Posts Tagged ‘redefining marriage’

Book Plunge: When God Goes To Starbucks

January 24, 2014

What do I think of Paul Copan’s book on everyday apologetics? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

 

starbucks

 

A friend of mine told me about getting this book as a Christmas gift and asked if I’d like to read it and see what I think. Now I do know Paul Copan and see him as a friend and I’ve liked all of his other books that I read and so I jumped at the chance. As expected, I was not disappointed.

Copan’s great strength is in so many of his books that he writes that are conversational and deal with issues that will pop up at a location such as Starbucks. In this volume, you’ll find issues such as the question of egoism, lying to the Nazis, the redefining of marriage, the Canaanite conquest in comparison to Islamic Jihad, if Jesus was wrong about His second coming, and the problem of so many denominations.

Copan lays out the case each time and then concludes with a summary of the issues. When that’s done, he’ll point to other works that are worth reading, many of them the works of scholars in the field which is something that I greatly appreciate. Copan’s writings are meant to be a starting point for further study with enough to show you where to go next.

I was pleased also to see him talking about the importance in the book of the honor and shame dynamic in the Middle Eastern culture and how we misread the Bible because of this. This is the kind of idea I wish would catch on like wildfire among evangelicals, but alas, as evangelicals too often are ignoring scholarship and sticking to a Western worldview, we are disappointed. It is one of the reasons that we have so much fundamentalism in the world today, including the way atheists respond to the Bible in assuming a Western context.

Also refreshing was to realize that Copan takes a Preterist viewpoint in answer to the question of the second coming of Christ. This is also a view I hope to see grow in the evangelical movement. Copan’s chapters on the question of the return of Jesus will no doubt cause great shock and concern among many Christians, as such an idea did for me when I was first looking into the problems of a dispensational viewpoint, but in coming to a Preterist view, I found a view that I hold has a more comprehensive explanation of Scriptural passages and speaks in the language of Scripture far more.

The only chapter I really thought could have used some more was the last one on the denominations in the church. There was no mention of the claim that there are x thousand denominations in the world today, with a number that seems to keep rising. Most people don’t realize this is an entirely bogus statistic and I would have liked to have seen more on that front.

Still, in a book like this, that that is my main concern should speak plenty about how excellent the rest of the volume is. This is a book I would gladly put in the hands of the layman today who is dealing with some of the issues that are being talked about. I consider Copan to be an excellent apologist and worker in the field and hope to see more books like this increasingly from him.

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Deeper Waters 10/5/2013 Robert Gagnon

October 3, 2013

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Dr. Gagnon will be my guest and is an informed speaker on this area, having written the book “The Bible and Homosexual Practice.” This is one of the most thorough works if not the most thorough (And certainly the most thorough I’ve read) on the matter of what the Bible has to say about homosexuality.

Gagnon doesn’t even begin with Scripture but rather begins with the ancient society that the people of the Bible lived in. How was homosexuality viewed in their culture? What did the other societies do in relation to homosexuals or even to simple accusations of homosexuality? How did Israel behave in comparison to them?

Then, there’s the looking at the biblical texts and even texts that some people would think at the start have nothing to do with homosexuality. Does the story of Noah being shamed by his son have anything to do with homosexuality? It just might.

Of course, there is then time spent on accounts like Sodom and Gomorrah and looking at any argument against that being about homosexuality that can be found. Certainly, Gagnon takes us through the arguments of the holiness code in Leviticus and argues why it should be treated as a prohibition and explains why eating shellfish would not fall in the same category.

What about the writings of Jews outside of the Bible? Gagnon also looks at the positions of Philo and Josephus for instance to see what they say. Now some could say “Well Jesus never says anything about it?” According to Gagnon, Jesus in fact does say something about it and we’ll be definitely looking at that this Saturday.

Then we come to the NT and especially the passage in Romans 1. Is this a condemnation by Paul of homosexual behavior? Is it true that Paul knows nothing about loving and committed homosexual relationships? Do modern studies on sexual orientation change anything that Paul has said?

For those who want more, Gagnon also looks at modern discussion on the topic and even scientific studies on the matter. We’ll be discussing what the implications are of accepting the redefinition of marriage and why it is so important that we win this battle today.

I urge everyone to listen in and please be willing to call in and ask your questions, though I’m suspecting that some that champion tolerance in calling in might reveal themselves to be people who are in fact only tolerant of that which already agrees with them. In other words, intolerant. If you want to call in, the number is 714-242-5180. The time is 3-5 PM EST.

