in their neglect of the weightier matters of the meaning of mercy in the law of sacrifice, by following the rules of cleanliness instead of showing mercy to one just like them- a sinner in need of help. In short, they denied the meaning of the very vestments that they were protecting from stain. They would by-pass the obligation of the blood covenant, for a high seat and the approval of men rather than God.

It is not the case that Jesus healed, or fed everyone. He did not come to do so. Rather he was sent to the house of Israel, to his brothers, to supply what they needed. To do likewise is to show forth Christ as he was displayed in the Law. To universalize the Samaritan story is to make Jesus a liar. It is not about generalized charity, or our neighbor in general. That there are other sheep, sojourners and strangers, that revelation is grounded in the Law also, for such were the Jews at one time. On the other hand, the Law is selective and exclusivistic in its requirements. From the first sacrifice of Abel to the last jot and tittle, exercising the word of God produces discernment of what is right and good and winnows the wheat and allows the wind to carry away the chaff. As is clear in the second portion of Calvin’s take on charity, it is all about the edification of the Church, her adding to her numbers and her self-preservation through love specially for believers. Doing good to all men requires building fences, actually, to keep the neighbors dogs from eating the lambs and causing offense to Christ. Even when the purpose of charity is outreach to community, the reason for that is always evangelism and the requirements for continued charity clear and unequivocal. The Gospel divides, it does not unify, neighborhoods. There are rules, reasons to deny the needs of others. Unless the “neighbor” eats of the flesh of the Son of man and drinks his blood, there is no part of him left give them, and we must make that clear. Therefore Calvin says, we excommunicate them.

Also, historic context must be factored in when trying to proof text so called authorities. The American landscape has been one where there were assumptions of who our neighbor is. The base assumption had been that we were a Christian nation and we assumed Gospel acceptance in our neighbor. In the past century, who should be the recipients of social justice has changed considerably. Ideas of the deserving poor versus the unworthy have been done away with. In their place the assumptions now solidified in the modern mind is that everyone short of the richest are deserving of their neighbor’s help. And so governments driven by the civil religion aid this perversion of the Samaritan’s purse by picking the pockets of neighbors to give to neighbors, usurping the authority and responsibility of the individual believer to determined what is right and good in the sight of God. But more than that, it robs from the church the necessary resources entrusted by God to those individuals who are its members for the mutual benefit of the body of Christ.

The social milieu of Luther and Calvin was a broad assumption that nearly everyone was a Christian. In that context, Luther didn’t, and wouldn’t have stepped outside those boundaries. It was not likely that he would have rendered servitude to a Jew. Or even a papist. Calvin likewise would not have rendered succor to those who were outwardly oppositional to the Gospel. There were tests that both men applied. And as Calvin notes, there are tests that must be applied, requirements that must be addressed, or the Gospel falls short of its intentions of separating out of the world those called to Christ. In short, both would have assayed the right way to address the situation. They would not have just willy-nilly become social workers, or any manjack neighbor, they would have tapped into the full wisdom that Scripture affords.

Calvin relays that the judgement is coming and that judgement is held over against the compassion that is found in Christ’s Gospel. He would say that our judgement must likewise be so severe as to demonstrate the value of the grace that is offered. In other words, even though it may not seem to be the kindliest of overtures to turn away a neighbor or stranger in need, when it comes to the Gospel, the severity of the example is the very kindness that leads to repentance.

For those who would like to go to Calvin’s address in the Institutes on charity to disclaim this I suggest that you pay close attention to his distinctions. While he invokes the image of God in all men he is exacting when speaking of the use of the endowments of the creator in the believer for the work of the church. For in its members, uniquely, has that image been renewed. That there is general consideration paid to all men is subordinated to the needs of the church and its members specially, because they are of their Father in heaven, and not of the spirit of this world.

Reformation Polka:Define It Defend It: Apologia Expected Kategoria

Paul quoted the OT when addressing the muses on Mars Hill:

So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him.

A look at a couple of OT verses should establish for us that the Lord is very concerned about lines of demarcation:

You shall not move your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess. …You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter…The Lord tears down the house of the proud but maintains the widow’s boundaries.

The idea of boundaries goes beyond physical location. The Lord set limits not just in creation when he said to the sea you shall come this far and no further, but he also placed limits upon man in his Word. Perhaps the clearest example is the Ten Commandments. Yet there are others which declare the severity with which God deals with his creatures for stepping upon the holy ground of Scripture:

You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you…Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar…I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.

The dire consequences are spelled out in both the negative and the positive senses:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Historically since the establishing of the Canon, yeah, even within the historical account of Scripture, we find that a necessarily demanded mission of the people of the Book, is to defend the boundaries set down within it. Canon itself means a measuring line. Orthodoxy developed out of a need to set into words definitions stated in both positive and negative terms. Concerning the Canon itself the Westminster Confession of Faith defines both the accepted and the rejected when it defines the Canon but goes further in stating what is not:

The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the Canon of Scripture; and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.

The goal is clarity, the purpose is the defense against any attempts by the enemies of God to steal the liberty granted in Scripture itself:

for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary when the Truth set them free.

In each generation since the first “Has God really said,” just as men of old spoke, so also today, we must speak with clarity as oracles of God. It is an essential ingredient in the great commission, indeed, it is the charge of the disciple to learn not to go beyond what is written and to defend against all intrusion upon the sacred ground of truth.

