Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who has refused to issue marriage licenses since the Supreme Court decision in favor of same sex marriage, has been sent to and released from jail. I watched as the video of her latest interaction with a same sex couple requesting a marriage license went viral and all sorts of emotions coursed through me, a pit of dread opening up in my stomach.
The words that have been on repeat in my head ever since are a question posed to Mrs. Davis at least twice, “How many times have YOU been married, Kim?” The way it’s asked, you can tell the member of the same sex couple who poses it already knows that the answer is four. He’s asking because in his mind, the answer invalidates any moral ground she might be standing on in denying him and his partner access to an institution he feels she apparently doesn’t hold in that high regard herself.
The reason this opened up a well of ache in me is simple (though not so simple if you get into the particulars). I am the owner of my own divorce papers, proof of my own participation in the spectacular failure of a marriage that exists no more. I am blessed to be a member in a church where I have received love, support, and hard truth when needed. I have had encouragement, and fellowship in mourning over my situation. But I also know well that, in the eyes of a world at war about marriage and what it actually is, the validity of voices like mine in support of Biblical marriage is compromised.
On any number of levels this hurts. And let’s be frank. Divorce hurts. It’s a tearing apart that’s hard to understand unless you’ve been through it yourself, no matter how well you hear it described. The events leading up to divorce hurt. Seeing your kids and your family and your friends hurt makes you hurt. And yes, the judgments about your moral failings by even the well-meaning hurts, especially when they’re accurate.
In any given situation where I have an opinion about a moral issue, I’d ask you to trust me when I say I’m the first one to throw the words, “Who are YOU to judge?!” at myself, even if it’s only in my own head.
So I sit and I watch Kim Davis refuse to issue marriage licenses, and refuse to answer the question about how many times she’s been married herself. I watch her weep in pictures on my screen as people support her on one side and revile her on the other. I watch Christians and non-Christians alike ask the question explicitly and implicitly all over social media and mass media, “Who is SHE to judge??”
Well, if Kim Davis is my sister in Christ as she professes to be I think she’d agree with me when I say, “She’s no one. Just like me.”
Does that raise an eyebrow? Are you convinced that anyone who would dare say that they will not support the marriage of same sex couples must be judgmental and must be hateful? Do you assume that we feel morally superior and it is out of our position on top of the ivory tower that our bigotry stems?
Or, are you a Christian who actually does feel superior, so you’re cringing at the clear moral inferiority, (at least with regard to marriage) of this woman who represents “your side”? Are you tempted to sweep the ugliness of repeated divorce aside and respond with a defensive, “Yeah, but that’s not as bad as a marriage between two men!”
What I want to say to both groups is this: in this issue of what marriage is, if our own personal morality were the ground on which any of us was trying to stand, we’d all fall down immediately. Our personal morality, or lack thereof, has absolutely nothing to do with it.
The point is something different altogether. The point is that God, because he is good and because he is perfectly loving, gave us distinctions and parameters within which to live. He gave them so that we could know him, draw close to him, and be saved from ourselves. One of the most important of those distinctions is gender, the complementary difference between men and women who are then brought together in a unique kind of union that was designed to tell us something about who He is.
Bear with me here, even if you don’t buy that truth claim – you don’t have to to track with what I’m saying (though I pray you would). Just know that we, Biblical Christians, buy it. Even if you disagree, take a moment to really know something about why some of us who oppose you on same sex marriage do.
In Genesis 1 we are told that God “created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” There are real theologians (I am not one) who can delve into this far beyond what I can. But, clearly, the wholeness of the image God was creating of himself included his creation of male and female. And we know that Eve was created for Adam. She completed him in a way that none of the other creatures around him could do. She was human and therefore like him, but also different. In her special difference she was his delight and exactly the complement he needed to his masculinity.
In Ephesians 5, Paul begins to give commands to married couples telling wives to submit to their husbands and telling husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, “[giving] himself up for her, that he might sanctify her”. He goes on to say that Christ did this “so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she (the church) might be holy and without blemish.”
Do you see that? Christ, God incarnate, wants his people with him! And somehow that coming together of a husband and wife, explicitly portrayed as the different and complimentary male and female joined in marriage, is a picture of the process of his doing just that. Even Paul says that “this mystery is profound” but he says, nonetheless “let each one of you (men) love his wife as himself, and let the wife (woman) see that she respects her husband.
None of us can do it perfectly. My divorce papers are painful proof of that in my own life. My marriage ended, breaking what was there of that picture, even though it was between a man and a (very flawed) woman.