The link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Note: This blog entry is largely a copy of what I had back in August when unfortunately we had to reschedule so if some of you are getting a sense of Deja Vu this time, there’s a reason. The information he has is still just as relevant so please be listening.

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/28/2013: Ex-Homosexuals

September 27, 2013

What’s coming up on the Deeper Waters Podcast on 9/28/2013? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

We’ve all heard something about the debate on marriage today and when it comes to the topic of homosexuality, we’ve been told that homosexuality is something immutable. It’s not a choice. It’s something that you’re born with and you just don’t change that! There is no such thing as an ex-homosexual.

Well if that’s the case, then my three guests on this week’s episode don’t exist.

My guests are Greg Quinlan, Douglas McIntyre, and Grace Harley. All three are Christians today and all three were at one time practicing homosexuals. All three have stories of how their change came about and want to speak about the way that people like them are ignored and if not that, in fact persecuted by those on the other side.

If what you hear on Saturday is true, then it is a strong argument against the idea that homosexuality is immutable. If there is just one case otherwise, then the claim is shown to be false. This is not to say that the change would not be difficult for some and in fact, it might be the case that some just don’t pull it off, but such is the same if anyone is addicted to anything or has a strong desire towards something. These three say they have done it and that there are several several others out there that you just don’t hear about.

They’ll tell us about what we should be doing in the debate on marriage today. We want to win this battle of course, but there’s a right way to fight and a wrong way to fight. If you want to fight the right way, why not learn from those who have been there?

Also, how does the church treat homosexuals and what can be done? While my guests definitely don’t go in for the Fred Phelps technique at all, they do see problems with the way the church goes about in its normal witness to homosexuals. This includes a stigma that many Christians have against homosexuals. How is it that the church should treat a homosexual man, woman, or even couple that shows up in their presence?

And what about the family situation? How should people respond to questions of homosexuality in their family? Are there steps that a mother and a father can take to instill proper ideas of sexuality within their children?

It is my hope that with a show like this, you listeners and myself as well will better learn how to respond in this debate and know that we are not alone. If anyone asks for evidence that homosexuality is not immutable then, we can just point them to the testimony of my three guests.

I hope you’ll be planning to join in this Saturday from 3-5 PM EST on Blog Talk Radio. The call in number if you want to ask a question of my guests is 714-242-5180. Make sure they’re questions. No angry diatribes wanted.

The link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

McCaskill’s Stance On Marriage

March 26, 2013

Does 1 Corinthians 13 mean what McCaskill thinks it means? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Recently, Senator McCaskill of Missouri came out in support of redefining marriage. Her entry on the topic on Tumblr can be found here. I’d like to look at her entry today and ask the question of it if it works or not.

At the start, the passage is about 1 Cor. 13. I have an interest in this having done a sermon on it that can be found here. In looking at this entry of McCaskill, I find no attempt whatsoever to engage with the text and see what Paul meant. The impression I am getting is as if a bone has been tossed out to those who are religious with an implication that our own Scriptures teach this, but there is no argument for it.

“The question of marriage equality is a great American debate. ”

But what is the question? Is the question “Do we want to treat people unequally?” I do not think people are advocating that. If two things are equal, we should treat them equally. We support equality, but not all claimants are equal. We don’t allow children to marry, for instance. We don’t allow polygamists to marry. This is not a slippery slope argument. What we are saying is that if you want marriage to be redefined, it needs to be done in such a way to allow the group you want and exclude the ones you don’t. I have not seen this done yet.

“Many people, some with strong religious faith, believe that marriage can only exist between a man and a woman. Other people, many of whom also have strong religious faith, believe that our country should not limit the commitment of marriage to some, but rather all Americans, gay and straight should be allowed to fully participate in the most basic of family values. ”

The loaded language is great at this point. The religious people who believe in traditional marriage are the ones who just want to exclude. Fortunately, there are some who are also of strong religious faith who are “open” and think that we “should not limit” but favor “all Americans” and want them to “fully participate in the most basic of family values.”

It never seems to occur to McCaskill that family values are a reason for opposing redefining marriage. To redefine marriage is to redefine the family. It is also not the value of honoring marriage for the sake of marriage. It is about the purpose of marriage. Can the ultimate purpose of marriage be achieved in the new union even if not everyone participates in it?

“I have come to the conclusion that our government should not limit the right to marry based on who you love.”

