May I? or Can I?

In discussing the legal debate over gay marriage, Michael W. Hannon cites an important, but generally ignored distinction:

Think back to the embarrassing and obnoxious response your teacher used to give when a student would ask, “Can I go to the bathroom?” “I don’t know,” she would say, “Can you?” The child’s mistake lay in confusing “Can I?”—an interrogative dealing with possibility—with “May I?”—which pertains rather to permissibility. Instead of asking whether he was allowed to go to the bathroom, the confused pupil accidentally asked if he was capable of that feat at all. Yet childhood errors have a way of coming back to haunt us, and that is precisely what has happened in the debate over redefining marriage.

Olson, Boies, and their allies have systematically confused a debate about metaphysical possibility with one about political permissibility. They are arguing that our government ought to let same-sex couples marry, and they are convinced that their opponents are arguing over the same point, just on the other side of the issue.

But that is a gross mischaracterization of the disagreement. For our position is not that the government should refuse to let such couples marry, but rather that the government is utterly impotent with regard to this question. Our response to same-sex couples desirous of marriage is not “You may not,” but rather, “You cannot.” We do not seek to bar anyone from marriage; we just believe marriage is a union that is necessarily and by its very nature heterosexual. Maybe we are right, or maybe Olson and Boies are. But regardless, the question to be settled in this debate is not whether to bring a latent potency into actuality, but whether there is in fact any potency present in the first place.

Framing the issue as a “May I?” dispute allows the superlawyers their stirring rhetoric about prejudice and civil rights. But, more perniciously, this mischaracterization also allows them to conceal the circularity of their argument for those discrimination claims.

Boies and Olson’s underlying judgment is that, because same-sex couples could get married if only the government would let them, marriage is therefore not necessarily a heterosexual institution. And at that point, the pair understandably concludes that there remains no principled reason to oppose the legal redefinition of marriage, since they have established that sexual difference has no bearing on the nature of marriage at all. In Yoshino’s words, they think that, shorn of any principled objections, the adversaries to their policy must be motivated merely by “pride, prejudice, and fear.”

But their argument presumes exactly what it was meant to prove. If you begin by saying that it is within the government’s power to extend marriage to same-sex couples, then of course sexual difference is not an essential feature of marriage. If you frame this as a “May I?” disagreement, then you necessarily treat the “Can I?” question as already settled. But that line of thinking fatally begs the question, because the “Can I?” question is not settled at all.

For if those of us who oppose the legal enshrinement of so-called “same-sex marriage” are correct, then the government can no more make same-sex couples married than it can make pi equal to three. In other words, no judicial or legislative fiat can make two men married if marriage is by its very nature heterosexual. And since that is the true point of contention in this debate, presuming that the government has the power to extend marriage to same-sex couples cannot serve as the starting point for discussion.

via The Abolition of Man-and-Woman: On Marriage, Grammar, and Legal Strategy | Public Discourse.

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.

  • Pete

    Well put. Keep your hands off my dictionary.

  • Pete

    Well put. Keep your hands off my dictionary.

  • James Sarver

    “For if those of us who oppose the legal enshrinement of so-called “same-sex marriage” are correct, then the government can no more make same-sex couples married than it can make pi equal to three.”

    But we can always have fun pretending, eh? We should repeal the laws of thermodynamics as well. Terribly inconvenient.

  • James Sarver

    “For if those of us who oppose the legal enshrinement of so-called “same-sex marriage” are correct, then the government can no more make same-sex couples married than it can make pi equal to three.”

    But we can always have fun pretending, eh? We should repeal the laws of thermodynamics as well. Terribly inconvenient.

  • Michael B.

    Gay marriage is much more a reflection of changing attitudes about homosexuality than about marriage. If you want to see a substantial redefinition of the institution of marriage, think of things like no-fault divorce laws. Or try another: Women working outside the home, which laws have made much easier. Compared to things like this, gay marriage is really small potatoes.

  • Michael B.

    Gay marriage is much more a reflection of changing attitudes about homosexuality than about marriage. If you want to see a substantial redefinition of the institution of marriage, think of things like no-fault divorce laws. Or try another: Women working outside the home, which laws have made much easier. Compared to things like this, gay marriage is really small potatoes.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    marriage = union = fusion of gametes = human beings = one flesh

    or

    marriage = legal status = entitlements

    From its foundation, the legal status of marriage is to protect the children. In the course of so doing, the parties are obligated and that obligation extended to the community. However, the community is being gypped when two partners just want to scam the system for their own benefit not their children’s.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    marriage = union = fusion of gametes = human beings = one flesh

    or

    marriage = legal status = entitlements

    From its foundation, the legal status of marriage is to protect the children. In the course of so doing, the parties are obligated and that obligation extended to the community. However, the community is being gypped when two partners just want to scam the system for their own benefit not their children’s.

  • Trey

    Michael’s reasoning is because of one misuse of marriage we should endorse all abuses. Any attack on marriage is big. Did you read the article? You are making the same point the Homosecularist are: government may give the right, yet this doesn’t make it right.

  • Trey

    Michael’s reasoning is because of one misuse of marriage we should endorse all abuses. Any attack on marriage is big. Did you read the article? You are making the same point the Homosecularist are: government may give the right, yet this doesn’t make it right.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Michael B is right. No fault divorce is what destroyed marriage. Gay marriage has the potential of affecting what 0.001% of the population. The world’s smallest potatoes. The real threat is to kids being taught this crap in school. We take for granted that we were sheltered from this stuff when we were kids. I feel sorry for today’s kids because of what we allow them to hear and see.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Michael B is right. No fault divorce is what destroyed marriage. Gay marriage has the potential of affecting what 0.001% of the population. The world’s smallest potatoes. The real threat is to kids being taught this crap in school. We take for granted that we were sheltered from this stuff when we were kids. I feel sorry for today’s kids because of what we allow them to hear and see.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Re: gay “Marriage,” we cannot and we may not.

    Our authority on the matter is Holy Writ, period.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Re: gay “Marriage,” we cannot and we may not.

    Our authority on the matter is Holy Writ, period.

  • reg

    A couple of thoughts. I think a little 2K analysis is helpful. The government is in the business of allocating rights and duties and as such (at least in our country) is responsive tot he will of the people or their representatives . The confessional church is a different matter it is there to proclaim the Gospel and to be an outpost of the kingdom to come in this world. So what is important is less what the government defines marriage as, but rather what the churches do. No one is forcing confessional churches to redefine marriage in ways that contradict Scripture. The government can define what it wants, set up tax policy or other activity as it deems fit. This is Caesar’s world. The church must remain true to scripture and recognize and strengths what it views as true marriage.
    Second what Michael said. Divorce, adultery, illegitimacy, delayed family making, etc. are far more deleterious than gay marriage to the strength of marriages generally and for societal well being.
    Third, lets get real, this horse has left the barn. Now that 3 states have voted (not judges, citizens) for gay marriage we cannot undo this. Three years ago I predicted to my Pastor that in 10 years gay marriage would be the law of the land because the battle had been lost. I stand by that prediction and may have even been too conservative in my guess. I am not willing to waste any more effort/psychic energy opposing that which is inevitable. (Look at the polls on the attitude of the young on this issue and tell me how you reverse it.) I would rather stand guard in front of the Church and protect my true homeland.

  • reg

    A couple of thoughts. I think a little 2K analysis is helpful. The government is in the business of allocating rights and duties and as such (at least in our country) is responsive tot he will of the people or their representatives . The confessional church is a different matter it is there to proclaim the Gospel and to be an outpost of the kingdom to come in this world. So what is important is less what the government defines marriage as, but rather what the churches do. No one is forcing confessional churches to redefine marriage in ways that contradict Scripture. The government can define what it wants, set up tax policy or other activity as it deems fit. This is Caesar’s world. The church must remain true to scripture and recognize and strengths what it views as true marriage.
    Second what Michael said. Divorce, adultery, illegitimacy, delayed family making, etc. are far more deleterious than gay marriage to the strength of marriages generally and for societal well being.
    Third, lets get real, this horse has left the barn. Now that 3 states have voted (not judges, citizens) for gay marriage we cannot undo this. Three years ago I predicted to my Pastor that in 10 years gay marriage would be the law of the land because the battle had been lost. I stand by that prediction and may have even been too conservative in my guess. I am not willing to waste any more effort/psychic energy opposing that which is inevitable. (Look at the polls on the attitude of the young on this issue and tell me how you reverse it.) I would rather stand guard in front of the Church and protect my true homeland.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Pretty soon, we will see people demand that square shaped objects be treated as equivalent to round shaped objects.

    After all, it’s just bigotry and prejudice that prevents automobile manufacturers from putting square wheels on cars.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Pretty soon, we will see people demand that square shaped objects be treated as equivalent to round shaped objects.

    After all, it’s just bigotry and prejudice that prevents automobile manufacturers from putting square wheels on cars.

  • helen

    reg @ 8
    No one is forcing confessional churches to redefine marriage in ways that contradict Scripture.