I have no moral ground to stand on to say anything to you about marriage.
What I do have is love. I have the love of God, who chose to forgive me, live perfection out for me because I couldn’t do it myself, pay with his own blood for me — and to do it all knowing every single way I would fail and betray him. It is within the context of this undeserved love that I have begun to be allowed to know him, to draw close to him. In my own sin and selfishness I have found that the rules by which he asks each of us to live are good because they are good for us. And that doesn’t mean I like all the rules all the time. There are times when what he asks of me seems to require that I deny myself of things I want down in the very core of who I am.
But I’m not always the very best judge of what’s good for me. I’ve proven that to myself time and again — just as an alcoholic proves to himself over and over again that though he doesn’t think he can live another minute without a drink, the drink isn’t good for him.
God, who was before all things, created all things, and is above all things has said that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman. He has ordained this not as a punitive measure to deny us what we really want. He has said so because it is objectively good for us and for families and society because it protects us and it tells us something about Him. And if something is objectively good for us then to go against that thing is objectively bad for us.
It is for this reason and this reason alone that any of us has room to say, “Though you want me to approve of this thing, I cannot.” Any other reason we have falls apart just as all that moral ground we wish we had slides out from under our feet when we look at who we really are before a God as good as this.
So really, who does Kim Davis think she is to judge? That isn’t the point. She’s no one. I recognize her because I’m no one, too.
Classy name, eh! Thirty nine million adulterers, signed onto “the world’s leading married dating service for discreet encounters.” “Life is short: Have an affair,” intones the publicity, with an accompanying song: “ I’m looking for someone other than my wife.”
Noel Biderman, the entrepreneur behind the company, claimed he was not looking for someone other than his wife. Hypocritically, while he and his wife made millions on cheaters, he claimed he was a devoted husband and father. She said she would be devastated if he were unfaithful. Not surprisingly, when the site was recently hacked, among the millions outed was Biderman himself, with emails proving he had used the site for multiple affairs with other women. The dissimulation continued, since evil has a way of multiplying its effects.
Biderman stepped down from leadership, with the statement, “This allows us to continue to provide support to our members…We are steadfast in our commitment to our customer base.” You have to wonder what “commitment” means when the facts now show that of the 39 million “customer base,” only 12,000 of them, .03%, were real women. [Now a new claim of 87,600 women on the site is still only 2.2%]. It was all faked, meaning that virtually most of the millions of clients looking for “love” were men, with virtually no hope of actual “discreet encounters” with adulterous women.
Alas, this is no joke. Three people have taken their own lives because of the leaks, and those involved include many U.S. government employees with sensitive jobs in the White House, Congress and law enforcement agencies– even hundreds of church leaders. Such evidence would indicate that this event is not an incidental cultural blip but rather the tip of an iceberg graphically showing how far Western, once “Christian” culture has fallen into seemingly unprecedented levels of license and debauchery. It is my sense that there is an underbelly of deep commitment to sexual depravity and moral degradation that the Western world, thanks to technology, has rarely seen before.
Just below the surface, sexual perversion is running wild. At the same moment Rentboy, the largest Gay Male Escort and Massage Site (allowing male homosexuals to advertise themselves to those interested in purchasing their services), was outed and charged with engaging in illegal prostitution. Further, while Caitlyn Jenner’s exposure brought transgenderism to your living room, actual transgender pornography is growing rapidly. Says sociologist (and former visiting scholar at the University of Southern California) Chauntelle Tibbals: “Even though transsexual porn has existed forever, as the world and our culture is becoming more accepting, it looks at and interacts with this content in a way that is more savvy and forthcoming”—whatever that means!
Compared to this, straight porn seems almost innocuous, but of course, it is not, being one of today’s great destroyers of marriage and family. Seventy eight percent of boys (boys) are exposed to porn before they are even old enough to drive and 79% of our young men turn to porn on a monthly basis. On this, there is so much more to say–at a future appropriate moment. Our normalized college “hook-up” culture, is based on notions of unstructured sexual freedom. And there is no let up. An article from Integrative Spirituality, with the title “The Future Looks Good,” without any concerns about sexual degeneracy, states: “Future generations will see even less dogma from church figures over sexual issues…like premarital and extramarital sex in 2025, and they will associate less guilt about sex…in a period of relaxing morality.”
What are Christians to do? Relax?