Indeed, a study of the creedal development of orthodoxy, particularly in the early church, demonstrates time and again that the defining of orthodoxy and the defining of heresy is something which the church does simultaneously. This is hardly surprising: creeds establish boundaries, and so the establishment of creedal orthodoxy is one and the same act as the establishment of heresy… This approach is also most helpful when it comes to learning from heresies in the context of Christian education for the church. And we learn from heresies not simply by refuting them but also by first of all asking the critical question, `Is there a legitimate concern which underlies or drives this particular heresy?’ In almost every case, the answer is yes, and the orthodox can learn from the question as a means of critiquing, refining, and strengthening their own doctrinal understanding and commitment… It was far from obvious to the church in 319 that what Arius was saying was lethal to a biblical understanding of God and to salvation; the process by which the church came to realize these vital truths is central to understanding the necessity of Trinitarianism. Thus, by failing to spend time expounding heresy, one has restricted through incompetent teaching the knowledge of what orthodoxy means, and why it expresses itself in the way it does.

via Why and How I Teach Heresy – Reformation21.

Carl Trueman, in this essay, goes on to explain that error does not remain isolated by merely hurling invectives. And it is not rightly understood except that it is thoroughly exposed. Orthodoxy is not limited to a particular doctrine, or even a particular set of doctrines. Core beliefs will eventually impact even the furthest reaches of biblical teachings on faith and practice. Being able to give an answer requires that questions are not left in the realm of ignorance. All things are meant to be exposed by the light of Scripture, thoroughly examined, and not allowed to stand on any ground but that bounded by the truth of Scripture.

Flippancy and carelessness is eschewed when we read, study to show yourself approve, a workman who needs not be ashamed. If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask, but not doubting there is an answer, for that is double-mindedness and not a sincere quest for truth. In all things we are to prove what is right and good. That is the sign of faith. It is certainly the sign of a leader, for:

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

We are not, whether leaders or not, to engage in telling fables, myths, or espousing vain arguments for which there is no answer or for which it is said there is no answer. That is why we just can not tolerate error and pass it off on the account that everyone is fallible or that inquiry into error is a waste of time. Nor are we to, as certain fundamentalists do, shelter the teachings of those they call heretics from the eyes of congregants out of fear and ignorance. Scripture calls for the maintenance of the boundaries it has established and that always should done in public.

Do we not laud Luther’s publication?

Yes, indeed, we celebrate it.

Happy Reformation Day!

Queen Marine: Chase Bono May Enlist

Marine Recruiters Visit Gay Center in Oklahoma – NYTimes.com.

Now that the infamous policy of DADT has ended the next walls must be torn down. Cross dressers and the transgendered are still discriminated against. If women can wear some identifying clothing, add make-up, and other accoutrements, so goes the argument, why can’t everyone? Open, gender free, military marriages should follow, also. As the changes ensue, the moral climate must also change. Seeing that there is now no reason to maintain separate barracks since there can be no discrimination based upon sexual orientation- women, men, straight, bi-sexual, transgendered, gay, lesbian- should be allowed live together in mixed barracks filled with blissful harmony, freed from the shackles of religious intolerance. It would surely save on construction, maintenance and other logistical considerations as well as enhance the military’s appeal in recruiting.  Dress, appearance and uniform regulations should have to change to reflect the new Ima Maryne image.

The meaning of everything that says military is changing, that’s good? Huzzah?

Brought to you by Unisex. “Where everything goes together.”

Update: After several e-mails correcting me, let me clarify: Chase Bono shouldn’t be confused with Chastity (Chaz Bono). Seen here while working as a model: Chase has always wanted to be one of the girls. Now, with the opening of the opportunity to fit in, he is looking to enlist with the aim of taking advantage of medical benefits. His hope is to get the government to pay for his transition. Eventually, Chase would like to write his memoir, “Transition: How I Became A Maryne.”

“it is very misleading…to say”: Tim Keller Teaching Elder

Tim Keller: “it is very misleading…to say, ‘Homosexuality is a sin’” « 5 Pt. Salt.

One of the things that has always struck me odd about Tim Keller is his shameless ability to wrest Scripture from its context. That for a TE, who must in no way be duplicitous in his teaching, is a giant no-no. Add to that the equivocation of hem-haw and you have the makings of a very poorly dressed Gospel. In this case, what is demonstrated is just more of the same foot-shuffling we have seen before.

I still believe that Tim Keller is the PCA’s own version of Rick Warren.

Addendum:

Maybe it’s a bit much digesting Buchanan, so here’s the summary. If man is to believe the Gospel, he must know it. And if man is to know the Gospel, it’s not enough for him to have slight thoughts of God’s attributes, God’s Moral Law, judgment, Heaven and Hell, and intimate thoughts of God’s love and mercy, and Jesus’ love and mercy and grace. Notice how Buchanan proceeds; the order is as important as the content.

Any Gospel-centered shepherding or preaching will start with the attributes of God. All of them in all their horror and beauty. And seeing the attributes of God will leave us trembling at the foot of Mt. Sinai where we receive God’s Moral Law, which reveals even more clearly many of God’s attributes, His perfections. So we start with the character, the attributes, the perfections of the Only True God. And this is no “God is for the city” vision. We’re not close to that, yet.

Then, we move to God’s Law. First, His attributes; second, His Law. We preach the Law in all its brutal severity, trusting in the Holy Spirit to lead the souls under our care through that horror, to grace. But we trust so much in that horror, that we refuse to hop over it. Gospel-centered preaching never neglects the Schoolmaster that alone leads us to the Cross of Jesus Christ.

First, the attributes of God. Second, the Law of God. And third, the coming judgment and the horrors of Hell prepared for all who have violated God’s attributes and Law. Again, only those who trust in the power of the Holy Spirit rather than themselves, their contextualization and entrepreneurial moxie, will preach and teach and counsel God’s holiness and justice, His Law, and His coming throne of judgment driving every man to the eternity of Hell torments.