    YET! The next thing will be laws against “hate speech” extended to the pulpit and forbidding Pastors to teach that Scripture denounces homosexual behavior.
    Already, we have people on another list, who claim to be Lutheran… LCMS even… complaining about that “hateful” attitude. If the Pastors aren’t persecuted by the law, they may be harassed into avoiding the topic by their own members!

    If the .01% could “do their thing” and leave the rest alone, that would be their sin. But the greater sin is teaching children in our schools that this should be approved of (not just tolerated). [Something might be said here about the complaisance and complicity of adults in allowing that teaching.]
    Allowing the “gay” adoption of children, who, whatever they may have been in a straight environment, are more likely to grow up to be homosexual because they have been carefully taught, is also a sin.

    [However, the ease of divorce and the church's acceptance of divorce and remarriage has certainly given the gay community a club to beat us with, for our hypocrisy. The "straight" community has its own list of sins.]

  • helen

    reg @ 8
    No one is forcing confessional churches to redefine marriage in ways that contradict Scripture.

    YET! The next thing will be laws against “hate speech” extended to the pulpit and forbidding Pastors to teach that Scripture denounces homosexual behavior.
    Already, we have people on another list, who claim to be Lutheran… LCMS even… complaining about that “hateful” attitude. If the Pastors aren’t persecuted by the law, they may be harassed into avoiding the topic by their own members!

    If the .01% could “do their thing” and leave the rest alone, that would be their sin. But the greater sin is teaching children in our schools that this should be approved of (not just tolerated). [Something might be said here about the complaisance and complicity of adults in allowing that teaching.]
    Allowing the “gay” adoption of children, who, whatever they may have been in a straight environment, are more likely to grow up to be homosexual because they have been carefully taught, is also a sin.

    [However, the ease of divorce and the church's acceptance of divorce and remarriage has certainly given the gay community a club to beat us with, for our hypocrisy. The "straight" community has its own list of sins.]

  • Jim_777

    I’ve tried to make a similar point with advocates of “gay marriage.” It’s simply a physical impossibility. Two or more members of the same gender simply cannot be married. I guess the government can call any arrangement a “marriage” if it so chooses, but that doesn’t make it so. God is quite clear: one man and one woman become one flesh through marriage.

  • Jim_777

    I’ve tried to make a similar point with advocates of “gay marriage.” It’s simply a physical impossibility. Two or more members of the same gender simply cannot be married. I guess the government can call any arrangement a “marriage” if it so chooses, but that doesn’t make it so. God is quite clear: one man and one woman become one flesh through marriage.

  • DonS

    This issue has been seriously miscast by the homosexual rights lobby to assert that they are being “denied” their right to marry, when in fact they are free to do whatever they want. The only thing they are denied, in most states, is the right to the legal status of marriage for the purpose of claiming certain benefits under the tax code and a statutory status that otherwise must be created under contract (such as intestate estate transfer, etc.). In a number of states, they even obtain these same benefits under the label “civil union”, so that all they are actually being denied is the statutory label of “marriage” (though they are, of course, free to call themselves “married” in all states). Their insistence is in their right to force society to sanction and recognize their relationships under longstanding marriage laws. Sometimes pro-marriage advocates get caught up in the rhetoric and fall into the trap of arguing the issue on the homosexual lobby’s terms, but in fact this is the reality.

    Of course, society is free to decide to recognize homosexual relationships under the marriage laws if it wants to, using the democratic process. If duly elected legislators vote to do so, or if the people pass an initiative to do so, fine. I would oppose it, on moral grounds, but would recognize its legality if passed. My beef is when they seek to force their way through the courts, under the guise that somehow homosexual marriage is a “constitutional right”.

    To the extent that the author helps to clarify the issue as being mere government recognition of an already permitted activity, the article is helpful. No one on the pro-traditional marriage side is prohibiting anyone else from doing anything. Only those on the pro-gay marriage side, to the extent that they use the courts to force society’s hand, are seeking to prohibit the people from their right to determine what they want to recognize.

  • DonS

    This issue has been seriously miscast by the homosexual rights lobby to assert that they are being “denied” their right to marry, when in fact they are free to do whatever they want. The only thing they are denied, in most states, is the right to the legal status of marriage for the purpose of claiming certain benefits under the tax code and a statutory status that otherwise must be created under contract (such as intestate estate transfer, etc.). In a number of states, they even obtain these same benefits under the label “civil union”, so that all they are actually being denied is the statutory label of “marriage” (though they are, of course, free to call themselves “married” in all states). Their insistence is in their right to force society to sanction and recognize their relationships under longstanding marriage laws. Sometimes pro-marriage advocates get caught up in the rhetoric and fall into the trap of arguing the issue on the homosexual lobby’s terms, but in fact this is the reality.

    Of course, society is free to decide to recognize homosexual relationships under the marriage laws if it wants to, using the democratic process. If duly elected legislators vote to do so, or if the people pass an initiative to do so, fine. I would oppose it, on moral grounds, but would recognize its legality if passed. My beef is when they seek to force their way through the courts, under the guise that somehow homosexual marriage is a “constitutional right”.

    To the extent that the author helps to clarify the issue as being mere government recognition of an already permitted activity, the article is helpful. No one on the pro-traditional marriage side is prohibiting anyone else from doing anything. Only those on the pro-gay marriage side, to the extent that they use the courts to force society’s hand, are seeking to prohibit the people from their right to determine what they want to recognize.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ah, I see. So government literally cannot, try however it may, declare that two men are married.

    Well, then, problem solved! There is nothing here for those opposed to same-sex marriage to fight. They are opposed to a thing that cannot exist. They win! And whatever it is that the governments in Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Iowa, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington are doing, it is, by definition, not marriage. QED.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ah, I see. So government literally cannot, try however it may, declare that two men are married.

    Well, then, problem solved! There is nothing here for those opposed to same-sex marriage to fight. They are opposed to a thing that cannot exist. They win! And whatever it is that the governments in Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Iowa, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington are doing, it is, by definition, not marriage. QED.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@4):

    From its foundation, the legal status of marriage is to protect the children.

    Oh, really? Fascinating. Because most Christians, at least, seem to hold to the notion that marriage was instituted by God, and you can read about this in Genesis 2. Let’s read it and enjoy all the references to protecting children, shall we?

    The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” … But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

    Huh, that’s odd. I read that whole passage — the one Jesus refers to when giving his discourse on marriage — and I didn’t see children anywhere in it. It talks about the woman helping the man, and about the man not being alone, but God forgot to mention how the whole point was really all about protecting children. Maybe it’s in a footnote in your translation?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG (@4):

    From its foundation, the legal status of marriage is to protect the children.

    Oh, really? Fascinating. Because most Christians, at least, seem to hold to the notion that marriage was instituted by God, and you can read about this in Genesis 2. Let’s read it and enjoy all the references to protecting children, shall we?

    The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” … But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

    Huh, that’s odd. I read that whole passage — the one Jesus refers to when giving his discourse on marriage — and I didn’t see children anywhere in it. It talks about the woman helping the man, and about the man not being alone, but God forgot to mention how the whole point was really all about protecting children. Maybe it’s in a footnote in your translation?

  • kerner

    The thing is that sg is more correct that you, tODD and J. Dean, think. The fact is that marriage has existed in some form in every organized society (even the most crudely organized) in recorded history. The overwhelming majority of married people in history have not understood nor recognized “Holy Writ” nor the Book of Genesis, and have had no clue about the God who inspired these. Yet marriage has always been a heterosexual union, even in places like ancient Greece and modern Afghanistan that approve(d) of homosexual unions and even institutionalized them. The point being that, even though these people thought homosexual relationships were just fine, they knew that marriage was something it takes a man and a woman to create.

    So, if marriage only exists because the Bible declares that it should, why were all these people (which have to be well over 90% of the people born since 4,500 BC or so) who never heard of the Bible or the Triune God, able to figure out that marriage was a heterosexual thing?

    I submit that it is because sg is right. Marriage as an institution exists universally throughout human history because of the nature of human reproduction. I add to sg’s analysis that it was, and is, not just for the protection of children, but of women too.

    Human child birth is a traumatic and disabling event for the females of our species. Until very recently, it was very often fatally traumatic. Unlike most species whose females can lay an egg or drop a calf and then just go about their business, women are lucky to be alive after child birth, and they need someone to care for them and provide for them and protect them until they can get up and around again.

    Add to that the commitment of time and resources necessary to raise a human child to self-sustaining adulthood. Even in the most primitive societies we are talking about well over a decade of care, and there is no way one person will be usually able to provide for and protect a human child by herself for all that time. Once again, no other species requires this kind of commitment to raise its young.

    Therefore, it is ablolutely deduceable by reason, written on our hearts, obvious as can be that there has to be some sort of social institution to provide all this care and protection for women and children, or women will refuse to have sex (with men anyway) and the human race will cease to exist. And the obvious person to get the responsibility for providing for and protecting his children and their mother is the man who fathered those children. And the reason that marriage has to be a lifetime commitment is because (assuming that a couple produces multiple children over the wife’s child bearing years) by the time that you have all your children raised to self sustaining adulthood, the parents’ productive adult life is almost over.