Specifically, with regard to the Ashley Madison affair, Albert Mohler rightly warns us that millions of families, churches, corporations and institutions are involved in this “moral emergency” that “calls for Christian compassion and care” for deeply wounded wives and children.
More generally, Christians must work for righteous legislation, but, as long as the heart of the culture is committed to lawlessness, then “what the world needs now is love,”–not the Burt Bacharach kind, but the redeeming love of God. Being “born again” produces moral purity (1 Peter 1:22-23). The Apostle John says …everyone who hopes in God purifies himself as God is pure (1 John 3:3). Therefore, we must be holy as I [God] am holy (1 Peter 1:16). What the world needs now is genuine expressions of moral purity.
Our task is clear: I urge you, says the Apostle Peter, as sojourners and exiles [in the pagan world] to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1Peter 2:11-12). We must live this way in a corrupt culture but without any sense of superiority or judgmentalism, since God’s love is sheer redeeming grace.Read More
This article by Rebecca Jones was first published in Presbyterian Church in America’s Messenger, May 1991.
As a child, I always loved the Lord. One vivid childhood memory stands out. With the rest of my tearful family, I am at the bottom of the stairs of our home in Pennsylvania. A hurricane rages outside. Floods are pouring into our basement. Yet we are only aware that the doctor is upstairs examining my little seven-month-old sister—will she live or die?
Each of us prayed fervently that evening. I begged my Father in heaven to spare my baby sister. The following morning a surgeon performed exploratory surgery and discovered intussusception—in time! My sister Anne is now the mother of five.
From the moment her life was saved, I knew God was there and that he loved my family. By the time I was eleven I had established very regular habits of “devotions.” I don’t think I missed a day until I was married at twenty.
Earlier habits were disturbed. I was no longer alone in the evening and I had to get up and out early to my teaching job in a school for delinquent girls. This kind of stress was entirely different from writing term papers!
The next year I taught seventh and eighth grade in an inner-city school in Trenton, New Jersey. With no experience, no text books and expecting a baby, I left each morning feeling sick. I cried whenever I wasn’t in front of my students.
Disappearing Quiet Times
The battle had begun. My “quiet time” began to disappear, squeezed out by grading papers, fixing meals, teaching, and by sheer exhaustion. Little did I realize that the rhythm I developed that year would one day seem easy.
Since then my life has been a whirlwind. We left for France via England, where our second child was born. When we arrived she was only three weeks old. I faced learning a new language, getting settled in, the birth of a third child, the discovery that our second little girl was deaf (with all the emotional and physical energy involved in her education).
Still later, more children, a home to build and later yet a second. Of course, there is always housework, laundry, meals, always a baby or a toddler, guests, parties to give, Sunday School to teach, Cued Speech classes to present—I’m sure you can imagine the rest.
Where Did it Go?
What happened to my quiet time? In 1985, we were in the States for a six-month furlough. I was alone again with six children to raise, since my husband was traveling. I felt particularly guilty about not having my personal time with the Lord. Late one night I was reading a Christian book on the disciplines of the Christian woman. When I got to the part that suggested setting my alarm clock at 3:00 am to have my quiet time, I slammed the book closed and threw it at the wall.
That book has probably been a blessing to many, but I never dared finish it. For me, right then, it just made me mad. My alarm was already set. Not for 3:00am, but for a reasonable 6:00am, so I could wake before the baby’s feeding at 6:30am. Since my various duties had already kept me up well past midnight, I would be getting plenty of piety points by getting up at 6!
The next morning at 5:45, the baby began to cry. So did I! Why did the Lord seem to be deliberately frustrating my attempts to be with him? Why was he avoiding me? Surely, he could have kept the baby asleep for forty-five more minutes.
Like a kind of spiritual neon sign lighting up in my soul, Isaiah 40:31 flashed into my mind. To my knowledge, I hadn’t read that passage in the days before, but the Lord whispered it to me now:
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, the will walk and not be faint.”
Am I one whose hope is in the Lord? My soul shouts out a resounding “Yes!” Does the fact that I haven’t opened the Bible in week mean I don’t love him anymore or the he has abandoned me? My soul shouts out a resounding, “No!”
A few weeks ago, I got up early to spend time in the Word before breakfast. I couldn’t concentrate. Two of my girls were already dressed and in the kitchen, getting their own breakfast in time to get off early to school. Without thinking, I went out to pour their tea, give them a kiss and listen to last minute lessons before their math test. Did I do the right thing?
