Marriage in Modern Society

marriage image

While we’re on the topic of marriage, Julia Llewellyn Smith has an article on The Age website about marriage. Aspects of it are sensible. Other are awful and entirely disheartening. It is worth reading for a few reasons.

One is that it strikes me a fairly middling sort of account of marriage. What I mean is that it seems to reflect quite well the consensus of our society: that marriage is all well and good, and has some benefits, but things have changed. It is somewhat conservative in it’s conclusion, but also very pomosexual, in that it has an “anything goes” conclusion. If you want to understand how our society thinks about marriage, this is not a bad summary.

A second reason to read it is that it raises some issues which should be more Continue reading Marriage in Modern Society

Louie Giglio and the Presidential Inauguration, pt. 2

Louie Giglio

The other day I wrote a brief post on the rising religious standard required by the politically-correct elites if one is to stand and speak in the public square. There are fun times ahead. Today I want to point to a couple of very helpful posts which addressed a different angle on the Louie Giglio incident. Let me recap.

Pastor Giglio preached a sermon some 20 years ago, and in it he condemned homosexuality as a sin. A few days ago, that fact came out in public and, because Pastor Giglio was due to pray at President Obama’s inauguration, Giglio got in trouble with the gay lobby and their friends (which evidently includes President Obama). Once in trouble, Giglio evidently stepped down from his role in the inauguration. He voluntarily stepped down. Here’s Giglio’s stated reason why he stepped down:

“Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration. Clearly, speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ.”

Here is how I read it: Giglio is withdrawing because some people made a fuss about what he said about homosexuality, and because homosexuality has been an important issue in his ministry since ‘that sermon’ he would rather not cause a fuss about it. It would cause people to be distracted from the core of his ministry; the Gospel. At this point I will point you elsewhere, because anything I say from now on will be indebted to these fine folk. Continue reading Louie Giglio and the Presidential Inauguration, pt. 2

Louie Giglio and the Presidential Inauguration

Louie Giglio

About one week ago, evangelical pastor Louie Giglio rejected President Obama’s offer to pray at the presidential inauguration. The reason? Pressure groups made a big fat deal about some very faithful comments he made about homosexuality. He made the comments some time ago, but that is beside the point. He made them. The politically correct world hates them. He felt the pressure, and withdrew his participation. It is likely, I would suggest, that the Obama camp also had a say in his withdrawing, as they made a statement saying that Giglio’s views contravene the President’s on homosexuality.

There have been lots of insightful responses from various people, and I encourage Continue reading Louie Giglio and the Presidential Inauguration

A Right Understanding of Homosexuality

NOTE: This post is the fourth in a 5-post series by Andrew Courtis, Pastor of Hills Bible Church. In it, Andrew discusses some of the most contentious issues facing society. In response to these issues, he turns to the Scriptures to present the biblical perspective on each.


 

What does the Scripture say on the matter of homosexuality? There are five key passages in the Scriptures that directly address this. These passages span over many years and at varying stages of God’s progressive revelation indicating a continuity of thought on this issue. In this post I will not be thoroughly examining them, but want to simply point out what they are saying with some brief comments.

Sodom and Gomorrah
The first passage of consideration is that of . This chapter recounts the wickedness of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Their wicked sin of homosexual lust () manifested itself in desperate and depraved actions (). In response to their iniquity, the Lord sends judgment upon them (). Despite the attempts by some scholars who claim their sin was not homosexuality but rather rape or as one says, inhospitality – the text of Scripture makes it clear that the judgment came as a result of the sin of homosexuality (cf. ).

Mosaic Moral Code
In a series of moral law codes against sexual sin, the Lord commanded, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (). This clear and straightforward statement revealed that homosexuality is a sin and God’s estimation of it is that it is “an abomination.

