Is Canada no longer a free country?

Canada has “human rights” commissions that seem bent on shutting down human rights. At least the right of free speech. The board is currently prosecuting an editor for publishing the infamous cartoons of Muhammed. Other targets include a Catholic publication for upholding the church’s teaching about homosexuality and Canada’s main newsmagazine, Macleans, for printing a column by conservative pundit Mark Steyn who was critical of Islam. Read this and be appalled.

There are other meandering cases in the works, or that were in the works, often against Internet website owners or the contributors to their online forums. It is almost impossible to get clear information about these. In the notification process, the recipient of a human rights complaint need not be told who the complainant is, or what he is alleging. The recipient is just left to guess for a while, as the bureaucratic machinery of quasi-legal “justice” proceeds at its glacial pace.

By forbidding speech criticizing homosexuality and Islam, Canadian law is also throwing out freedom of religion. Are any of my Canadian friends and readers out there who could comment on this? If the United States government agitates for human rights in Russia, China, and the Middle East, shouldn’t it do the same for our friends to the north?

HT: Nathaniel Peters at First Things

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • fw

    I dunno.

    Would the church really be unfaithful to it´s charter if the church were restricted to not saying anything at all about homosexuality? We COULD restrict ourselves to what the Bible says. It seems to say that ANY sex outside of marriage is forbidden. It says nothing at all about homosexuality per se.

    This would actually be a very welcome corrective to me as a gay man. I would not have to cringe at the witness I see offered up by (hopefully) well intended christians. But it should be purely a voluntary restraint. and it SHOULD be so!

    The idea of “thought-police” should terrify.

    We don´t really need to say anything at all about other religions to do what we need to do really do we? Maybe this would make us more thoughtfully focus on positive proclamation. We Lutherans would probably not have to change their practices much really in the event the thought police win out…

    Maybe we would just end up looking more polite and respectful and in the process more biblical?

    On the OTHER hand, any man who breathes free must feel something stir in his heart who sees this…..

  • fw

    I dunno.

    Would the church really be unfaithful to it´s charter if the church were restricted to not saying anything at all about homosexuality? We COULD restrict ourselves to what the Bible says. It seems to say that ANY sex outside of marriage is forbidden. It says nothing at all about homosexuality per se.

    This would actually be a very welcome corrective to me as a gay man. I would not have to cringe at the witness I see offered up by (hopefully) well intended christians. But it should be purely a voluntary restraint. and it SHOULD be so!

    The idea of “thought-police” should terrify.

    We don´t really need to say anything at all about other religions to do what we need to do really do we? Maybe this would make us more thoughtfully focus on positive proclamation. We Lutherans would probably not have to change their practices much really in the event the thought police win out…

    Maybe we would just end up looking more polite and respectful and in the process more biblical?

    On the OTHER hand, any man who breathes free must feel something stir in his heart who sees this…..

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Yes, fw, and I’d like to also point out that the Bible nowhere condemns murder. Progressive scholars now recognize that what seems to be condemnation of murder in the Old Testament is merely a condemnation of human sacrifice in pagan rituals, and that the Scriptures actually have nothing at all to say about serious murder as carried out by sincere persons who truly believe that someone or other ought not to go on living. We need to all raise our consciousness, and support the Murderer-American community.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Yes, fw, and I’d like to also point out that the Bible nowhere condemns murder. Progressive scholars now recognize that what seems to be condemnation of murder in the Old Testament is merely a condemnation of human sacrifice in pagan rituals, and that the Scriptures actually have nothing at all to say about serious murder as carried out by sincere persons who truly believe that someone or other ought not to go on living. We need to all raise our consciousness, and support the Murderer-American community.

  • organshoes

    Proclaiming anything based not only in the Bible, but in tradition, higher authority, objective history, morality, and even reason is already dangerous to one’s reputation and livelihood, and thus to one’s freedom, long before it’s formally outlawed.
    Willfully NOT speaking is a dangerous precursor to the rest of us being told to shut up.

  • organshoes

    Proclaiming anything based not only in the Bible, but in tradition, higher authority, objective history, morality, and even reason is already dangerous to one’s reputation and livelihood, and thus to one’s freedom, long before it’s formally outlawed.
    Willfully NOT speaking is a dangerous precursor to the rest of us being told to shut up.

  • Richard Lewer

    Free speech is not required to be correct. Or else you would have to have a a judge of correctness. Who will be the judge? Free speech does not have to be kind. Who will be the judge of kindness? Can you spell “Big Brother?”

  • Richard Lewer

    Free speech is not required to be correct. Or else you would have to have a a judge of correctness. Who will be the judge? Free speech does not have to be kind. Who will be the judge of kindness? Can you spell “Big Brother?”

  • fw

    #2 Lars Walker

    Dear Brother Lars. you seriously missed my point.

    Further, using leviticus the way you imply would morally obligate you to stone disobedient children, and also to have sex with your brother´s wife should he die, unlike disobedient Onan. You have no idea how you would consistently separate moral, from civil, from ceremonial law in Leviticus. You revisionism is not necessary.

    Sex is forbidden outside of marriage between a man and his wife(s) according to Scripture. This would forbid homosexual sex acts would it not? Simple.

    The Bible does not declare homosexuality a sin for the simple reason that the category “homosexual/gay” simply does not exist in the Bible. So neither should we.

    You probably could not define the words “homosexual” or “gay” if I asked you to I am guessing in any way that a gay man would see that the shoe fits.

    I would hope you would not be a cause to sin for a confused youth by your overly casual comments.

    I hope you are not offended dear brother Lars, that I make this point to you for the simple reason that we don´t want to be offensively ignorant towards people that we are obligated to reach out to with the Holy Gospel. Their souls are at stake. I am sure you take this commission probably more seriously than I do regardless that your post unfortunately does not reflect that.

    It is important to declare sin as SIN with a clear and unwavering voice. This is precisely so that we can proclaim the Holy Gospel clearly to the last, the least , and the unloved..

    We cannot do this if we declare something as being sinful when the scriptures do not. We lose our moral authority by doing so, and we give just cause to the world to regard us as maliciously ignorant.

    Dear Lars: your response would seem just a little sarcastic, and so dismissive to souls whom I know you would love, passionately, to win for the Savior Who shed His blood for your and my equally serious sins.

    I have read many of your other posts and am quite certain that I know this about you dear brother.

  • fw

    #2 Lars Walker

    Dear Brother Lars. you seriously missed my point.

    Further, using leviticus the way you imply would morally obligate you to stone disobedient children, and also to have sex with your brother´s wife should he die, unlike disobedient Onan. You have no idea how you would consistently separate moral, from civil, from ceremonial law in Leviticus. You revisionism is not necessary.

    Sex is forbidden outside of marriage between a man and his wife(s) according to Scripture. This would forbid homosexual sex acts would it not? Simple.

    The Bible does not declare homosexuality a sin for the simple reason that the category “homosexual/gay” simply does not exist in the Bible. So neither should we.

    You probably could not define the words “homosexual” or “gay” if I asked you to I am guessing in any way that a gay man would see that the shoe fits.

    I would hope you would not be a cause to sin for a confused youth by your overly casual comments.

    I hope you are not offended dear brother Lars, that I make this point to you for the simple reason that we don´t want to be offensively ignorant towards people that we are obligated to reach out to with the Holy Gospel. Their souls are at stake. I am sure you take this commission probably more seriously than I do regardless that your post unfortunately does not reflect that.

    It is important to declare sin as SIN with a clear and unwavering voice. This is precisely so that we can proclaim the Holy Gospel clearly to the last, the least , and the unloved..

    We cannot do this if we declare something as being sinful when the scriptures do not. We lose our moral authority by doing so, and we give just cause to the world to regard us as maliciously ignorant.

    Dear Lars: your response would seem just a little sarcastic, and so dismissive to souls whom I know you would love, passionately, to win for the Savior Who shed His blood for your and my equally serious sins.