    The institution of marriage as we know it exists, and has universally existed all this time, because children require such an extraordinary amount of care for such a long time and because child birth and mothering is such a truamatic and time consuming project for women. If it were not for these fundamental facts, marriage as we know it would not exist.

    I do not see this is contradicting the Biblical/divine foundation of marriage. Because, God is the author of the fundamental facts that lead to the anthropological need for marriage.

    What is weakening marriage today in modern industrial societies is the creation of institutions that are taking over for the family as a means of addressing the issues that were formally addressed by the family pretty much alone. Where at one time the family had a great interest in whom it’s members married, and where at one time picking a good mate was the difference between financial security and devastating poverty, marrying for superficial reasons such as physical attraction or hearts and flowers crushes is a much safer course to take, and blowing off ones mate for a new and more physically attractive, or more emotionally lovey-dovey, mate is much easier.

    Why get married when the government will help you support your child and provide care for that child while you are out working? Men can cruise by as sperm donors and leave when the attraction wears off, with no harm done. The government will even chase dad down and make sure he kicks in financially from afar. Every state in the Union has a child support department that does this. And in Wisconsin it is not even necessary for there to be state aid involved for the department to take action. No fault divorce is less of a problem than the fact that we have so organized our society that people don’t really NEED marriage at all.

    So, is it any wonder that people have now lost sight of what marriage fundamentally is, and have confused marriage with one long episode of the Dating Game?

  • kerner

    The thing is that sg is more correct that you, tODD and J. Dean, think. The fact is that marriage has existed in some form in every organized society (even the most crudely organized) in recorded history. The overwhelming majority of married people in history have not understood nor recognized “Holy Writ” nor the Book of Genesis, and have had no clue about the God who inspired these. Yet marriage has always been a heterosexual union, even in places like ancient Greece and modern Afghanistan that approve(d) of homosexual unions and even institutionalized them. The point being that, even though these people thought homosexual relationships were just fine, they knew that marriage was something it takes a man and a woman to create.

    So, if marriage only exists because the Bible declares that it should, why were all these people (which have to be well over 90% of the people born since 4,500 BC or so) who never heard of the Bible or the Triune God, able to figure out that marriage was a heterosexual thing?

    I submit that it is because sg is right. Marriage as an institution exists universally throughout human history because of the nature of human reproduction. I add to sg’s analysis that it was, and is, not just for the protection of children, but of women too.

    Human child birth is a traumatic and disabling event for the females of our species. Until very recently, it was very often fatally traumatic. Unlike most species whose females can lay an egg or drop a calf and then just go about their business, women are lucky to be alive after child birth, and they need someone to care for them and provide for them and protect them until they can get up and around again.

    Add to that the commitment of time and resources necessary to raise a human child to self-sustaining adulthood. Even in the most primitive societies we are talking about well over a decade of care, and there is no way one person will be usually able to provide for and protect a human child by herself for all that time. Once again, no other species requires this kind of commitment to raise its young.

    Therefore, it is ablolutely deduceable by reason, written on our hearts, obvious as can be that there has to be some sort of social institution to provide all this care and protection for women and children, or women will refuse to have sex (with men anyway) and the human race will cease to exist. And the obvious person to get the responsibility for providing for and protecting his children and their mother is the man who fathered those children. And the reason that marriage has to be a lifetime commitment is because (assuming that a couple produces multiple children over the wife’s child bearing years) by the time that you have all your children raised to self sustaining adulthood, the parents’ productive adult life is almost over.

    The institution of marriage as we know it exists, and has universally existed all this time, because children require such an extraordinary amount of care for such a long time and because child birth and mothering is such a truamatic and time consuming project for women. If it were not for these fundamental facts, marriage as we know it would not exist.

    I do not see this is contradicting the Biblical/divine foundation of marriage. Because, God is the author of the fundamental facts that lead to the anthropological need for marriage.

    What is weakening marriage today in modern industrial societies is the creation of institutions that are taking over for the family as a means of addressing the issues that were formally addressed by the family pretty much alone. Where at one time the family had a great interest in whom it’s members married, and where at one time picking a good mate was the difference between financial security and devastating poverty, marrying for superficial reasons such as physical attraction or hearts and flowers crushes is a much safer course to take, and blowing off ones mate for a new and more physically attractive, or more emotionally lovey-dovey, mate is much easier.

    Why get married when the government will help you support your child and provide care for that child while you are out working? Men can cruise by as sperm donors and leave when the attraction wears off, with no harm done. The government will even chase dad down and make sure he kicks in financially from afar. Every state in the Union has a child support department that does this. And in Wisconsin it is not even necessary for there to be state aid involved for the department to take action. No fault divorce is less of a problem than the fact that we have so organized our society that people don’t really NEED marriage at all.

    So, is it any wonder that people have now lost sight of what marriage fundamentally is, and have confused marriage with one long episode of the Dating Game?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @14

    For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

    Like I said, and you quoted, the purpose of marriage is children, aka the one flesh that the two become.

    united with his wife = gametes fuse

    one flesh = fertilized egg, the new person

    The laws regarding marriage are for the protection of children and their rights. A man can divorce his wife, not his children.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @14

    For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

    Like I said, and you quoted, the purpose of marriage is children, aka the one flesh that the two become.

    united with his wife = gametes fuse

    one flesh = fertilized egg, the new person

    The laws regarding marriage are for the protection of children and their rights. A man can divorce his wife, not his children.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    A piece of paper that entitles someone to their partner’s employer provided insurance is about as far from the original intent of marriage as you can get. Marriage is about family, not friendship per se. Homosexual partnerships cannot create families in the biological sense. So the whole thing is just silly. May as well marry your dog.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    A piece of paper that entitles someone to their partner’s employer provided insurance is about as far from the original intent of marriage as you can get. Marriage is about family, not friendship per se. Homosexual partnerships cannot create families in the biological sense. So the whole thing is just silly. May as well marry your dog.

  • Lou G

    I tend to agree in part with Reg #8.
    From my perspective, there is a huge Two Kingdom division issue on this topic.
    Theologically, according to the moral law of God, the government cannot grant marriage to anyone, nor define marriage as anything outside of the holy Scriptures.
    However, I would submit that from a civil standpoint, that the civil government can legally grant a form of ‘civil union’ (which the government currently calls marriage) to its citizens, based on societal demand in order to govern partnerships, spousal rights, custody issues, access to hospital visitations, etc.,etc…
    The Church universal mucked this up all the way back at the beginning by the muddling the roles of church and state as it applies to the institution of marriage.
    Another illustration: a faithful church would not acknowledge or administer a marriage between a male elder and a practicing Muslim woman, but the government doesn’t care about the fact that they’re unequally yoked and would have no problem doing so.
    Granted, the analogy is not perfectly parallel to homosexual marriage. But it helps to illustrate that the Church long, long ago gave away the right to define marriage to the civil government when our forefathers wrongfully co-mingled the church and state divide and 2K distinction.

  • Lou G

    I tend to agree in part with Reg #8.
    From my perspective, there is a huge Two Kingdom division issue on this topic.
    Theologically, according to the moral law of God, the government cannot grant marriage to anyone, nor define marriage as anything outside of the holy Scriptures.
    However, I would submit that from a civil standpoint, that the civil government can legally grant a form of ‘civil union’ (which the government currently calls marriage) to its citizens, based on societal demand in order to govern partnerships, spousal rights, custody issues, access to hospital visitations, etc.,etc…
    The Church universal mucked this up all the way back at the beginning by the muddling the roles of church and state as it applies to the institution of marriage.
    Another illustration: a faithful church would not acknowledge or administer a marriage between a male elder and a practicing Muslim woman, but the government doesn’t care about the fact that they’re unequally yoked and would have no problem doing so.
    Granted, the analogy is not perfectly parallel to homosexual marriage. But it helps to illustrate that the Church long, long ago gave away the right to define marriage to the civil government when our forefathers wrongfully co-mingled the church and state divide and 2K distinction.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    These sorts of things may be helpful to the extent they make clear where we stand in Western nations like America.

    Churches need to have plans in place to respond when these social attitudes are translated into government policies that restrict freedom of religion.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    These sorts of things may be helpful to the extent they make clear where we stand in Western nations like America.

    Churches need to have plans in place to respond when these social attitudes are translated into government policies that restrict freedom of religion.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    A point to be made: from gay “marriage” being legalized it will only be a matter of time before the state will start forcing the church to recognize it, be that in the form of forcing churches to open their doors to homosexuals for their abominable “ceremonies” (Don’t laugh, it’s already been brought to court once), or in forcing Christian business owners to recognize these in their doling out of employee benefits.

    I get the Two Kingdoms thing, but at the same time there is a point where we will, with Peter, be asked whether we will obey God or obey man.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    A point to be made: from gay “marriage” being legalized it will only be a matter of time before the state will start forcing the church to recognize it, be that in the form of forcing churches to open their doors to homosexuals for their abominable “ceremonies” (Don’t laugh, it’s already been brought to court once), or in forcing Christian business owners to recognize these in their doling out of employee benefits.