The Judgment of God
In Paul reveals mankind’s sinful condition. contains a specific expression of mankind’s manifestation of utter depravity. The sin of homosexuality is described as “dishonourable passions” in which “natural relations” are exchanged for those “contrary to nature” (v. 26). This reveals that the homosexual desire (not just the act) is  sinful and is “contrary to nature” because it goes against the natural order of creation. In addition to the passions being dishonourable, the act of homosexuality is called “shameless” (v. 27). The consequence of such activity is that they who practice this receive “in themselves the due penalty for their error” (v. 27b). This penalty can be manifested spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Will not inherit the Kingdom of God
In Paul makes the clear statement that “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God.” He goes on to give specific examples of unrighteousness. He says, Continue reading A Right Understanding of Homosexuality

19:1 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down. 10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them and shut the door. 11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.

12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. 13 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” 14 So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.

15 As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” 16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” 18 And Lot said to them, “Oh, no, my lords. 19 Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. 20 Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!” 21 He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22 Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

23 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.

29 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.

30 Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. 31 And the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. 32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.” 33 So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

34 The next day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Behold, I lay last night with my father. Let us make him drink wine tonight also. Then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.” 35 So they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 36 Thus both the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. 37 The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day. 38 The younger also bore a son and called his name Ben-ammi. He is the father of the Ammonites to this day.

And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”

11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.

23 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.

29 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,

The Same-Sex Marriage Debate

NOTE: This post commences a 5-post series by Andrew Courtis, Pastor of Hills Bible Church. In it, Andrew discusses some of the most contentious issues facing society. In response to these issues, he turns to the Scriptures to present the biblical perspective on each.


In some recent posts I mentioned that sin is a deceptive thing. It comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. One of the most deceitful activities of sin is that it disguises itself – it denies that it is even sin. However, the word of God is very clear when it comes to recognising sin. We are to be constantly aware of our own sinfulness (and struggle with it) and be constantly confessing it to the Lord and be walking in Him (cf. ). Sadly, society continues to redefine what is sinful, and of course this is occurring in the church too (cf. ).

One of many examples of a redefining of sin is seen in the topic of homosexuality – more specifically the same-sex marriage debate. Recently, I was granted the opportunity to discuss why I believe the the gospel of Jesus Christ means affirming heterosexual marriage. In a sentence my conviction was, I believe that marital union is to consist of one man and one woman. Why do I believe this? My answer is simple: this is what Scripture teaches. The word of God makes it clear that marriage must not consist of a same-sex couple, but instead marriage is to be between one man and one woman. Why? Because this relationship is in conformity with God’s blueprint for marriage and for those who marry in the Lord this provides us a picture (like no other earthly relationship can) of the power of the gospel as seen in the relationship with Christ and His bride (; see also Simon’s excellent blog post). In order for me to clearly justify this statement, there are three important matters that will need to be addressed: marriage, gender and homosexuality. I want to make it clear that my views come from the word of God. The Scriptures are my authority as they are the revealed words of God. My intention in the next few posts is to consider this debate from a biblical perspective and show why those who support same-sex marriage and unions are in sin and are denying the clear teaching of Scripture. I also want to make known the power of the gospel “for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” ().

Regardless of your plight (sinful condition), you can benefit from the saving power of the gospel. You can be forgiven and transformed. In my next few posts I will address the above mention matters.

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,

3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

The Fight Over Gay Marriage is Not Over

The Australian Federal Parliament overwhelmingly voted down a Bill to amend the Marriage Act. We should be thankful to God for that: our political leaders have shown some wisdom, even though gay marriage is a seriously hot potato at the moment. We should be thankful that we’re not yet over the precipice, and sliding down the slippery slope toward all sorts of abominations. Political victories are important and necessary, and should be celebrated when they come. It is sobering, however, to consider the Apostle Paul’s words in :

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became Continue reading The Fight Over Gay Marriage is Not Over

1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Why should we pray against gay marriage?

At one of our church’s recent corporate prayer meeting, we prayed for our nation. We prayed that the government would not legalise gay marriage, that the horrific practise of abortion would cease. More broadly, we prayed that our nation’s slide toward paganism would be slowed. Why do we pray for these things? Why do we need to contend for social, moral, and political issues? I was reminded of one of my favourite quotes from the great J. Gresham Machen. He explains an important reason why Christians must contend for these sorts of issues:

“We are all agreed that at least one great function of the Church is the conversion of individual men. The missionary movement is the great religious movement of our day. Now it is perfectly true that men must Continue reading Why should we pray against gay marriage?