    I have read many of your other posts and am quite certain that I know this about you dear brother.

  • fw

    #4 Richard Lewer

    If one is a christian, then free speach MUST be kind. God has judged what “correct” looks like.

    Someone´s good name and reputation are to be defended by the government, and by each of us, with the same vigor as defending someone´s life.

    It is sin, pure and simple, when I speak disrespectfully of President Bush or Senator Clinton. I have freedom to do so. I am grateful for that freedom.

    It is however a freedom that I must never exercise.

    The government does not necessarily define freedom for me as a christian.

    Let´s not lose sight of moral truth in assertion of “rights”.

  • fw

    #4 Richard Lewer

    If one is a christian, then free speach MUST be kind. God has judged what “correct” looks like.

    Someone´s good name and reputation are to be defended by the government, and by each of us, with the same vigor as defending someone´s life.

    It is sin, pure and simple, when I speak disrespectfully of President Bush or Senator Clinton. I have freedom to do so. I am grateful for that freedom.

    It is however a freedom that I must never exercise.

    The government does not necessarily define freedom for me as a christian.

    Let´s not lose sight of moral truth in assertion of “rights”.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    fw: I can easily find a definition for homosexuality. I find it in Romans 1:27: “…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.”

    You commit the logical error of assuming that if I accept Old Testament definitions of sin, I am therefore obligated to insist on Old Testament penalties for sin. I accept no such obligation, in light of the gospel.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    fw: I can easily find a definition for homosexuality. I find it in Romans 1:27: “…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.”

    You commit the logical error of assuming that if I accept Old Testament definitions of sin, I am therefore obligated to insist on Old Testament penalties for sin. I accept no such obligation, in light of the gospel.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    fw: Furthermore, let me make my point explicit. If you apply the standard you use to “disappear” sodomy from the list of biblical sins, is there any sin at all that could not be disappeared the in the same way? “The OT only condemns stealing if you’re stealing from heathen temples. The O.T. only condemns cursing when you invoke heathen gods. The O.T. only condemns adultery when it’s with a temple prostitute.” This exegesis is a rhetorical skeleton key, opening all the barn doors and letting all the livestock out. I could find lots of uses for it if I felt it necessary to justify my personal sins.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    fw: Furthermore, let me make my point explicit. If you apply the standard you use to “disappear” sodomy from the list of biblical sins, is there any sin at all that could not be disappeared the in the same way? “The OT only condemns stealing if you’re stealing from heathen temples. The O.T. only condemns cursing when you invoke heathen gods. The O.T. only condemns adultery when it’s with a temple prostitute.” This exegesis is a rhetorical skeleton key, opening all the barn doors and letting all the livestock out. I could find lots of uses for it if I felt it necessary to justify my personal sins.

  • fw

    #8 Lars Walker

    Dear Brother,

    (1) Sodomy does not = homosexuality.
    (2) Romans 1 does not offer a definition of homosexuality. in that prison sex, for example, or youth that experiments with same gender sex, does not = homosexuality.
    (3) Romans one does not in any way whatsoever describe me. I am a homosexual. I do not “burn with lust” for men or women. I do not commit “shameless acts” with anyone. I assume in charity, that you are not accusing me of such since you do not know me personally.
    (4) Yet Romans chapter ONE does completely apply to me Lars. I cannot escape.

    If there were a religious caucus, I would be forced to go and stand in the corner with the very people you mention in Romans 1:27. This is the clear meaing of Romans 1:28 for me. Correct me if I am wrong.

    Lars. I confess to you that Romans 1 COMPLETELY applies to me, even though it does NOT apply to me as a homosexual because it says nothing about homosexuals. By the way, everyone, heterosexuals as well, are committing the very same crass idolatry by burning with lust. Correct me here as well if I am wrong. Homosexuals are no more guilty of this particular sin than the general population as far as I have observed in my 51 years. We are all equally sinful and human, so this makes sense to me.

    Can we´please proceed to verse 28: “Furthermore, since they…”

    The “they” here refers to those people in vs. 27 that you quoted yes?

    You are inferring (correct me again if I am wrong) that you do not identify youself with these people in any way. I can identify. I do. I have no choice. Saint Paul´s words compell me. I accept what the Bible says here as true because an honest reflection on my life simply leaves me no choice in the matter.

    These “they” you appear to think you are not part of (again feel free to correct me here!) are filled with every kind of wickedness: envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. gossip. Slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, boastful. Disobedient of parents, senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. I know these things all deserve death, yet, along with Saint Paul, I continue to do these things over and over again. (Romans Chapter 7) . I , to my greatest dismay and grief, see myself in this mirror Lars.

    I confess to you brother Lars, that I not only continue to do these things; I often approve of those who practice gossip, slander (ad homen attacks on political figures for example…). This is exactly as Saint Paul describes me. He has nailed me. I often must confess to taking some rather smug secret pleasure and satisfaction out of the murderous political slander that I hear for example. It makes me feel good inside. Sometimes I repeat it. I very warped I am.

    I therefore agree with the Holy Apostle Saint Paul when he tells me that I, therefore, have NO excuse. I do often pass judgement on others, and by doing so I DO condemn my own self, because I do exactly the same thing even if I do not do it as crassly or flamboyantly or openly.

    Now that you are really disgusted with me Lars, I have to tell you it only gets worse:

    By refusing to identify myself with those in the first part of Romans chapter 1, I have shown utter and unforgiveable contempt for the riches of God´s kindness, undeserved patience, and tolerance for me, Brother Lars.

    You are SO right Lars. There is NO justification for my sins here. I am without any excuse whatsoever.

    You are also right that I am often filled with self-justficiation by considering myself less sinful, or different, in some way than the “they” in Romans 1:27, just as Saint Paul also describes me here.

    When I confess in the general confession every sunday that I am sinful and UNCLEAN you can test me to see if I mean that. You will not hear me say “how DARE he accuse me.” If I am not guilty of whatever your accusation is dear brother Lars, you can be sure I know that there are other things, thankfully only my pastors has to hear in my weekly private confession.

    I who have been forgiven such an enormous debt of sin often turn to others and make my moral pound of flesh just like that parable of Jesus that nails me, as well.

    The good news for me Lars is that I have been baptized. For all of my shortcomings and faith-lessness, I will trust that at the last day my dear Lord will not count my filthyness against me.

    I believe brother Lars that you have that same hope from some of what you have written here.

    If you do not, I want to assure you that whatever your deepest most shameful secret is, whatever you have ever done in your life that you have felt is unforgiveable, there is hope.

    Trust in your Lord who claimed you in your baptism Lars. He will not fail you either. He will not quench a smoldering flax or break a bent reed. He will take care not to uproot that part of you that is tare, and so destroy that part of you that is wheat that is fully part of the Bread of Life.

    Trust him Lars. The rest of what you are trying to prove here is pure revisionism of God´s Word that has it´s root in our common and shared sin of our refusal to identify with sinners.

    I can fully and completely identify with you, what you are saying, and as well exactly the way you are saying it. Romans, in ALL of it´s chapters, applies to me in the most intimate and personal way.

    In fact I can completely identify precisely because I do not have sex with or burn with lust for other men or women.

  • fw

    #8 Lars Walker

    Dear Brother,

    (1) Sodomy does not = homosexuality.
    (2) Romans 1 does not offer a definition of homosexuality. in that prison sex, for example, or youth that experiments with same gender sex, does not = homosexuality.
    (3) Romans one does not in any way whatsoever describe me. I am a homosexual. I do not “burn with lust” for men or women. I do not commit “shameless acts” with anyone. I assume in charity, that you are not accusing me of such since you do not know me personally.
    (4) Yet Romans chapter ONE does completely apply to me Lars. I cannot escape.

    If there were a religious caucus, I would be forced to go and stand in the corner with the very people you mention in Romans 1:27. This is the clear meaing of Romans 1:28 for me. Correct me if I am wrong.