    I get the Two Kingdoms thing, but at the same time there is a point where we will, with Peter, be asked whether we will obey God or obey man.

  • kerner

    Lou G @18

    What I was trying to say before is that I think marriage is part of the left hand kingdom. It is not something that only the Church does and never has been. Abraham was married to Sarah before God said one word to him. When St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians about how wives and husbands ought to relate to each other, he was writing to people who had gotten married before they had ever heard of Jesus Christ. If you had told any of them that only the Church could define marriage they would have laughed in your face. Every pagan society knew what marriage was and didn’t need the Bible to define it.

    I am NOT saying that marriage is not a divinely created institution; it is. But what you are saying is tantamount to saying all the unbelievers in Asia, all 3-4 Billion of them, aren’t really married, because they have no understanding of Scripture. And I don’t know how you can say that. Those unbelieving Asians who are married, ARE married. And it was their left hand kingdom that made it so. Because they have no understanding of the right hand kingdom at all.

  • kerner

    Lou G @18

    What I was trying to say before is that I think marriage is part of the left hand kingdom. It is not something that only the Church does and never has been. Abraham was married to Sarah before God said one word to him. When St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians about how wives and husbands ought to relate to each other, he was writing to people who had gotten married before they had ever heard of Jesus Christ. If you had told any of them that only the Church could define marriage they would have laughed in your face. Every pagan society knew what marriage was and didn’t need the Bible to define it.

    I am NOT saying that marriage is not a divinely created institution; it is. But what you are saying is tantamount to saying all the unbelievers in Asia, all 3-4 Billion of them, aren’t really married, because they have no understanding of Scripture. And I don’t know how you can say that. Those unbelieving Asians who are married, ARE married. And it was their left hand kingdom that made it so. Because they have no understanding of the right hand kingdom at all.

  • Stephen

    Kerner @ 21

    Bravo! That’s a great exposition of the two kingdoms. And simply because something exists on earth in the “lefthand” kingdom does not mean it isn’t something which God intends and makes happen via the Law written into the minds of all people. Marriage is and always has been an earthly institution brought about because, as it says in Genesis, “it is not good to be alone” and so that one may be helped in life. The church as we know, as the institution on earth supported and ordered by the human will, is also the lefthand kingdom along with earthly civil government. None of these things in themselves are included in the righthand kingdom of the grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ – the kingdom of faith alone which comes to us through the hearing of the Gospel.

    But I think the scope of your analysis of marriage and how it functions in a society @ 15 is too narrow. Primarily, it functions to protect relationships, not only to protect and raise children, but to bring peace between neighbors so that we do not covet and steal the spouse/mate of our neighbor. Marriage is recognized before a community for just this purpose – so that the community/society will also help to protect and honor that relationship for the good of all. Marriage places a hedge around relationships, relationships that exist for emotional and financial support between two people, and, should it be the case, support the parental role in society as well, for the good not primarily or just for the sake of children, but society as a whole.

    Therefore, it is “better to marry than to burn” – to be inflamed for the affections of your neighbors mate/spouse/betrothed/boyfriend or girlfriend, etc. so that we may all live in peace, which is what God desires. In general, it is not good to be alone (read: celibate) because God has ordained humans as sexual beings who are drawn to each other and need each other. This is a good thing, and marriage protects that desire from misuse which harms the neighbor.

    Now, if I am right about any of that, then in what way would gay marriage not provide the same benefit to everyone? Gay people have children. Gay people are also sexual people. Is it good for gay people to be alone? How can that be?

  • Stephen

    Kerner @ 21

    Bravo! That’s a great exposition of the two kingdoms. And simply because something exists on earth in the “lefthand” kingdom does not mean it isn’t something which God intends and makes happen via the Law written into the minds of all people. Marriage is and always has been an earthly institution brought about because, as it says in Genesis, “it is not good to be alone” and so that one may be helped in life. The church as we know, as the institution on earth supported and ordered by the human will, is also the lefthand kingdom along with earthly civil government. None of these things in themselves are included in the righthand kingdom of the grace and mercy of God in Jesus Christ – the kingdom of faith alone which comes to us through the hearing of the Gospel.

    But I think the scope of your analysis of marriage and how it functions in a society @ 15 is too narrow. Primarily, it functions to protect relationships, not only to protect and raise children, but to bring peace between neighbors so that we do not covet and steal the spouse/mate of our neighbor. Marriage is recognized before a community for just this purpose – so that the community/society will also help to protect and honor that relationship for the good of all. Marriage places a hedge around relationships, relationships that exist for emotional and financial support between two people, and, should it be the case, support the parental role in society as well, for the good not primarily or just for the sake of children, but society as a whole.

    Therefore, it is “better to marry than to burn” – to be inflamed for the affections of your neighbors mate/spouse/betrothed/boyfriend or girlfriend, etc. so that we may all live in peace, which is what God desires. In general, it is not good to be alone (read: celibate) because God has ordained humans as sexual beings who are drawn to each other and need each other. This is a good thing, and marriage protects that desire from misuse which harms the neighbor.

    Now, if I am right about any of that, then in what way would gay marriage not provide the same benefit to everyone? Gay people have children. Gay people are also sexual people. Is it good for gay people to be alone? How can that be?

  • Jon

    I think it is just that people will always say thay a homosexual couple are, “married.” You know, with the air quotes, right?

    If they are actually doing the air quotes, when saying it, they’re thinking them.

    The state can say they’re “married” but we all know they’re really not. Like others have said earlier, square peg, round hole; children, gametes.

    Yeah, like that. Air quotes.

  • Jon

    I think it is just that people will always say thay a homosexual couple are, “married.” You know, with the air quotes, right?

    If they are actually doing the air quotes, when saying it, they’re thinking them.

    The state can say they’re “married” but we all know they’re really not. Like others have said earlier, square peg, round hole; children, gametes.

    Yeah, like that. Air quotes.

  • Stephen

    This author makes a category mistake. Marriage is not a natural right, it is a social construction, and as such, it is there to serve the interests of a society. It is law and earthly righteousness. Sexuality, by contrast, is ordained by God. It is “natural” for humans to seek just this kind of companionship and intimacy. That is why Luther thought forced celibacy was inviting sin, and why St. Paul says it is better to marry than to burn. But marriage is not primarily about the “one flesh union” or it would void what St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:16. At one time, a king could take any woman for his bride and it would be understood on some level as good for the kingdom (not so much for the woman or that man he took her from). Marriage has served a number of different social functions, some which remain and some which would seem cruel and odd to us now.

    Marriage in the bible is primarily about property, or so was the culture of marriage as it became known to people of that time. Jesus re-frames it how? In the context of mercy. Women are not to be cast off as property but treated as people upon whom God has mercy and for whom he cares. They were also, like children, the “least of these.” They had no choice in the latter of divorce, and for those who have no power there is only mercy.

    Marriage in our society still offers many of the benefits of maintaining peace between neighbors, one task of which is to define the role of parent. Another is to build a hedge around an exclusive sexual relationship. And in some sense, it is still also about property. Legitimizing and supporting monogamous relationships serves society on these terms. I can’t see how these same benefits would not accrue through gay marriage.

    Marriage is serious business, but an earthly business just the same. It is there for the benefit of all. Arguments from nature ought not be supplanted for the teaching of law and gospel in the scripture in an attempt to prevent something deemed unseemly by a majority. I think that is what this author does. He makes yet another natural law ala scholasticism argument that should hold no water for a Lutheran. Same for the “square peg, round hole” silliness. For all of you who think gender is etched in stone, what about people with birth deformities? No mercy for them? Serious question.

    What is far, far worse is the general attitude toward marriage. And I lay this on the shoulders of men, as well as the fact, at least in equal measure, that the greatest percentage of abortions are for women who are unmarried. Men have become unreliable and now women, in an attempt to gain some measure of power for themselves, have followed suit. The church should, as a matter of course, encourage marriage and fidelity (as it usually does) without attaching to marriage a kind of divinity. Matrimony is good, but it is not holy. There is only one, alone, who is holy.

  • Stephen

    This author makes a category mistake. Marriage is not a natural right, it is a social construction, and as such, it is there to serve the interests of a society. It is law and earthly righteousness. Sexuality, by contrast, is ordained by God. It is “natural” for humans to seek just this kind of companionship and intimacy. That is why Luther thought forced celibacy was inviting sin, and why St. Paul says it is better to marry than to burn. But marriage is not primarily about the “one flesh union” or it would void what St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:16. At one time, a king could take any woman for his bride and it would be understood on some level as good for the kingdom (not so much for the woman or that man he took her from). Marriage has served a number of different social functions, some which remain and some which would seem cruel and odd to us now.

    Marriage in the bible is primarily about property, or so was the culture of marriage as it became known to people of that time. Jesus re-frames it how? In the context of mercy. Women are not to be cast off as property but treated as people upon whom God has mercy and for whom he cares. They were also, like children, the “least of these.” They had no choice in the latter of divorce, and for those who have no power there is only mercy.