The problem here is that we in America do marry based on who we love, but all over the world, this is not why people marry. Arranged marriages are still quite common. It is just that it happens that the person we love often fits into the overall scheme of what marriage is. Being in love with someone is not a reason why the government should allow you to marry. If I love a small child, I cannot marry them. If I love my sister, I cannot marry them. If I love two women, I cannot marry them. The government looks at those and says “We don’t care if you love them. It’s not marriage.”

“While churches should never be required to conduct marriages outside of their religious beliefs, neither should the government tell people who they have a right to marry. ”

With the first part, we may not have to conduct marriages, but will we have to recognize them? For instance, even if you disagree, my Scriptures teach me that participating in homosexual behavior is sin and to have that as a lifestyle is to be “living in sin.” Of course, we all have sins we struggle with, but in those cases, we are to be seeking to free ourselves from them.

So when a homosexual couple comes to the church, do I have to grant them church membership? Do I have to accept them for baptism? Do I have to grant them Communion? When we have photos of church members, do I have to treat them as a couple? These are hard questions.

Of course, they are welcome to attend, but the church by and large is to expect holiness from its members and living a lifestyle that goes against what we believe in is not holy. Could I have a case brought against me then for discrimination just because I am living my religion?

The second part of McCaskill’s saying leads to the suicide approach. If the government should not tell who we have a right to marry, then I suspect McCaskill should be against this going to the Supreme Court. Why should the government recognize a marriage if it can’t have any standards on marriage? Why should it be something we vote on if government is not to tell who we can marry? McCaskill can’t have it both ways.

“My views on this subject have changed over time, but as many of my gay and lesbian friends, colleagues and staff embrace long term committed relationships, I find myself unable to look them in the eye without honestly confronting this uncomfortable inequality. Supporting marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples is simply the right thing to do for our country, a country founded on the principals of liberty and equality.”

This sounds persuasive to several people, but to see if the argument works, you just have to put in another group instead.

“My views on this subject have changed over time, but as many of my incestuous friends, colleagues and staff embrace long term committed relationships, I find myself unable to look them in the eye without honestly confronting this uncomfortable inequality. Supporting marriage equality for incestuous couples is simply the right thing to do for our country, a country founded on the principals of liberty and equality.”

or

“My views on this subject have changed over time, but as many of my polygamous friends, colleagues and staff embrace long term committed relationships, I find myself unable to look them in the eye without honestly confronting this uncomfortable inequality. Supporting marriage equality for polygamous families is simply the right thing to do for our country, a country founded on the principals of liberty and equality.”

The bottom line in this is it looks like McCaskill has emotional issues when confronting others so to avoid her discomfort, the law of the land needs to be changed. The law of the land frankly should not care about her discomfort or mine. It should care about what is good and right and true.

McCaskill does not give a rational argument here. She gives an emotional one. An appeal to emotions is not always wrong, but it is when it is done without an argument to back it. McCaskill does not give any new evidences to support her position. She does not interact with those who disagree with her. She does not state anything about the purpose of marriage, or the raising of children.

That last point is important. We are making marriage about the people getting married. The people getting married have reason to celebrate, but the institution does not exist just to make people happy and feel good about themselves. Several other things can do that. Marriage does often and should do those things, but that is not why it exists.

“Good people disagree with me. On the other hand, my children have a hard time understanding why this is even controversial. I think history will agree with my children.”

Frankly Senator, I don’t know why your children should be seen as the authorities on public policy. I am sure some children didn’t have a problem with slavery. I am sure some children have a problem with abortion. In fact, we educate people so they will not have the understanding of children.

You can say history will agree, but so what? Future people will side with you does not mean that future people are right. If the position is an unchangeable moral truth, then it will be true or false in the future just as much as it is today. Also, history has made wrong decisions. All over the world today, world leaders are making wrong decisions that will impact their people for years. Some decisions seem good at the time and have disastrous effects. We cannot appeal to unknown future without warrant. We can make warnings however if we have parallels.

In this case, we do. When no-fault divorce was a debate, we were told it would not harm children in any way. Children would adapt. This was expert testimony. Now we know that we were wrong. What if we make that same mistake again? The question to ask is “Is it worth the risk?” If so, why?

I hope the Senator will give us an argument next time. We have much here in the way of rhetoric, but naught in the way of argumentation. I would hope someone in charge of the laws of the land would base their arguments on more than emotion.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Another excellent response on an excellent blog can be found here.