    Lars. I confess to you that Romans 1 COMPLETELY applies to me, even though it does NOT apply to me as a homosexual because it says nothing about homosexuals. By the way, everyone, heterosexuals as well, are committing the very same crass idolatry by burning with lust. Correct me here as well if I am wrong. Homosexuals are no more guilty of this particular sin than the general population as far as I have observed in my 51 years. We are all equally sinful and human, so this makes sense to me.

    Can we´please proceed to verse 28: “Furthermore, since they…”

    The “they” here refers to those people in vs. 27 that you quoted yes?

    You are inferring (correct me again if I am wrong) that you do not identify youself with these people in any way. I can identify. I do. I have no choice. Saint Paul´s words compell me. I accept what the Bible says here as true because an honest reflection on my life simply leaves me no choice in the matter.

    These “they” you appear to think you are not part of (again feel free to correct me here!) are filled with every kind of wickedness: envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. gossip. Slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, boastful. Disobedient of parents, senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. I know these things all deserve death, yet, along with Saint Paul, I continue to do these things over and over again. (Romans Chapter 7) . I , to my greatest dismay and grief, see myself in this mirror Lars.

    I confess to you brother Lars, that I not only continue to do these things; I often approve of those who practice gossip, slander (ad homen attacks on political figures for example…). This is exactly as Saint Paul describes me. He has nailed me. I often must confess to taking some rather smug secret pleasure and satisfaction out of the murderous political slander that I hear for example. It makes me feel good inside. Sometimes I repeat it. I very warped I am.

    I therefore agree with the Holy Apostle Saint Paul when he tells me that I, therefore, have NO excuse. I do often pass judgement on others, and by doing so I DO condemn my own self, because I do exactly the same thing even if I do not do it as crassly or flamboyantly or openly.

    Now that you are really disgusted with me Lars, I have to tell you it only gets worse:

    By refusing to identify myself with those in the first part of Romans chapter 1, I have shown utter and unforgiveable contempt for the riches of God´s kindness, undeserved patience, and tolerance for me, Brother Lars.

    You are SO right Lars. There is NO justification for my sins here. I am without any excuse whatsoever.

    You are also right that I am often filled with self-justficiation by considering myself less sinful, or different, in some way than the “they” in Romans 1:27, just as Saint Paul also describes me here.

    When I confess in the general confession every sunday that I am sinful and UNCLEAN you can test me to see if I mean that. You will not hear me say “how DARE he accuse me.” If I am not guilty of whatever your accusation is dear brother Lars, you can be sure I know that there are other things, thankfully only my pastors has to hear in my weekly private confession.

    I who have been forgiven such an enormous debt of sin often turn to others and make my moral pound of flesh just like that parable of Jesus that nails me, as well.

    The good news for me Lars is that I have been baptized. For all of my shortcomings and faith-lessness, I will trust that at the last day my dear Lord will not count my filthyness against me.

    I believe brother Lars that you have that same hope from some of what you have written here.

    If you do not, I want to assure you that whatever your deepest most shameful secret is, whatever you have ever done in your life that you have felt is unforgiveable, there is hope.

    Trust in your Lord who claimed you in your baptism Lars. He will not fail you either. He will not quench a smoldering flax or break a bent reed. He will take care not to uproot that part of you that is tare, and so destroy that part of you that is wheat that is fully part of the Bread of Life.

    Trust him Lars. The rest of what you are trying to prove here is pure revisionism of God´s Word that has it´s root in our common and shared sin of our refusal to identify with sinners.

    I can fully and completely identify with you, what you are saying, and as well exactly the way you are saying it. Romans, in ALL of it´s chapters, applies to me in the most intimate and personal way.

    In fact I can completely identify precisely because I do not have sex with or burn with lust for other men or women.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Frank & Lars’ interaction illustrates how it is not only the freedom of speech, but also the freedom of religion, that is in peril in Canada.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Frank & Lars’ interaction illustrates how it is not only the freedom of speech, but also the freedom of religion, that is in peril in Canada.

  • Richard Lewer

    I did not write that untruthfulness or unkindness were things a Christian should be doing. However, if there is such a thing as free speech it will also include all kinds of speech that we would not agree with. If free speech depends upon our agreement, it is not free. It is limited by some standard that is decided by some person or government. This is what is happening in Canada and is common in Europe.

  • Richard Lewer

    I did not write that untruthfulness or unkindness were things a Christian should be doing. However, if there is such a thing as free speech it will also include all kinds of speech that we would not agree with. If free speech depends upon our agreement, it is not free. It is limited by some standard that is decided by some person or government. This is what is happening in Canada and is common in Europe.

  • fw

    #11 Richard. I do agree with you. my apology if I suggested otherwise.

  • fw

    #11 Richard. I do agree with you. my apology if I suggested otherwise.

  • fw

    #10 bike bubba

    i think it is worse than that and more subtle bike.

    I fear that BOTH the left and right are in their own ways contributing to laying a foundation for future totalitarianism.

    it is not just actions or words that are being policed but also the motives and thoughts… which of course, are unknowable.

    I think that the GLBT and minority communities will come to regret the day that they pushed for hate crime laws.

    The problem and immorality these laws seek to address are real. However the cure they pursue is far, far worse than the disease.

    Unpopular minorities will be the first ones these laws will be unleashed on should we ever have the totalitarian government Bush and Cheney have laid additional foundation for.

  • fw

    #10 bike bubba

    i think it is worse than that and more subtle bike.

    I fear that BOTH the left and right are in their own ways contributing to laying a foundation for future totalitarianism.

    it is not just actions or words that are being policed but also the motives and thoughts… which of course, are unknowable.

    I think that the GLBT and minority communities will come to regret the day that they pushed for hate crime laws.

    The problem and immorality these laws seek to address are real. However the cure they pursue is far, far worse than the disease.

    Unpopular minorities will be the first ones these laws will be unleashed on should we ever have the totalitarian government Bush and Cheney have laid additional foundation for.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    fw: In talking about the issue of homosexuality (the issue under discussion) I certainly do not imply that homosexuals are the only sinners.

    But to read the Bible as it stands, and to find there nothing at all about homosexuality, involves a level of denial that I have a hard time comprehending. It’s like saying the Bible has nothing to say about internet porn, because the internet hadn’t been invented in Bible times. Or saying the Bible has nothing to say about embezzlement, because the word doesn’t appear in Scripture.

    You appear to me to be saying, “Well, the Bible talks about waddling, and quacking, and living in a pond, and having waterproof feathers, but it says nothing at all about ducks.”

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    fw: In talking about the issue of homosexuality (the issue under discussion) I certainly do not imply that homosexuals are the only sinners.

    But to read the Bible as it stands, and to find there nothing at all about homosexuality, involves a level of denial that I have a hard time comprehending. It’s like saying the Bible has nothing to say about internet porn, because the internet hadn’t been invented in Bible times. Or saying the Bible has nothing to say about embezzlement, because the word doesn’t appear in Scripture.

    You appear to me to be saying, “Well, the Bible talks about waddling, and quacking, and living in a pond, and having waterproof feathers, but it says nothing at all about ducks.”

  • fw

    #14 Lars

    “Well, the Bible talks about waddling, and quacking, and living in a pond, and having waterproof feathers, but it says nothing at all about ducks.”

    ONLY ducks meet the fourfold test of waddling, quacking, having waterproof feathers, and living in a pond, as far as I know. So even if someone were to relabel ducks as “gays”, the casual observer would still see that we are talking about the same thing merely renamed.

    Dear brother Lars: I FULLY and UNCATEGORICALLY agree with you if THIS is your point.

    I am an honest man Lars and I do not play with words or their underlying meanings to deceive or manipulate. I see that you are of the same mind. Good. There is promise here then that we can have a discussion that produces light and not just heat yes?