    Marriage in our society still offers many of the benefits of maintaining peace between neighbors, one task of which is to define the role of parent. Another is to build a hedge around an exclusive sexual relationship. And in some sense, it is still also about property. Legitimizing and supporting monogamous relationships serves society on these terms. I can’t see how these same benefits would not accrue through gay marriage.

    Marriage is serious business, but an earthly business just the same. It is there for the benefit of all. Arguments from nature ought not be supplanted for the teaching of law and gospel in the scripture in an attempt to prevent something deemed unseemly by a majority. I think that is what this author does. He makes yet another natural law ala scholasticism argument that should hold no water for a Lutheran. Same for the “square peg, round hole” silliness. For all of you who think gender is etched in stone, what about people with birth deformities? No mercy for them? Serious question.

    What is far, far worse is the general attitude toward marriage. And I lay this on the shoulders of men, as well as the fact, at least in equal measure, that the greatest percentage of abortions are for women who are unmarried. Men have become unreliable and now women, in an attempt to gain some measure of power for themselves, have followed suit. The church should, as a matter of course, encourage marriage and fidelity (as it usually does) without attaching to marriage a kind of divinity. Matrimony is good, but it is not holy. There is only one, alone, who is holy.

  • Lou G

    Kerner #21 – thanks for that. You’ve swayed my thinking on this in a very helpful way. My previous pastor always dug his heals in when I tried to discuss this with him, but he could never adequately tell me on what basis his position was more correct. You’ve given me that here. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Lou G

    Kerner #21 – thanks for that. You’ve swayed my thinking on this in a very helpful way. My previous pastor always dug his heals in when I tried to discuss this with him, but he could never adequately tell me on what basis his position was more correct. You’ve given me that here. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • fws

    Kerner @ 15

    your analysis is too narrow. Family, in all of human history, was defined as the tribe. Men and women were usually married off as soon as they could copulate . mariage at that Young an age can only work if it is wrapped around by the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles , etc.

    In addition, women were treated as property. they were bought with a dowry. they had absolutely no say in the matter of who they would marry or when. Often marriage was contracted to cement bonds with other tribes.

    Outside of this larger context, the definition of marriage historically simply cannot be understood.

    In addition, the NT scripture passages relating Christ and church to marriage simply cannot be understood properly unless we understand the fact that women had NO volition , not at all, in marriage. they were bought and paid for. This fact is a Strong argument against the baptist idea that we can chose Jesus.

  • fws

    Kerner @ 15

    your analysis is too narrow. Family, in all of human history, was defined as the tribe. Men and women were usually married off as soon as they could copulate . mariage at that Young an age can only work if it is wrapped around by the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles , etc.

    In addition, women were treated as property. they were bought with a dowry. they had absolutely no say in the matter of who they would marry or when. Often marriage was contracted to cement bonds with other tribes.

    Outside of this larger context, the definition of marriage historically simply cannot be understood.

    In addition, the NT scripture passages relating Christ and church to marriage simply cannot be understood properly unless we understand the fact that women had NO volition , not at all, in marriage. they were bought and paid for. This fact is a Strong argument against the baptist idea that we can chose Jesus.

  • fws

    lou @ 18

    The church, according to Lutheran Doctrine in our Confessions, has no need at all for the church. There is nothing more holy about matrimony than there is about holding office in government.

  • fws

    lou @ 18

    The church, according to Lutheran Doctrine in our Confessions, has no need at all for the church. There is nothing more holy about matrimony than there is about holding office in government.

  • fws

    sg @ 17

    gay men and women can and do adopt.
    gay men and women need what you need and hopefully will get from your Family when you are old and infirmed or come down with a life threatening and financially devastating illness.

    One can make a very conservative argument that allowing two men or two women to commit to this care may be a less costly and more effective solution to deliver this care than to have such persons be all alone and dependent upon the government for such support.

    Marriage is not all about sex SG is what I am saying.

    As Kerner points out, no bible is needed to know all this.
    Until the devastation of AIDS, there were few homosexuals seeking marriage. Gays up to that point largely saw things exactly as you do SG. “we are modern. marriage is just about heterosexuals. We dont need to follow any of those rules. ” And then the Divine Law of God, written, not in the hearts,but in the reason of all men (rom 2:15) informed gay men and lesbians that structure and commitment matters. It was the divine Law of God inflicting the consciences of gays and lesbians that has them clamoring for marriage and to make such commitments.

  • fws

    sg @ 17

    gay men and women can and do adopt.
    gay men and women need what you need and hopefully will get from your Family when you are old and infirmed or come down with a life threatening and financially devastating illness.

    One can make a very conservative argument that allowing two men or two women to commit to this care may be a less costly and more effective solution to deliver this care than to have such persons be all alone and dependent upon the government for such support.

    Marriage is not all about sex SG is what I am saying.

    As Kerner points out, no bible is needed to know all this.
    Until the devastation of AIDS, there were few homosexuals seeking marriage. Gays up to that point largely saw things exactly as you do SG. “we are modern. marriage is just about heterosexuals. We dont need to follow any of those rules. ” And then the Divine Law of God, written, not in the hearts,but in the reason of all men (rom 2:15) informed gay men and lesbians that structure and commitment matters. It was the divine Law of God inflicting the consciences of gays and lesbians that has them clamoring for marriage and to make such commitments.

  • Abby
  • Abby
  • fws

    abby @ 29

    Gagnon is a presbyterian seminary professor. The central thesis of all of his arguements is that Gay men and lesbians have an identity crisis.

    That is to say that they identify with being gay where their central identity needs to be in God through Christ.

    What is says is true about all men and women. It is actually , in a real sense, the definition of what Lutherans call Original Sin. Original sin is the total lack of true fear , love and trust (ie Faith) in the Works of Another. Original Sin in the active sense is a heart , voided of true Faith, that is filled with fear , love and trust in anything BUT God.

    So if Gagnon identifies the real problem with homosexuals (and he really does!) , then what is the problem with that?

    Gagnon , being Reformed, really denies Original Sin as being the total and complete loss of the Image of God because he does not identify the Image of God ( and therefore Original Righteousness) as being, alone, invisible Faith, alone, in Christ, alone.

    If the Image of God was lost , completely lost, and is restored, as Original Righeousness , alone, by Baptism, and alone by Faith, alone, then the restoration and perfection of Gays and you and me can happen, alone, in the Waters of Baptism, alone , by the Holy Spirit. Alone. alone. And in Baptism, we are to urge Gays to believe that the Original Righeousness and Image of God are being fully restored, in baptism… plus…. nothing at all.

    Gagnon identifies , as to Roman Catholic Scholastics (reformed are really neo-Thomist Scholastics) , the return to the Image of God and Original Righteousness as a reconformity to the Divine Law of God. For him the opposite of sin is goodness. It is conformity to the Law. But Scriptures tell us that this is false. This opinion is that of Reason veiled by the Veil of Moses. It is the idea that we can become restored by DOing something.

    But the Law Always and ONLY kills and accuses.

    So, according to Gagnon, the problem with Gays is in their thinking. They need to fix their thinking! Then all will be well with them! Gays can use their reason to try to reidentify themselves, think the right way, and reason their way out of sin.

    But the Law Always and only accuses. It is relentless. We will all die. That is what the work of the Law Always ends up as.

    So Gays need something , desperately so, that Gagnon, who does not believe in the power of Baptism, cannot provide them.

    Gays need Faith in Christ, alone , to be made right. We believe that we cannot , by our own reason or strength , believe in Christ nor come to him. This is the Work, that ALONE, requires the Holy Spirit, alone. ALL other righteousness , sexual or otherwise, can be ALL done, ALONE with human powers of reason and free will and will power. NO Holy Spirit is necessary for any of that.

    But the end of sin can alone happen in the Waters of Baptism. Gagnon is blind to this because he denies the power of God´s Word and Promise in Baptism.

    So stop quoting Gagnon on a Lutheran site Abby. He is utterly opposed to the real cure and end for sin that alone, is found, alone, in Faith, alone, in christ , alone,that can be worked by the HS , alone, apart from our best thinking or Works.

    May we and not just gays and lesbians cling to this blessed hope in our Baptism that Presbyterians like Gagnon are so very blind to!

  • fws

    abby @ 29

    Gagnon is a presbyterian seminary professor. The central thesis of all of his arguements is that Gay men and lesbians have an identity crisis.

    That is to say that they identify with being gay where their central identity needs to be in God through Christ.

    What is says is true about all men and women. It is actually , in a real sense, the definition of what Lutherans call Original Sin. Original sin is the total lack of true fear , love and trust (ie Faith) in the Works of Another. Original Sin in the active sense is a heart , voided of true Faith, that is filled with fear , love and trust in anything BUT God.

    So if Gagnon identifies the real problem with homosexuals (and he really does!) , then what is the problem with that?

    Gagnon , being Reformed, really denies Original Sin as being the total and complete loss of the Image of God because he does not identify the Image of God ( and therefore Original Righteousness) as being, alone, invisible Faith, alone, in Christ, alone.