Some of us may be surprised to find out how many hours we have actually spent with our Lord Jesus when we meet him face to face.
He may ask me, “Don’t you remember giving me breakfast before I went to school and showing me you cared about my math test?”
He may ask you, “Don’t you remember giving me that lovely warm bath when I left my jacket on the bus and was so cold coming home?” “Don’t you remember staying up late listening to my pain and comforting me when I felt so rejected by my so-called friends?” “Don’t you remember entertaining me among those fifty guests who stayed till 2:30 am and washing up those dirty dishes after us?”
We will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in?” The king will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
No, I haven’t stopped trying to have my quiet “quiet times.” Maybe someday when my seven children are a little older and my schedule slows down I will be able to have them on a regular basis again, as I long to do.
In the meantime, I’ve learned that my noisy “quiet times” are every bit as precious and honorable in God’s sight. I’ve also learned that right now, it’s one of the precious ways he chooses to commune with me.
©1991, Rebecca Jones
Today’s cultural progressives believe they have cornered “the right [and moral] side of history,” leading to the global unity of all peoples. Ban Ki-moon, the UN General Secretary, says it clearly: “the United Nations is the hope and home of all humankind.” This same vision motivated the original “united” nations at Babel—“nothing that they propose to do will be impossible for them” (Gen 11:6). But the parallels go further. Like Babel, a tower/temple to join heaven and earth, contemporary progressivism, in its celebration of human unity and the autonomous self, hates any notion of God as the transcendent Creator and worships and serves creation (Rom 1:25). Inevitably, its utopian schemes are a form of pagan Oneism, one more expression of idolatry. It is therefore terminally and incurably flawed at its heart, for at its center, it is driven by what the Apostle Paul calls “the Lie.”
Change the Language
An agenda thus motivated can only succeed by hiding inconvenient truth behind a façade of hypocrisy, deliberate obfuscation and outright deceit. Take one example from North American culture. Once in a while, the cover of this God-denying agenda is blown, as we have recently seen in the exposé of Planned Parenthood’s scandalous trafficking in aborted baby-parts. We may not yet be at the stage of George Orwell’s 1984 totalitarian State, where “The Ministry of Peace” actually fostered war, but the work of Planned Parenthood [PP], dedicated to aborting babies, is inexplicably called “women’s healthcare.” The machine of defensive half-truths and untruths kicks into gear, with the astute use of moral-sounding language. Hillary Clinton accuses those who wish to end the harvesting and sale of baby parts of leading a “full-on assault on women’s health.” She represents Planned Parenthood as “quality, affordable, healthcare for women.” The “quality” is dubious; it is “affordable” only because taxes support the massive killing machine to the tune of half a billion dollars annually; and “healthcare for women,” though it may include a number of gynecological tests and services, essentially involves the murder of 330,000 babies each year, which stretches the term “euphemism” beyond comprehensible limits. Terms like “a woman’s right to choose” sound very moral (like the name “Planned Parenthood”), but a woman choosing to drive down the left side of a highway into on-coming traffic denies the right to life to unsuspecting drivers, just as abortion denies the right to life to unborn babies. The easy term “Free Sex” from the Sixties, created this abortion industry, but nothing is free. The price has been heavy—53 million aborted babies since 1973 —all for sexual freedom, the normalization of cruelty, and the loss of cultural virtue.
Attack Anyone Who Questions
PP’s extremist abortion policy would be illegal in 93% of the world, yet somehow it is the courageous journalists who are called “monsters” or “extremists.” Attorney General, Lorretta Lynch, has referred to investigating the videos in the most ambiguous language, leading many to wonder whether she will in fact be investigating the filmmakers rather than Planned Parenthood. The “wise ones” in the US Senate calmly refuse to back any effort to defund the program; the President gives PP not only his, but God’s blessing; and mainline liberal denominations declare: “People who work for Planned Parenthood are doing God’s work. For this we are grateful.” Some are trying to avoid watching these videos, but their content shows just how calloused and evil PP is. They show the overtly criminal medical procedures that render second trimester infants “more intact” for trafficking: poisons are not used to kill the children in the womb, which provides many more usable parts to sell, but risks live births. The videos show a PP employee who, while sorting out the body parts of a dissected child, exclaims “another boy… here’s the heart… do people want to do stuff with the eyeballs?” Another sees the financial bonanza: “My department contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here…If we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, we can make it part of the budget.” These videos have shown what so many in the past (as a matter of policy) have refused to show—images of mangled babies who have been murdered in the name of “women’s rights” and “health.”