    Let´s explore the validity of your point to see if it fits the issue before us of homosexuality, with an orthodox reading of Holy Scriptures.

    Even if you have bought into a revisionism that is about 100 years old, what you hold to in your exegesis of this passages IS still revisionism. The words homosexual and gay simply did not exist over 100 years ago Lars. So your “tradition” of understanding these passages is only that old. No older.

    We will consider here every single passage that anyone has ever used to claim that the Holy Scriptures condemn homosexuality. We will not leave a single one out. There are exactly 7. Two in Leviticus.

    If you are claiming that the Bible describes fully what a homosexual looks and acts like, then Lar´s homosexual neighbor would look like this:

    Genesis, The Sodom and Gomorrah story: Lar´s Homosexual spends his spare time participating in group rape. His character is defined by this characteristic and quality. He is a sexual predator.

    Frank is gay. He doesn´t know any other homos who are into group rape. Further, Frank has seen a few cases of heterosexual rape in the papers and would not conclude from this that this is a hallmark of heterosexuality. Further, Lot´s offering up his daughters also would not be valid as describing a typical heterosexual father either.

    Conclusion: This passage is not about homosexuality in any way. Nor is it about heterosexuality in this case.

    Leviticus: Lar´s Homosexual has ritual sex with temple prostitutes as part of a liturgical rite worshiping idols, and should be stoned for it.

    Frank is gay. Frank does not worship idols, does not have sex (there are many, many gays like me in the LCMS)( you do not stop being heterosexual should you become celibate), and has in fact been stoned on pot to alleviate a medical condition, but only once. and he did inhale. That was the point (as senator Obama points out…) . Opps I see that this is talking bout a different kind of “stoned”). Further, Frank knows of no homosexuals who have ritual sex with temple prostitutes. This was about the Jews and about a radically different time and environment and society I am saying. He does know of homos who do have sex with other men. He also knows of alot of homos (Probably the majority) who have never had sex that is penetrative. Masturbation would probably not qualify for the important phrase “….as with a woman.” And he knows of many many christian homosexuals who have never ever had sex. Contrary to popular thought by the way, gay men and lesbians who pair off very very rarely assign each other a male vs female role in their relationships. If you don´t know this or believe this you are simply and utterly ignorant. Frank knows ALOT of homosexual. You, in contrast, probably know only what you have read in a (questionable) secular text.

    Conclusion: This passage is not about homosexuality, unless you feel you can reduce the word “homosexuality” narrowly to a sex act between two men or two women. You would be extremely ignorant to insist on doing so. I perceive you to be anything but ignorant dear Lars, therefore I fully assume that you would not make this stupidly obvious error.

    Romans Chapter 1: Lar´s homosexual is deeply idolatrous, worships creature/creation rather than God. He burns with lust. He has at some point traded in the desire for women that came naturally to him, for a desire for men even though this was not true to his nature.

    Frank is no more idolatrous (and CERTAINLY no less, cf:my previous post please!!!” ) than Lars´idolatry is. I say this on the basis of apostolic authority based on Romans chapter 1 and 2.

    Frank, as far as he can remember, has NEVER burnt with lust for anyone ever. It looks like this is the usually case for most females as well, whatever that might mean in the current context…. Frank has his sins, but this is not one of them, yet at least… Frank knows ALOT more gays who want to live in monogamy and be disciplined sexually this way. In fact this requires MUCH more discipline, will and self control than it would for any heterosexual contemplating monogamy. There is alot of public evidence for this assertion of mine in fact. This may be evidence of immorality in a certain sense, but it does not exactly scream the word “promiscuous” does it? This does not look to Frank like people who are “burning with lust.” Frank also knows of Gays who DO in fact, “burn with lust”. However, Frank knows alot MORE hetero males who “burn with lust” for females. Literature, films and reality are ample witnesses. Look at what madison avenue does with this besides to manipulate men…..

    Frank has had exactly the same attraction for other men, starting with puppy love at age 4, that Lars has had for girls. Lars made the moral choice for that orientation as consciously as I chose mine. ( I am making the, I assume safe, assumption, that brother Lars has never seriously considered falling in romantic love with another man or having sex with one as part of a romance). So Frank did not at some point decide to trade in his natural attraction to women…..

    According to a clear, non-revisionist reading of the sacred text: Saint Paul is not mentally or verbally singling out homosexuals from the rest of the population when he wrote this. In fact, and to the contrary, the context suggests that he is attempting to do exactly the opposite with morally-proud jewish christians in Rome yes? His central message in Romans 1 and two is: “you are NO different!”

    Frank is gay. Frank does not reflect what this passage describes in any exceptional way. He knows of no homosexuals that fit this description in any way that would not also fit heterosexuals depending on the circumstances (prison, experimentation….). Heterosexuals also have sex with the same gender (eg prison sex and youth who are merely (immorally!) experimenting sexually and are NOT gay, or people who get drunk and do drugs and so do some crazy things. News flash: NONE of these people should be labeled as homosexuals.)

    Conclusion:

    This passage does not decribe homosexuals

    Corinthians and Timothy: These passage enumerate a sin list. Some translations translate words as effeminate (malakoi) and homosexual (arsenokoitia).

    Malakoi can mean weak, morally weak and a lot of things. There is no wy from the context, which is a list, to know exactly what this word means in context. I feel “effeminate” is a strech. I have trouble thinking that God would care about someone having a lisp, liking pink, or having a limp wrist as being a burning moral issue. And I know of a lot of men who are confirmed heterosexuals with families who have these characteristics. This translation is therefore an evil and mischievous one.

    Which brings us to “Arsenokoitia” translated as “homosexual in some recent translations in Corinthians. We don´t know what it means. There are four places to look for what this word means:

    1. Other places in greek literature: This word only appears ONCE in ALL of greek literature of the centuries before and for 3 centuries after Saint Paul. That one place is here.
    2. The context: The context is not helpful. This is a list.
    3. Etymology is also not helpful. (eg the etymology of “lady killer” would be amusingly misleading).
    4. Some say it is an echo of the Septuagint, and can be said to mean something definite. However this is far from a conclusive argument and, in fact , could be used to argue that this word does not translate as “homosexual”. We can go into this more offline if you like. fwsonnek@gmail.com is my direct email brother lars.

    Finally, you still don´t seem to be able to even define what the word “homosexual” or “gay” means in a way that any honest homo would recognize as describing them even remotely. Not even a christian one like me. What good is that really Lars? What is the point of arguing for this?

    As said previously, the very word “homosexual” and “gay” did not exist as referring to homos until the late 1800s. You probably would not accept the definition of this word “homosexual” that is accepted by the APA, the AMA, the ABA and others. So what is it we would be trying to win in an argument here exactly Lars?

    Conclusion: Nothing here can be conclusively said to be about homosexuality. To the contrary.

    If the Bible says that sex should only happen between a man and his wives, that should be an ample framework to explore sexual sinfulness should it not? What then are you contending for to be wrong about homosexuals beyond that?

    Bottom line Lars: I am a homosexual. I do not have sex. What exactly are you saying is my sin in being a homosexual?

    I am asserting that homosexuality, in and of itself, is not a sin. I am asserting that it would be sinful to declare it as such. Prove me wrong from the Holy Scriptures or clear reason derived from Scriptures brother Lars and I will stand corrected.

  • fw

    #14 Lars

    “Well, the Bible talks about waddling, and quacking, and living in a pond, and having waterproof feathers, but it says nothing at all about ducks.”

    ONLY ducks meet the fourfold test of waddling, quacking, having waterproof feathers, and living in a pond, as far as I know. So even if someone were to relabel ducks as “gays”, the casual observer would still see that we are talking about the same thing merely renamed.

    Dear brother Lars: I FULLY and UNCATEGORICALLY agree with you if THIS is your point.

    I am an honest man Lars and I do not play with words or their underlying meanings to deceive or manipulate. I see that you are of the same mind. Good. There is promise here then that we can have a discussion that produces light and not just heat yes?