    If the Image of God was lost , completely lost, and is restored, as Original Righeousness , alone, by Baptism, and alone by Faith, alone, then the restoration and perfection of Gays and you and me can happen, alone, in the Waters of Baptism, alone , by the Holy Spirit. Alone. alone. And in Baptism, we are to urge Gays to believe that the Original Righeousness and Image of God are being fully restored, in baptism… plus…. nothing at all.

    Gagnon identifies , as to Roman Catholic Scholastics (reformed are really neo-Thomist Scholastics) , the return to the Image of God and Original Righteousness as a reconformity to the Divine Law of God. For him the opposite of sin is goodness. It is conformity to the Law. But Scriptures tell us that this is false. This opinion is that of Reason veiled by the Veil of Moses. It is the idea that we can become restored by DOing something.

    But the Law Always and ONLY kills and accuses.

    So, according to Gagnon, the problem with Gays is in their thinking. They need to fix their thinking! Then all will be well with them! Gays can use their reason to try to reidentify themselves, think the right way, and reason their way out of sin.

    But the Law Always and only accuses. It is relentless. We will all die. That is what the work of the Law Always ends up as.

    So Gays need something , desperately so, that Gagnon, who does not believe in the power of Baptism, cannot provide them.

    Gays need Faith in Christ, alone , to be made right. We believe that we cannot , by our own reason or strength , believe in Christ nor come to him. This is the Work, that ALONE, requires the Holy Spirit, alone. ALL other righteousness , sexual or otherwise, can be ALL done, ALONE with human powers of reason and free will and will power. NO Holy Spirit is necessary for any of that.

    But the end of sin can alone happen in the Waters of Baptism. Gagnon is blind to this because he denies the power of God´s Word and Promise in Baptism.

    So stop quoting Gagnon on a Lutheran site Abby. He is utterly opposed to the real cure and end for sin that alone, is found, alone, in Faith, alone, in christ , alone,that can be worked by the HS , alone, apart from our best thinking or Works.

    May we and not just gays and lesbians cling to this blessed hope in our Baptism that Presbyterians like Gagnon are so very blind to!

  • Abby

    Dear fws: The site where I got that from is a good Lutheran site.

    “If the Image of God was lost , completely lost, and is restored, as Original Righeousness , alone, by Baptism, and alone by Faith, alone, then the restoration and perfection of Gays and you and me can happen, alone, in the Waters of Baptism, alone , by the Holy Spirit. Alone. alone. And in Baptism, we are to urge Gays to believe that the Original Righeousness and Image of God are being fully restored, in baptism… plus…. nothing at all.

    Gagnon identifies , as to Roman Catholic Scholastics (reformed are really neo-Thomist Scholastics) , the return to the Image of God and Original Righteousness as a reconformity to the Divine Law of God. For him the opposite of sin is goodness. It is conformity to the Law. But Scriptures tell us that this is false. This opinion is that of Reason veiled by the Veil of Moses. It is the idea that we can become restored by DOing something.”

    Now I’m confused. This is what you told me on another site:
    “the New Man actively seeks the Death of his Old Adam. It is the agreeing with this Judgement of God from the heart that is the sanctification of the new man. We now will our Old Adam to NOT escape death. So how is it that we kill and mortify our Old Adam? We get busy. We DO. We take up the Law and preach it to old adam. It looks exactly like what pagans do . It is to exercise self discipline and self sacrifice. But the difference is this: the believer seeks, alone, his death in DOing. And he does this not to achieve Obedience for God. Only Christ, ALONE can do that with HIS works. No. We seek to be obedience to the call of the needs, the creaturly transitory earthy needs of our neighbor. We seek to die in mortification of self for the good of others. Mortication and morality and self control are worthless of themselves.”

    Our baptism is powerful — but then it is ok to be ourselves and sin all we want? You said, no. You do something to kill the Old Adam. “By self discipline and self sacrifice.” Is not this right?

    So to sin boldly is not acceptable in our lives as Christians.

    Billy Graham once said that if he were to find out one of his relatives was gay that he would love that person all the more. Which is what I recently told a friend of mine when she told me that her grandson now admits that he is gay. And she said she would refuse to turn her back on him. I told her she should NOT do that — but love him all the more.

    It is up to God to judge. But if a person is gay and a Christian — I believe they know what they are to do.

  • Abby

    Dear fws: The site where I got that from is a good Lutheran site.

    “If the Image of God was lost , completely lost, and is restored, as Original Righeousness , alone, by Baptism, and alone by Faith, alone, then the restoration and perfection of Gays and you and me can happen, alone, in the Waters of Baptism, alone , by the Holy Spirit. Alone. alone. And in Baptism, we are to urge Gays to believe that the Original Righeousness and Image of God are being fully restored, in baptism… plus…. nothing at all.

    Gagnon identifies , as to Roman Catholic Scholastics (reformed are really neo-Thomist Scholastics) , the return to the Image of God and Original Righteousness as a reconformity to the Divine Law of God. For him the opposite of sin is goodness. It is conformity to the Law. But Scriptures tell us that this is false. This opinion is that of Reason veiled by the Veil of Moses. It is the idea that we can become restored by DOing something.”

    Now I’m confused. This is what you told me on another site:
    “the New Man actively seeks the Death of his Old Adam. It is the agreeing with this Judgement of God from the heart that is the sanctification of the new man. We now will our Old Adam to NOT escape death. So how is it that we kill and mortify our Old Adam? We get busy. We DO. We take up the Law and preach it to old adam. It looks exactly like what pagans do . It is to exercise self discipline and self sacrifice. But the difference is this: the believer seeks, alone, his death in DOing. And he does this not to achieve Obedience for God. Only Christ, ALONE can do that with HIS works. No. We seek to be obedience to the call of the needs, the creaturly transitory earthy needs of our neighbor. We seek to die in mortification of self for the good of others. Mortication and morality and self control are worthless of themselves.”

    Our baptism is powerful — but then it is ok to be ourselves and sin all we want? You said, no. You do something to kill the Old Adam. “By self discipline and self sacrifice.” Is not this right?

    So to sin boldly is not acceptable in our lives as Christians.

    Billy Graham once said that if he were to find out one of his relatives was gay that he would love that person all the more. Which is what I recently told a friend of mine when she told me that her grandson now admits that he is gay. And she said she would refuse to turn her back on him. I told her she should NOT do that — but love him all the more.

    It is up to God to judge. But if a person is gay and a Christian — I believe they know what they are to do.

  • fws

    abby @ 31

    Abby,
    Only Christ can do that Obedience that is about our relationship with God.

    If we are doing a Good Work of mortification to render Obedience to God , then we are doing idolatry and we are discarding the Work of Christ! Here is why:

    On earth, God judges us all according to what we DO. ALL men know this by the Divine Law that God has written in the Reason (not the heart!) of ALL men. This is why reason agrees with the 10 commandments. That Law Divinely written in the mind is the SAME Law! And ALL that we can sense or see or do, in our thoughts , words and deeds all results , only and alone, in … death.
    The best DOing and thinking even of sanctified believers St Isaiah calls “used menstrual rags”. He is referring to the sanctified works of believers here!

    And so Good Works are useful, ONLY in this life, and are good for avoiding Divine and social punishment in this life and for having a happy life. Good Works, here on earth, are ONLY useful to serve the needs of our neighbors. But this DOing will all end with this life. It is about what is useful to serve others. God does not need our obedience or our DOing.

    But here on earth we must know that God demands that we serve others and do mercy to our neighbor or else he WILL send punishments and plagues to us until we learn to do his will on earth that is , alone, to serve his neighbor. So we should learn to serve our neighbor with joy and not wait for God to compell us to do this with punishment. We should fear God in this way. And we should not do good works in order to render Obedience to Him.

    Only Christ can render that Obedience Abby! So works on earth are , ALONE, to horizontally serve our neighbor and his needs. To aim our Good Works of mortification and self discipline towards God is the very worst idolatry.

    How do we know whether we are doing the Obedience that is Idolatry rather than the Good Works that please God on earth? 1) Is what we are doing USEful to our neighbor? (1 cor 6) If not, it is useless also to God! 2) Does it keep the Golden Rule written in the Reason of all that is : ” Do to others what we would want them to do to us?” What if someone asked you Abby to do the sacrifice you demand of Gays ? How would you feel? You can be certain that God feels the same way! 3) are we harming someone or taking something that belongs to someone else by what we are doing? Again we can know this by pondering the Golden Rule. This is really not so complicated is it?

    If what we are doing is not ALL and ONLY about serving our neighbor, ALONE, then what we are doing does not pass the smell test as a Good Work that is pleasing to God and that he wills us to do here on earth. Why? If ANYTHING we can think or do is about DOing obedience to God, then we are not saved, ALONE, by the Obedience rendered , alone , by Christ. It is really that simple.

    We we are saved by faith , in the Doing of Another, alone.
    If OUR doing is not ALONE about serving others but is also about rendering Obedience before God that makes or keeps us right with God, then that first alone that is , alone, about the Obedience of Another, is not really alone is it?

    If we want to aim higher and deal with God, then we have to aim further from our DOing than the earth is from the furthest star.