The bottom line of the global utopia is written in the blood of unborn babies. Can we trust such callous people with the creation of a just society? God has three modes of intervention. 1. disperse this evil coalition (as with Babel); 2. give them over to the consequences of their actions, which will lead at least some to repentance and a discovery of the Gospel, or, 3. come in final judgment. Let us call on the Creator of life to have mercy on our culture of death, and bring gracious forgiveness to many abortionists.Read More
Ironically, this claim [“the body of Christ is queer”], by an ordained bi-sexual female, Layton E. Williams, in the PC(USA), appeared the day before the decision of the USSC to legalize same sex marriage in all fifty states.
Culturally, this legal decision represents an historic moment for the United States. The Declaration of Independence, declaring that rights and laws are endowed by the Creator, has been rendered meaningless by a fake redefining of marriage, with no reference to the Creator or to any objective standards. The charade is over. This decision indicates that what has been happening for some time is finally here for all to see: the USA is clearly a “godless nation.” Let public figures supporting this decision no longer say or sing: “God bless America.” or “Amazing Grace.” It is just as worthless as their view of marriage.
This is a victory for “progressives,” though we have not made much progress. Augustine in his City of God vividly describes the 5th century pagan “games” offered in honor of Tanit, the celestial “virgin” and mother of the gods. He also describes the public display of the goddess’s homosexual priests. “They were seen yesterday, their hair moist, their faces covered in make-up, their limbs flaccid, their walk effeminate, wandering through the squares and streets of Carthage, demanding from the public the means to subsidize their shameful life.”
We still have such parades. The difference is that often at the head of our parades are ordained “Christian” ministers. In some ways the apostate church is leading the culture. Indeed, it is the homosexual “theologians” who really understand the logic behind this cultural movement. Episcopal LGBTQ advocate Marie Alford-Harkey stresses the need for more bisexual-friendly churches, which celebrate sexual diversity through the mediums of preaching and worship, proposing “the Queer God who challenges the oppressive powers of heterosexual orthodoxy…[in order] to liberate God from the closet of traditional Christian thought.” In other words, inclusive churches are not simply accommodating practice but developing a whole new theory of theology and community.
The formulation of Presbyterian Layton Williams is even more radical. It is not enough for churches to “admit” LGBTQ people into church membership and then keep them there at arms length. Such members must apply their morality and theology as “a vital component” of the church’s identity and teaching. “What God calls for isn’t inclusion of queer people, but for the church to “name and embrace its own queerness.” This requires a radical rethinking of its entire belief system. She goes on: “The body of Christ is queer because it isn’t defined or bound by human constructs or binaries. It transcends and subverts norms and boundaries. It contains multitudes.” Theologically, she is demanding the removal of the “binaries” including ultimately the removal of the Twoist doctrine of Creator/creature binary and God the Creator’s replacement with the “god within” which is full-blown paganism. Such “vital components” for the church’s message necessarily will include all kinds of “pan-sexual” activities.
Hopefully places like City Church in San Francisco, who have recently embraced same sex marriage will realize the full implications of that decision before queerness starts to define their entire belief system.
In some ways, apostate Oneist churches are showing the way for the culture. If the body of Christ is queer, so will be the body politic. Just as apostate churches are seeking total integration of “gayness,” so must the culture. You cannot introduce into society a life style, now considered legal, without it redefining what the culture must receive as morally and spiritually acceptable. Putting blue dye in one end of the pool affects the color of the water in the whole pool. So the USSC’s legalization of same sex marriage as the legalization of affective relationships, means there will be no logical end-point as to where such affective attachments could lead—transgender mating, incest, sado-masochistic homosexuality, polygamy, endless polyamorous permutations and eventually zoophilia, and everyone will be obliged to conform. There are already few, if any, sexual moral standards, so a generally amoral view of life will be communicated in nationwide curricula to the nation’s children. Homosexuality will also be encouraged in perfectly “legal” gay clubs in Junior and senior high schools. There is much more to be said. As churches and individual Christian believers, we will begin to discover how much the Oneist state intends to control our public and perhaps even our private speech and massively promote pagan religion.
All this should not surprise us, and if we can face the inevitable opposition to biblical truth the way the early church did, with courage and joy, we can eventually hope for a great spiritual revival. Certainly, if our culture continues to “evolve,” it will one day implode. May faithful believers be there when that happens.Read More