    Let´s explore the validity of your point to see if it fits the issue before us of homosexuality, with an orthodox reading of Holy Scriptures.

    Even if you have bought into a revisionism that is about 100 years old, what you hold to in your exegesis of this passages IS still revisionism. The words homosexual and gay simply did not exist over 100 years ago Lars. So your “tradition” of understanding these passages is only that old. No older.

    We will consider here every single passage that anyone has ever used to claim that the Holy Scriptures condemn homosexuality. We will not leave a single one out. There are exactly 7. Two in Leviticus.

    If you are claiming that the Bible describes fully what a homosexual looks and acts like, then Lar´s homosexual neighbor would look like this:

    Genesis, The Sodom and Gomorrah story: Lar´s Homosexual spends his spare time participating in group rape. His character is defined by this characteristic and quality. He is a sexual predator.

    Frank is gay. He doesn´t know any other homos who are into group rape. Further, Frank has seen a few cases of heterosexual rape in the papers and would not conclude from this that this is a hallmark of heterosexuality. Further, Lot´s offering up his daughters also would not be valid as describing a typical heterosexual father either.

    Conclusion: This passage is not about homosexuality in any way. Nor is it about heterosexuality in this case.

    Leviticus: Lar´s Homosexual has ritual sex with temple prostitutes as part of a liturgical rite worshiping idols, and should be stoned for it.

    Frank is gay. Frank does not worship idols, does not have sex (there are many, many gays like me in the LCMS)( you do not stop being heterosexual should you become celibate), and has in fact been stoned on pot to alleviate a medical condition, but only once. and he did inhale. That was the point (as senator Obama points out…) . Opps I see that this is talking bout a different kind of “stoned”). Further, Frank knows of no homosexuals who have ritual sex with temple prostitutes. This was about the Jews and about a radically different time and environment and society I am saying. He does know of homos who do have sex with other men. He also knows of alot of homos (Probably the majority) who have never had sex that is penetrative. Masturbation would probably not qualify for the important phrase “….as with a woman.” And he knows of many many christian homosexuals who have never ever had sex. Contrary to popular thought by the way, gay men and lesbians who pair off very very rarely assign each other a male vs female role in their relationships. If you don´t know this or believe this you are simply and utterly ignorant. Frank knows ALOT of homosexual. You, in contrast, probably know only what you have read in a (questionable) secular text.

    Conclusion: This passage is not about homosexuality, unless you feel you can reduce the word “homosexuality” narrowly to a sex act between two men or two women. You would be extremely ignorant to insist on doing so. I perceive you to be anything but ignorant dear Lars, therefore I fully assume that you would not make this stupidly obvious error.

    Romans Chapter 1: Lar´s homosexual is deeply idolatrous, worships creature/creation rather than God. He burns with lust. He has at some point traded in the desire for women that came naturally to him, for a desire for men even though this was not true to his nature.

    Frank is no more idolatrous (and CERTAINLY no less, cf:my previous post please!!!” ) than Lars´idolatry is. I say this on the basis of apostolic authority based on Romans chapter 1 and 2.

    Frank, as far as he can remember, has NEVER burnt with lust for anyone ever. It looks like this is the usually case for most females as well, whatever that might mean in the current context…. Frank has his sins, but this is not one of them, yet at least… Frank knows ALOT more gays who want to live in monogamy and be disciplined sexually this way. In fact this requires MUCH more discipline, will and self control than it would for any heterosexual contemplating monogamy. There is alot of public evidence for this assertion of mine in fact. This may be evidence of immorality in a certain sense, but it does not exactly scream the word “promiscuous” does it? This does not look to Frank like people who are “burning with lust.” Frank also knows of Gays who DO in fact, “burn with lust”. However, Frank knows alot MORE hetero males who “burn with lust” for females. Literature, films and reality are ample witnesses. Look at what madison avenue does with this besides to manipulate men…..

    Frank has had exactly the same attraction for other men, starting with puppy love at age 4, that Lars has had for girls. Lars made the moral choice for that orientation as consciously as I chose mine. ( I am making the, I assume safe, assumption, that brother Lars has never seriously considered falling in romantic love with another man or having sex with one as part of a romance). So Frank did not at some point decide to trade in his natural attraction to women…..

    According to a clear, non-revisionist reading of the sacred text: Saint Paul is not mentally or verbally singling out homosexuals from the rest of the population when he wrote this. In fact, and to the contrary, the context suggests that he is attempting to do exactly the opposite with morally-proud jewish christians in Rome yes? His central message in Romans 1 and two is: “you are NO different!”

    Frank is gay. Frank does not reflect what this passage describes in any exceptional way. He knows of no homosexuals that fit this description in any way that would not also fit heterosexuals depending on the circumstances (prison, experimentation….). Heterosexuals also have sex with the same gender (eg prison sex and youth who are merely (immorally!) experimenting sexually and are NOT gay, or people who get drunk and do drugs and so do some crazy things. News flash: NONE of these people should be labeled as homosexuals.)

    Conclusion:

    This passage does not decribe homosexuals

    Corinthians and Timothy: These passage enumerate a sin list. Some translations translate words as effeminate (malakoi) and homosexual (arsenokoitia).

    Malakoi can mean weak, morally weak and a lot of things. There is no wy from the context, which is a list, to know exactly what this word means in context. I feel “effeminate” is a strech. I have trouble thinking that God would care about someone having a lisp, liking pink, or having a limp wrist as being a burning moral issue. And I know of a lot of men who are confirmed heterosexuals with families who have these characteristics. This translation is therefore an evil and mischievous one.

    Which brings us to “Arsenokoitia” translated as “homosexual in some recent translations in Corinthians. We don´t know what it means. There are four places to look for what this word means:

    1. Other places in greek literature: This word only appears ONCE in ALL of greek literature of the centuries before and for 3 centuries after Saint Paul. That one place is here.
    2. The context: The context is not helpful. This is a list.
    3. Etymology is also not helpful. (eg the etymology of “lady killer” would be amusingly misleading).
    4. Some say it is an echo of the Septuagint, and can be said to mean something definite. However this is far from a conclusive argument and, in fact , could be used to argue that this word does not translate as “homosexual”. We can go into this more offline if you like. fwsonnek@gmail.com is my direct email brother lars.

    Finally, you still don´t seem to be able to even define what the word “homosexual” or “gay” means in a way that any honest homo would recognize as describing them even remotely. Not even a christian one like me. What good is that really Lars? What is the point of arguing for this?

    As said previously, the very word “homosexual” and “gay” did not exist as referring to homos until the late 1800s. You probably would not accept the definition of this word “homosexual” that is accepted by the APA, the AMA, the ABA and others. So what is it we would be trying to win in an argument here exactly Lars?

    Conclusion: Nothing here can be conclusively said to be about homosexuality. To the contrary.

    If the Bible says that sex should only happen between a man and his wives, that should be an ample framework to explore sexual sinfulness should it not? What then are you contending for to be wrong about homosexuals beyond that?

    Bottom line Lars: I am a homosexual. I do not have sex. What exactly are you saying is my sin in being a homosexual?

    I am asserting that homosexuality, in and of itself, is not a sin. I am asserting that it would be sinful to declare it as such. Prove me wrong from the Holy Scriptures or clear reason derived from Scriptures brother Lars and I will stand corrected.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17639370291865261582 Cindy

    I think Frank’s main point is that there is a distinction between homosexual orientation and activity, and he contends that only the latter is sinful.

    Here’s a definition of heterosexuality that I assume we can all agree on: “an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to the opposite sex.” (Adapted from the American Psychological Association.) Then it follows that we can define homosexuality as: “an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to the same sex.”

    So let’s use the term homosexuality to refer to orientation only, just as we typically use the term heterosexuality in that way. If we are referring to sexual activity, we should make that obvious. Frank agrees with the clear teachings of the Bible that sexual activity outside of the bond of husband and wife is sinful. Extramarital sex is wrong, whether it is heterosexual sex or homosexual sex.