    In heaven, God judges us, only according to WHO we are! Before God , we are judged only according to our Baptism. And in our baptism ALL we can DO is hidden in Christ. DOing is completely excluded. How could anything at all we can sense or do or think be included in God’s heavenly courtroom? ALL that is already all and only included in our earthly existence. It is fully excluded in the heavenly courtroom. This righteousness that is to be hidden in Christ is , in fact, useless on earth, except to God and a guilty conscience.

    Our Good works are ALL about obedience to the needs of our neighbors and to do mercy to them.

    God would have mercy and not sacrifice.

    The Law works the sacrifice of death that civil society knows by the word Justice. For Justice to be done, someone must always die. Someone must be “dead to rights”. The baby must be cut in two. Justice is , exactly, what we deserve for what we DO. And what is it that we deserve for ALL we have done? Death. Temporal and eternal death. There is no unDOing that. Gays cannot unDO that by not DOing or by DOing anything at all. Neither can you!

    But , in Old Adam, sadly, Mercy cannot be done, ever, ever, withhout the Law doing its work that is to demand, only and always, our own sacrifice and death to self.

    But God’s will is not that we ask others to sacrifice and die. God’s will is that we die to self so that others recieve mercy. What is mercy? Mercy is the exact opposite of Justice. It is to receive the exact opposite of what we deserve for what we have done.

    So what does love and mercy look like towards our gay neighbor? It looks like asking them to make the exact same sacrifices we also are to make . No more. No less.

    There is no separate law and gospel for gays.

  • fws

    abby @ 31

    Abby,
    Only Christ can do that Obedience that is about our relationship with God.

    If we are doing a Good Work of mortification to render Obedience to God , then we are doing idolatry and we are discarding the Work of Christ! Here is why:

    On earth, God judges us all according to what we DO. ALL men know this by the Divine Law that God has written in the Reason (not the heart!) of ALL men. This is why reason agrees with the 10 commandments. That Law Divinely written in the mind is the SAME Law! And ALL that we can sense or see or do, in our thoughts , words and deeds all results , only and alone, in … death.
    The best DOing and thinking even of sanctified believers St Isaiah calls “used menstrual rags”. He is referring to the sanctified works of believers here!

    And so Good Works are useful, ONLY in this life, and are good for avoiding Divine and social punishment in this life and for having a happy life. Good Works, here on earth, are ONLY useful to serve the needs of our neighbors. But this DOing will all end with this life. It is about what is useful to serve others. God does not need our obedience or our DOing.

    But here on earth we must know that God demands that we serve others and do mercy to our neighbor or else he WILL send punishments and plagues to us until we learn to do his will on earth that is , alone, to serve his neighbor. So we should learn to serve our neighbor with joy and not wait for God to compell us to do this with punishment. We should fear God in this way. And we should not do good works in order to render Obedience to Him.

    Only Christ can render that Obedience Abby! So works on earth are , ALONE, to horizontally serve our neighbor and his needs. To aim our Good Works of mortification and self discipline towards God is the very worst idolatry.

    How do we know whether we are doing the Obedience that is Idolatry rather than the Good Works that please God on earth? 1) Is what we are doing USEful to our neighbor? (1 cor 6) If not, it is useless also to God! 2) Does it keep the Golden Rule written in the Reason of all that is : ” Do to others what we would want them to do to us?” What if someone asked you Abby to do the sacrifice you demand of Gays ? How would you feel? You can be certain that God feels the same way! 3) are we harming someone or taking something that belongs to someone else by what we are doing? Again we can know this by pondering the Golden Rule. This is really not so complicated is it?

    If what we are doing is not ALL and ONLY about serving our neighbor, ALONE, then what we are doing does not pass the smell test as a Good Work that is pleasing to God and that he wills us to do here on earth. Why? If ANYTHING we can think or do is about DOing obedience to God, then we are not saved, ALONE, by the Obedience rendered , alone , by Christ. It is really that simple.

    We we are saved by faith , in the Doing of Another, alone.
    If OUR doing is not ALONE about serving others but is also about rendering Obedience before God that makes or keeps us right with God, then that first alone that is , alone, about the Obedience of Another, is not really alone is it?

    If we want to aim higher and deal with God, then we have to aim further from our DOing than the earth is from the furthest star.

    In heaven, God judges us, only according to WHO we are! Before God , we are judged only according to our Baptism. And in our baptism ALL we can DO is hidden in Christ. DOing is completely excluded. How could anything at all we can sense or do or think be included in God’s heavenly courtroom? ALL that is already all and only included in our earthly existence. It is fully excluded in the heavenly courtroom. This righteousness that is to be hidden in Christ is , in fact, useless on earth, except to God and a guilty conscience.

    Our Good works are ALL about obedience to the needs of our neighbors and to do mercy to them.

    God would have mercy and not sacrifice.

    The Law works the sacrifice of death that civil society knows by the word Justice. For Justice to be done, someone must always die. Someone must be “dead to rights”. The baby must be cut in two. Justice is , exactly, what we deserve for what we DO. And what is it that we deserve for ALL we have done? Death. Temporal and eternal death. There is no unDOing that. Gays cannot unDO that by not DOing or by DOing anything at all. Neither can you!

    But , in Old Adam, sadly, Mercy cannot be done, ever, ever, withhout the Law doing its work that is to demand, only and always, our own sacrifice and death to self.

    But God’s will is not that we ask others to sacrifice and die. God’s will is that we die to self so that others recieve mercy. What is mercy? Mercy is the exact opposite of Justice. It is to receive the exact opposite of what we deserve for what we have done.

    So what does love and mercy look like towards our gay neighbor? It looks like asking them to make the exact same sacrifices we also are to make . No more. No less.

    There is no separate law and gospel for gays.

  • Abby

    Dear fws: Thank you for your answer. I’m still not sure what you are advocating regarding gay marriage. Here is another good post by a good Lutheran: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGhjr5sX_Cw

  • Abby

    Dear fws: Thank you for your answer. I’m still not sure what you are advocating regarding gay marriage. Here is another good post by a good Lutheran: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGhjr5sX_Cw

  • fws

    abby @ 33

    THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS: “The Law, preached without Christ, will produce only pharisee or despairing epicurean judas”.
    (Lutheran Confessions, ap art III,IV, FC art II)

    REV FISK: Rev Fisks message contains no Holy Gospel, and so no Christ. Why not you say? “He talks about Christ Crucified after all?! ”

    Rev Fisk´s message, our confessions tell us, will produce in that Lutheran Lesbian either a pharisee who outwardly DOES something or refrains from doing something… or , a despairing , epicurean judas.

    THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS: “The preaching of Christ Crucified is the most terrible preaching of the Law.” (fc art V ‘law and gospel’).

    REV FISK:This is how Rev Fisk preached Christ Crucified. This is preaching the Law without Christ. This is preaching Christ Crucified as the most terrifying Law that exists.

    LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS: The Law only and Always accuses and terrifies the conscience. (Apology IV Love and the law)

    LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS: [The Gospel], justification, Always happens with 3 things: God makes a Promise [in word and sacrament], Faith clings to that Promise, Faith receives the promised mercy right where the promise is offered to us. (Lutheran Confessions, Apology, art III)

    Contrast that to Rev Fisk:

    Christ died for the world.
    Christ died for you as a [baptized] Lesbian only if you first DO something… IF…..you , 1) first, intellectually classify lesbianism as sin, and secondly, 2) stop committing homossexual acts (implying the roman catholic idea that lustful thoughts that are resisted are not quite sins, in the same way that wilful acts are).

    So there is NO Gospel that was preached at all.
    Why not?

    LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS: [The Gospel], justification, Always happens with 3 things: God makes a Promise [in word and sacrament], Faith clings to that Promise, Faith receives the promised mercy right where the promise is offered to us. (Lutheran Confessions, Apology, art III)

    Note that there is , in justification, nothing here about doing anything at all , not in correcting our thinking and sin classifications, not in stopping our sinful acts. ALL we can DO is… fully excluded.

    So what was rev Fisk missing: The Gospel. What is the Gospel? proclaiming Christ Crucified? That can be terrible Law. How does the preaching of Christ Crucified become Gospel?

    It is when the HS plants a heart trust or heart Faith into someone that trusts in two words: “given and shed FOR YOU!” for the forgiveness of sins.

    There was no FOR YOU. That is the problem.

    FISK: Christ died for the world. But this is only FOR YOU for a Lesbian IF , first, she fixes and corrects her thinking intellectually to classify lesbianism as adultery, and secondly if she stops her deeds.

    Her sins of thoughts , words and deeds are not equally sin. Rev Fisk attenuates lust as being sin. Sin is in what we DO he says. He says it a little differently doesnt he? He says we can be forgiven for sinful thoughts if we have intellectually classified those as sin and repent of them, and done that act in a proper way, but not acts. especially not WILLful acts of sin.

    Rev Fisk is telling that Lesbian, that she must not apply those words FOR YOU to herself, unless and until she intellectually agrees to DO something. This is no Gospel. This is ALL Law. the law Always and only accuses and kills and terrifies.