    I have begun to see a shift, even in some conservative Lutheran places, from condemning homosexuality to condemning homosexual behavior. I believe this is exactly what Frank is hoping for and promoting. His argument in this thread strikes me as quite convincing. I trust that Frank is not trying to mislead anyone. However, I am not enough of a Biblical scholar or expert on the original languages to authoritatively evaluate his argument. I am curious to know how others among you wise readers view this issue.

    For now, I’m with Frank. Like he said, prove me wrong from the Holy Scriptures or clear reason derived from Scriptures, and I will stand corrected.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17639370291865261582 Cindy

    I think Frank’s main point is that there is a distinction between homosexual orientation and activity, and he contends that only the latter is sinful.

    Here’s a definition of heterosexuality that I assume we can all agree on: “an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to the opposite sex.” (Adapted from the American Psychological Association.) Then it follows that we can define homosexuality as: “an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to the same sex.”

    So let’s use the term homosexuality to refer to orientation only, just as we typically use the term heterosexuality in that way. If we are referring to sexual activity, we should make that obvious. Frank agrees with the clear teachings of the Bible that sexual activity outside of the bond of husband and wife is sinful. Extramarital sex is wrong, whether it is heterosexual sex or homosexual sex.

    I have begun to see a shift, even in some conservative Lutheran places, from condemning homosexuality to condemning homosexual behavior. I believe this is exactly what Frank is hoping for and promoting. His argument in this thread strikes me as quite convincing. I trust that Frank is not trying to mislead anyone. However, I am not enough of a Biblical scholar or expert on the original languages to authoritatively evaluate his argument. I am curious to know how others among you wise readers view this issue.

    For now, I’m with Frank. Like he said, prove me wrong from the Holy Scriptures or clear reason derived from Scriptures, and I will stand corrected.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    A clarification here Cindy (@16) and Frank (@15) are saying. When we refer to sexual “activity”, we cannot refer merely to physical actions, since Jesus made clear that both the physical and the mental matter equally with regards to sexual sin.

    This is not to say that I disagree with what Frank has said (inasmuch as I can assess it all). There is still clearly room between one’s orientation and one’s mental activity — I can notice that a lady is attractive without lusting after her.

    That said, Frank’s take on “burning with lust” doesn’t really ring true to me — I know women who burn with lust, and I’ve been hit on by enough gay guys to know that they do, too. Seems like it’s a sin many people share, regardless of gender or orientation.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    A clarification here Cindy (@16) and Frank (@15) are saying. When we refer to sexual “activity”, we cannot refer merely to physical actions, since Jesus made clear that both the physical and the mental matter equally with regards to sexual sin.

    This is not to say that I disagree with what Frank has said (inasmuch as I can assess it all). There is still clearly room between one’s orientation and one’s mental activity — I can notice that a lady is attractive without lusting after her.

    That said, Frank’s take on “burning with lust” doesn’t really ring true to me — I know women who burn with lust, and I’ve been hit on by enough gay guys to know that they do, too. Seems like it’s a sin many people share, regardless of gender or orientation.

  • fw

    #17 Todd

    this is the context for my comments:

    #7 Lars: “I can easily find a definition for homosexuality. I find it in Romans 1:27

    Romans 1 may certainly speak to some homosexuals and also some heterosexuals, it does not speak to homosexuality or define it by description or otherwise.

    Lars #14

    “….to find there [in the bible] nothing at all about homosexuality, involves a level of denial that I have a hard time comprehending…… Or saying the Bible has nothing to say about embezzlement, because the word doesn’t appear in Scripture.

    You appear to me to be saying, “Well, the Bible talks about waddling, and quacking, and living in a pond, and having waterproof feathers, but it says nothing at all about ducks.”

    Lars #8

    “fw: Furthermore, let me make my point explicit. If you apply the standard you use to “disappear” sodomy from the list of biblical sins, is there any sin at all that could not be disappeared the in the same way? ”

    “sodomy” means anal sex. I never addressed this in any way in my posts. I am not seeing what he refers to in any of the 7 passages that commonly are asserted to be about homosexuality. Maybe he is saying it is there by logical inferrence? If so he is not telling how that is.

  • fw

    #17 Todd

    this is the context for my comments:

    #7 Lars: “I can easily find a definition for homosexuality. I find it in Romans 1:27

    Romans 1 may certainly speak to some homosexuals and also some heterosexuals, it does not speak to homosexuality or define it by description or otherwise.

    Lars #14

    “….to find there [in the bible] nothing at all about homosexuality, involves a level of denial that I have a hard time comprehending…… Or saying the Bible has nothing to say about embezzlement, because the word doesn’t appear in Scripture.

    You appear to me to be saying, “Well, the Bible talks about waddling, and quacking, and living in a pond, and having waterproof feathers, but it says nothing at all about ducks.”

    Lars #8

    “fw: Furthermore, let me make my point explicit. If you apply the standard you use to “disappear” sodomy from the list of biblical sins, is there any sin at all that could not be disappeared the in the same way? ”

    “sodomy” means anal sex. I never addressed this in any way in my posts. I am not seeing what he refers to in any of the 7 passages that commonly are asserted to be about homosexuality. Maybe he is saying it is there by logical inferrence? If so he is not telling how that is.

  • Paul

    Thank you all for the very clear and thoughtful discussion. Thank you especially, Frank, for bringing a Confessional Lutheranism to the discussion which I have found very lacking even among confessional Lutherans. You have much to offer people like me who are dissatisfied with the current scholarship on the topic yet face these questions in the parish regularly. I would very much like to see a site dedicated to this subject for people like me to come to and ask questions and listen and then respond, etc.

    I have one question that I’m struggling with, Frank: would you agree that we all inherited the consequences of original sin which includes our proclivity for particular deviations from the Divine order to include many different orientations? To ask it in another way: is homosexuality (orientation) a part of God’s original design, or is it something that comes with living in a broken world? For example, some are born (I would say) with a predisposition toward chemical dependancy which, I believe, is the consequence of original sin. So would a genetic disposition toward cancer fall into this group. These are things that God never intended for His people or His creation. Clearly, not everyone who is chemically dependent or fighting cancer did anything at all which was sinful to be in this broken condition; and yet, we can say that it is the result of sin in this world.

    Now, I don’t drink any more and I thank God that my addiction did not cause direct damage to others. But I do believe that my ‘condition’ came to me as an inherited trait, whether genetically or environmentally or however and that while it would be sinful for me to act on that trait, i don’t believe that I have it because of any sin that I myself committed. How does something like this fit into this discussion?

  • Paul

    Thank you all for the very clear and thoughtful discussion. Thank you especially, Frank, for bringing a Confessional Lutheranism to the discussion which I have found very lacking even among confessional Lutherans. You have much to offer people like me who are dissatisfied with the current scholarship on the topic yet face these questions in the parish regularly. I would very much like to see a site dedicated to this subject for people like me to come to and ask questions and listen and then respond, etc.

    I have one question that I’m struggling with, Frank: would you agree that we all inherited the consequences of original sin which includes our proclivity for particular deviations from the Divine order to include many different orientations? To ask it in another way: is homosexuality (orientation) a part of God’s original design, or is it something that comes with living in a broken world? For example, some are born (I would say) with a predisposition toward chemical dependancy which, I believe, is the consequence of original sin. So would a genetic disposition toward cancer fall into this group. These are things that God never intended for His people or His creation. Clearly, not everyone who is chemically dependent or fighting cancer did anything at all which was sinful to be in this broken condition; and yet, we can say that it is the result of sin in this world.

    Now, I don’t drink any more and I thank God that my addiction did not cause direct damage to others. But I do believe that my ‘condition’ came to me as an inherited trait, whether genetically or environmentally or however and that while it would be sinful for me to act on that trait, i don’t believe that I have it because of any sin that I myself committed. How does something like this fit into this discussion?

  • fw

    #19 Paul

    Paul. I think your question is actually the profound question behind the question. Bravo!

    I have struggled with how this all could be curved into a blog. What would be the theme of that blog? and would that theme allow Jesus to increase and us to decrease?

    This is where law and gospel truly meet. The rest is mostly emotionally charged froth with no practical use for “seelsorger” (soul caretaker).

    Your question is a deep one. Really deep We probably need to take this offline fwsonnek@gmail.com

    You mention “Divine Order”. I see people try to define exactly what that looks like and in doing needed to make alot of assumptions and conjectures and logical arguments that are not necessarily biblical. at the same time, I feel that Our Lord´s work could be summarized as He, in His very Persons, restoring the Divine Order to the universe. and our rebirth and sanctification as being the first fruits of the restoration of that “Divine Order.”

    Consider this: But then what is meant by Order? Is “order” here more of an “ecological” idea of things in their proper place and relationship and but yet where a-symetry and “overgrown” has a place? or is it order as in the “order” of an english garden where vines and shrubs are made to conform in ways that vines and shrubs normally do not?

    When Jesus was asked why someone had a birth defect;”is this for the sin of the person or his parents?” His response was “Neither, it was so God would be glorified.” This could mean that God set the scene for a miracle of Jesus, OR that maybe what is defective is how we look at “defects” That God does not see “defect” in a blind person? Or both maybe?

    Consider this: Could it be that in an unfallen world, a good world, that albinoism, hemaproditism, left handedness, children born missing a sense or limb would still exists? and maybe that this would be received as joy and opportunity? Maybe we should see that baby as perfect? maybe that is how God sees that baby?

    consider this: God made the world “good”. he never said me made it “perfect”. Is this “perfect” something we seek after as good legalists and add in as a gloss that our false idols demand?

    Also consider the incarnation: Did Jesus never forget his abc´s ? did he need to “practice to make perfect”? did he sometimes forget and leave his prayer shawl at home? Do we have any idea what “perfect” looks like? Is this even the right question to ask?

    Consider this as well : The opposite of sin/in-equity/un-right-eousness is not goodness/equity/right-ness. It is faith.

    Consider this: Our sexual identity is more indelibly part of our whole and core as humans than is addictive tendencies or lefthandedness or blue eyes. It is in a different, not the same class, I would say. Yet the bible seems to say that we will be a-sexual in the world to come. This suggests that our sexuality is not an indellible unseverable part of being human. There will not be marriage. This needs to be part of the discussion as well does it not?

    I am seeing that what you are asking might be a powerful way to explore law and gospel. and also fraught with potential for error.

    I always ask myself: “How do I know that? Is my opinion conjecture, experience or my social conditioning, or does it actually spring organically and of necessity from some clear passage of scripture or better from reflection on what I call the “Jesus Christ catechetical trifecta”(who He is, what he did, why he did it). ” Anything apart from that is most certainly pernicious if we claim divine authority for that opinion.

  • fw

    #19 Paul

    Paul. I think your question is actually the profound question behind the question. Bravo!

    I have struggled with how this all could be curved into a blog. What would be the theme of that blog? and would that theme allow Jesus to increase and us to decrease?

    This is where law and gospel truly meet. The rest is mostly emotionally charged froth with no practical use for “seelsorger” (soul caretaker).

    Your question is a deep one. Really deep We probably need to take this offline fwsonnek@gmail.com

    You mention “Divine Order”. I see people try to define exactly what that looks like and in doing needed to make alot of assumptions and conjectures and logical arguments that are not necessarily biblical. at the same time, I feel that Our Lord´s work could be summarized as He, in His very Persons, restoring the Divine Order to the universe. and our rebirth and sanctification as being the first fruits of the restoration of that “Divine Order.”

    Consider this: But then what is meant by Order? Is “order” here more of an “ecological” idea of things in their proper place and relationship and but yet where a-symetry and “overgrown” has a place? or is it order as in the “order” of an english garden where vines and shrubs are made to conform in ways that vines and shrubs normally do not?

    When Jesus was asked why someone had a birth defect;”is this for the sin of the person or his parents?” His response was “Neither, it was so God would be glorified.” This could mean that God set the scene for a miracle of Jesus, OR that maybe what is defective is how we look at “defects” That God does not see “defect” in a blind person? Or both maybe?

    Consider this: Could it be that in an unfallen world, a good world, that albinoism, hemaproditism, left handedness, children born missing a sense or limb would still exists? and maybe that this would be received as joy and opportunity? Maybe we should see that baby as perfect? maybe that is how God sees that baby?

    consider this: God made the world “good”. he never said me made it “perfect”. Is this “perfect” something we seek after as good legalists and add in as a gloss that our false idols demand?

    Also consider the incarnation: Did Jesus never forget his abc´s ? did he need to “practice to make perfect”? did he sometimes forget and leave his prayer shawl at home? Do we have any idea what “perfect” looks like? Is this even the right question to ask?

    Consider this as well : The opposite of sin/in-equity/un-right-eousness is not goodness/equity/right-ness. It is faith.

    Consider this: Our sexual identity is more indelibly part of our whole and core as humans than is addictive tendencies or lefthandedness or blue eyes. It is in a different, not the same class, I would say. Yet the bible seems to say that we will be a-sexual in the world to come. This suggests that our sexuality is not an indellible unseverable part of being human. There will not be marriage. This needs to be part of the discussion as well does it not?

    I am seeing that what you are asking might be a powerful way to explore law and gospel. and also fraught with potential for error.

    I always ask myself: “How do I know that? Is my opinion conjecture, experience or my social conditioning, or does it actually spring organically and of necessity from some clear passage of scripture or better from reflection on what I call the “Jesus Christ catechetical trifecta”(who He is, what he did, why he did it). ” Anything apart from that is most certainly pernicious if we claim divine authority for that opinion.

  • fw

    Do I go to scripture to validate what I already “know” in my gut is true. or ….

    do I start with scripture, and allow the word to have it´s way with me?

    This is an ever important question for me. I must confess that I can rarely say that I come as close to perfection in this second approach as I should.

    Frank´s-ego-as-idol?

    More sin to confess.

  • fw

    Do I go to scripture to validate what I already “know” in my gut is true. or ….

    do I start with scripture, and allow the word to have it´s way with me?

    This is an ever important question for me. I must confess that I can rarely say that I come as close to perfection in this second approach as I should.

    Frank´s-ego-as-idol?

    More sin to confess.

  • Paul

    Thank you, Frank, for your thoughtful response. You touch on many subjects which I have been thinking about at this stage of my life & ministry.

    I would envision a blog with each of these topics as a thread along with the Biblical texts you listed in an earlier post. Readers could get your view, see the response of others, and add their own. As moderator, someone would need to keep the threads on topic and move off-topics to their appropriate threat or start a new one. This blog would also require moderation to keep out comments which are intentionally hurtful or judgmental instead of thoughtful. I wonder if in time each thread could reach some consensus? At least each threat would find its focus.

    After 4 years at a Concordia College and 4 years toward the M.Div. and 16 years in parish Ministry and 42 years of reflection on my own life, I have come to firmly believe in the Total Depravity of Man. In particular, I believe that we have no concept of what God’s Divine Order would look like except for general statements about it. Perhaps it’s like what has been said about obscenity: we can’t define it, but we know it when we see it. Or, perhaps we can say what it isn’t because we’ve experienced what it isn’t but have not experienced what it is.

    It interests me that the Holy Spirit does not spend much time describing either Eden or Heaven. They are probably too far from our experience/comprehension for us to fathom; and we would probably end up criticizing God’s design.