    And to preach in this way, Rev Fisk must first attenuate, or lessen the demands of the Law into the Law being something that we can actually and really DO in preparation , in order to to merit grace.

    This also happens to be the very Roman Catholic Scholasticism that was opposed by the Augsburg Confession and the Apology to the Augustana.

    It is wrong. It is contrary to our Confessions.

    Must ALL men, not just christians, flee from sinful acts that harm our neighbor? absolutely. Must Hompsexuals , christian or not, flee sinful sexual acts? absolutely! But the reward for all of that fleeing from sin and flying right is …. only death. Apart from Christ, our most righeous acts are the moral equivalente of used menstrual rags. the law only and Always accuses and kills.

    And further: we need NO christ and NO Holy Spirit for that Lesbian to do anything at all that Rev Fisk told her she needed to do. Nothing. Nothing at all. This one point MUST be made very very clear. The Law requires NO Holy Spirit or christ to DO it in temporal matters. This includes what the law demands us to think as well! The Law Always and only kills and accuses and terrifies.

    Therefore, we know this: there can be no Life in what Rev Fisk is calling this woman to do. the law only and Always condemns , accuses and spiritually kills.

    Rev Fisk says that it is God , alone, who can re-identifie us in Christ.

    Then he takes that back and tells the woman that it is she who needs to make some changes in her thinking as a condition to hearing those two words FOR YOU, which two words, alone, transforms the same exact preaching of Christ Crucified from terrifying Law to sweet and comforting Gospel.

    But note that the Rev Fisk never, anywhere, points that woman to her baptism and urges her to trust and cling to those two words does he? No. He preaches to her conditionally. He even tells her that she has sinned against the Holy Spirit. That is to say that the conversation is over for her. She is reprobate. What else could telling someone they have committed THE sin against the Holy Spirit mean? The Law Always and only accuses , kills and terrifies.

    Rev Fisk failed to do this. His message was 100% Law. the law only and Always accuses, condemns and terrifies.

  • fws

    abby @ 33

    THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS: “The Law, preached without Christ, will produce only pharisee or despairing epicurean judas”.
    (Lutheran Confessions, ap art III,IV, FC art II)

    REV FISK: Rev Fisks message contains no Holy Gospel, and so no Christ. Why not you say? “He talks about Christ Crucified after all?! ”

    Rev Fisk´s message, our confessions tell us, will produce in that Lutheran Lesbian either a pharisee who outwardly DOES something or refrains from doing something… or , a despairing , epicurean judas.

    THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS: “The preaching of Christ Crucified is the most terrible preaching of the Law.” (fc art V ‘law and gospel’).

    REV FISK:This is how Rev Fisk preached Christ Crucified. This is preaching the Law without Christ. This is preaching Christ Crucified as the most terrifying Law that exists.

    LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS: The Law only and Always accuses and terrifies the conscience. (Apology IV Love and the law)

    LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS: [The Gospel], justification, Always happens with 3 things: God makes a Promise [in word and sacrament], Faith clings to that Promise, Faith receives the promised mercy right where the promise is offered to us. (Lutheran Confessions, Apology, art III)

    Contrast that to Rev Fisk:

    Christ died for the world.
    Christ died for you as a [baptized] Lesbian only if you first DO something… IF…..you , 1) first, intellectually classify lesbianism as sin, and secondly, 2) stop committing homossexual acts (implying the roman catholic idea that lustful thoughts that are resisted are not quite sins, in the same way that wilful acts are).

    So there is NO Gospel that was preached at all.
    Why not?

    LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS: [The Gospel], justification, Always happens with 3 things: God makes a Promise [in word and sacrament], Faith clings to that Promise, Faith receives the promised mercy right where the promise is offered to us. (Lutheran Confessions, Apology, art III)

    Note that there is , in justification, nothing here about doing anything at all , not in correcting our thinking and sin classifications, not in stopping our sinful acts. ALL we can DO is… fully excluded.

    So what was rev Fisk missing: The Gospel. What is the Gospel? proclaiming Christ Crucified? That can be terrible Law. How does the preaching of Christ Crucified become Gospel?

    It is when the HS plants a heart trust or heart Faith into someone that trusts in two words: “given and shed FOR YOU!” for the forgiveness of sins.

    There was no FOR YOU. That is the problem.

    FISK: Christ died for the world. But this is only FOR YOU for a Lesbian IF , first, she fixes and corrects her thinking intellectually to classify lesbianism as adultery, and secondly if she stops her deeds.

    Her sins of thoughts , words and deeds are not equally sin. Rev Fisk attenuates lust as being sin. Sin is in what we DO he says. He says it a little differently doesnt he? He says we can be forgiven for sinful thoughts if we have intellectually classified those as sin and repent of them, and done that act in a proper way, but not acts. especially not WILLful acts of sin.

    Rev Fisk is telling that Lesbian, that she must not apply those words FOR YOU to herself, unless and until she intellectually agrees to DO something. This is no Gospel. This is ALL Law. the law Always and only accuses and kills and terrifies.

    And to preach in this way, Rev Fisk must first attenuate, or lessen the demands of the Law into the Law being something that we can actually and really DO in preparation , in order to to merit grace.

    This also happens to be the very Roman Catholic Scholasticism that was opposed by the Augsburg Confession and the Apology to the Augustana.

    It is wrong. It is contrary to our Confessions.

    Must ALL men, not just christians, flee from sinful acts that harm our neighbor? absolutely. Must Hompsexuals , christian or not, flee sinful sexual acts? absolutely! But the reward for all of that fleeing from sin and flying right is …. only death. Apart from Christ, our most righeous acts are the moral equivalente of used menstrual rags. the law only and Always accuses and kills.

    And further: we need NO christ and NO Holy Spirit for that Lesbian to do anything at all that Rev Fisk told her she needed to do. Nothing. Nothing at all. This one point MUST be made very very clear. The Law requires NO Holy Spirit or christ to DO it in temporal matters. This includes what the law demands us to think as well! The Law Always and only kills and accuses and terrifies.

    Therefore, we know this: there can be no Life in what Rev Fisk is calling this woman to do. the law only and Always condemns , accuses and spiritually kills.

    Rev Fisk says that it is God , alone, who can re-identifie us in Christ.

    Then he takes that back and tells the woman that it is she who needs to make some changes in her thinking as a condition to hearing those two words FOR YOU, which two words, alone, transforms the same exact preaching of Christ Crucified from terrifying Law to sweet and comforting Gospel.

    But note that the Rev Fisk never, anywhere, points that woman to her baptism and urges her to trust and cling to those two words does he? No. He preaches to her conditionally. He even tells her that she has sinned against the Holy Spirit. That is to say that the conversation is over for her. She is reprobate. What else could telling someone they have committed THE sin against the Holy Spirit mean? The Law Always and only accuses , kills and terrifies.

    Rev Fisk failed to do this. His message was 100% Law. the law only and Always accuses, condemns and terrifies.

  • Abby

    Yes, that is what the law does and is supposed to do. My failures are stacked very high. Without my baptismal washing and the grace given me I would have no hope at all to be able to enter heaven. I am relying on Jesus alone, completely outside myself, to let me be His child. And I know I have to continually repent and die to persisting temptations. It is very hard. I do know. I am 100% sinner and 100% saint. Nothing due to me.

  • Abby

    Yes, that is what the law does and is supposed to do. My failures are stacked very high. Without my baptismal washing and the grace given me I would have no hope at all to be able to enter heaven. I am relying on Jesus alone, completely outside myself, to let me be His child. And I know I have to continually repent and die to persisting temptations. It is very hard. I do know. I am 100% sinner and 100% saint. Nothing due to me.

  • fws

    abby @ 35

    amen!

    there is only ONE thing that the HS and Christ are necessary for: to have that heart-knowing and heart Faith that is the true fear love and trust in God , alone in the Works of Another, alone.

    ALL keeping of the Law in temporal matters requires NO bible, no HS and NO Christ. Natural man with his free will, reason and human powers is fully able to know and do the natural law and keep the second table of the law and know of God and speak about him.

    Natural man, apart from the HS and Christ can know and believe ALL Lutheran doctrine to be true. No HS or Christ is necessary to know and believe as true ALL the Book of Concord!

    The HS and Christ, alone are necessary to apply that doctrine personally and have a heart trust in those two words FOR YOU.

  • fws

    abby @ 35

    amen!

    there is only ONE thing that the HS and Christ are necessary for: to have that heart-knowing and heart Faith that is the true fear love and trust in God , alone in the Works of Another, alone.

    ALL keeping of the Law in temporal matters requires NO bible, no HS and NO Christ. Natural man with his free will, reason and human powers is fully able to know and do the natural law and keep the second table of the law and know of God and speak about him.

    Natural man, apart from the HS and Christ can know and believe ALL Lutheran doctrine to be true. No HS or Christ is necessary to know and believe as true ALL the Book of Concord!

    The HS and Christ, alone are necessary to apply that doctrine personally and have a heart trust in those two words FOR YOU.


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