    When I think of “order” in this context, I prefer to think of musical harmony where “everything is as it should be”. Could that include dissonance as part of the composer’s plan? I guess I’d have to hear it first with new-creation ears which means that I can’t answer that from this side of heaven. In the garden, Adam and Eve did not know evil until they brought it upon themselves. Original sin means, in my imperfect definition, that we know and experience evil without even bringing it on ourselves. Instead, we call ‘good’ what is evil and we call ‘evil’ what is good — and, I must add, are incapable or telling the difference without God’s instruction.

    The Holy Spirit has not given us an exhaustive list of all the things which are or could be used for evil. It seems sufficient for the Holy Spirit to convince us that we are sinful, broken creatures in need of a Savior. This is the Law’s second use. Perhaps knowing the true extent of our depravity would lead us to great despair. Think of the anguish David carried over just one unconfessed sin! So clearly Scripture does not attempt to ‘fix’ us or even suggest – quite the opposite – that we could fix ourselves.

    So what do I do and how do I teach as a Scriptural, Confessional pastor when asked about homosexuality (and I am regularly asked by men and women of great faith who are struggling with loved ones who are self-described homosexuals) ? I find that I must first point out that we are all born sinful and in need of salvation. We all daily sin much. We all stand condemned by our own fault and redeemed by Christ.

    Second, – and here is one place I struggle with finding the right words – I want to describe how every one of us struggles with temptation. We all struggle with that line between temptation which comes to us from outside (even Jesus was tempted) and temptation which we bring upon ourselves, our inability to keep from sinning, and then our willful sins. Consequently, I end up drawing a distinction between thoughts and behaviors. But I notice that then I’ve slipped into using a first-use of the Law. Behaviors would be first use of the Law. Spiritual condition would be second use of the Law. We don’t even get into third use until we’ve agreed on first and second. Is this at all helpful? Where am I going wrong on this? Should parents be satisfied if their children refrain from sex outside of marriage? (notice that I did not isolate homosexual sex) How should parents handle the sense of ‘depravity’ that is associated with homosexuality while all along we are, every one of us, totally depraved and unable to do anything which is righteous – even if we are monogomous. Should society not see sequential polygamy with the same sense of depravity? Ahhrg!

    Too many subjects here. I need to take them one at a time somehow. So imagine a blog with scriptural topics and confessional topics and practical topics and historical topics listed down the sides with an empty space in the center of the page for viewing and commenting on individual topics.

    Thank you for your time and consideration. There is too much here for me to touch on it all in one post or one day or perhaps even one lifetime! But I suspect that you are in the best position of anyone I’ve met to moderate such a discussion among Lutherans in our day. We need a place to listen, reflect, ask questions, and try out our thoughts because it isn’t happening in our theological journals or circuit pastoral meetings.

    A fellow redeemed:
    Paul

  • Paul

    Thank you, Frank, for your thoughtful response. You touch on many subjects which I have been thinking about at this stage of my life & ministry.

    I would envision a blog with each of these topics as a thread along with the Biblical texts you listed in an earlier post. Readers could get your view, see the response of others, and add their own. As moderator, someone would need to keep the threads on topic and move off-topics to their appropriate threat or start a new one. This blog would also require moderation to keep out comments which are intentionally hurtful or judgmental instead of thoughtful. I wonder if in time each thread could reach some consensus? At least each threat would find its focus.

    After 4 years at a Concordia College and 4 years toward the M.Div. and 16 years in parish Ministry and 42 years of reflection on my own life, I have come to firmly believe in the Total Depravity of Man. In particular, I believe that we have no concept of what God’s Divine Order would look like except for general statements about it. Perhaps it’s like what has been said about obscenity: we can’t define it, but we know it when we see it. Or, perhaps we can say what it isn’t because we’ve experienced what it isn’t but have not experienced what it is.

    It interests me that the Holy Spirit does not spend much time describing either Eden or Heaven. They are probably too far from our experience/comprehension for us to fathom; and we would probably end up criticizing God’s design.

    When I think of “order” in this context, I prefer to think of musical harmony where “everything is as it should be”. Could that include dissonance as part of the composer’s plan? I guess I’d have to hear it first with new-creation ears which means that I can’t answer that from this side of heaven. In the garden, Adam and Eve did not know evil until they brought it upon themselves. Original sin means, in my imperfect definition, that we know and experience evil without even bringing it on ourselves. Instead, we call ‘good’ what is evil and we call ‘evil’ what is good — and, I must add, are incapable or telling the difference without God’s instruction.

    The Holy Spirit has not given us an exhaustive list of all the things which are or could be used for evil. It seems sufficient for the Holy Spirit to convince us that we are sinful, broken creatures in need of a Savior. This is the Law’s second use. Perhaps knowing the true extent of our depravity would lead us to great despair. Think of the anguish David carried over just one unconfessed sin! So clearly Scripture does not attempt to ‘fix’ us or even suggest – quite the opposite – that we could fix ourselves.

    So what do I do and how do I teach as a Scriptural, Confessional pastor when asked about homosexuality (and I am regularly asked by men and women of great faith who are struggling with loved ones who are self-described homosexuals) ? I find that I must first point out that we are all born sinful and in need of salvation. We all daily sin much. We all stand condemned by our own fault and redeemed by Christ.

    Second, – and here is one place I struggle with finding the right words – I want to describe how every one of us struggles with temptation. We all struggle with that line between temptation which comes to us from outside (even Jesus was tempted) and temptation which we bring upon ourselves, our inability to keep from sinning, and then our willful sins. Consequently, I end up drawing a distinction between thoughts and behaviors. But I notice that then I’ve slipped into using a first-use of the Law. Behaviors would be first use of the Law. Spiritual condition would be second use of the Law. We don’t even get into third use until we’ve agreed on first and second. Is this at all helpful? Where am I going wrong on this? Should parents be satisfied if their children refrain from sex outside of marriage? (notice that I did not isolate homosexual sex) How should parents handle the sense of ‘depravity’ that is associated with homosexuality while all along we are, every one of us, totally depraved and unable to do anything which is righteous – even if we are monogomous. Should society not see sequential polygamy with the same sense of depravity? Ahhrg!

    Too many subjects here. I need to take them one at a time somehow. So imagine a blog with scriptural topics and confessional topics and practical topics and historical topics listed down the sides with an empty space in the center of the page for viewing and commenting on individual topics.

    Thank you for your time and consideration. There is too much here for me to touch on it all in one post or one day or perhaps even one lifetime! But I suspect that you are in the best position of anyone I’ve met to moderate such a discussion among Lutherans in our day. We need a place to listen, reflect, ask questions, and try out our thoughts because it isn’t happening in our theological journals or circuit pastoral meetings.

    A fellow redeemed:
    Paul

  • fw

    We start as the holy apostle saint james suggests. we confess our sins to one another and trust that we will be healed.

    We look to the crucified one and look for him to increase and us to decrease by our death and resurrection hidden in His.

    There is really no way to get around. It mus always come back to this.

    The rest is distraction, and is maybe not for us to know.

    We often seek to know in order to control. The tendency probably comes from the first eating of that fruit in the garden…..

    shoot me an email in confidence please paul. we can see what can be done. I don´t trust myself to do what you suggest alone. It is a great responsibility. I do not have a public call or office.

    Thanks for your kind words brother Paul.

    fwsonnek@gmail.com

  • fw

    We start as the holy apostle saint james suggests. we confess our sins to one another and trust that we will be healed.

    We look to the crucified one and look for him to increase and us to decrease by our death and resurrection hidden in His.

    There is really no way to get around. It mus always come back to this.

    The rest is distraction, and is maybe not for us to know.

    We often seek to know in order to control. The tendency probably comes from the first eating of that fruit in the garden…..

    shoot me an email in confidence please paul. we can see what can be done. I don´t trust myself to do what you suggest alone. It is a great responsibility. I do not have a public call or office.

    Thanks for your kind words brother Paul.

    fwsonnek@gmail.com

  • fw

    The Lord´s Peace be with you Pastor Paul.

  • fw

    The Lord´s Peace be with you Pastor Paul.


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