13 February 2022
All I can do is testify of the Lord's work in my soul. I cannot pretend to give answers for everyone else.
One of my friends goes to a Southern Baptist Church. He is aware of some of the fundamental differences I have with the common pool of Baptist teaching, yet feels led to keep asking me to explain the Bible from my ancient Hebraic emphasis. His church is dominated by right-wingers, of course, but he has long-time acquaintances through his secular business who are progressive. He often gets barbs thrown at him by people who assume he's your standard American right-wing "Christian".
Here's the thing: Neither he nor those who prod him are really ready to debate meaningfully. It's just a bunch of silly sloganeering. He wants to rise about that stuff, so he asks me how to answer the arguments that they throw at him. If he asks his fellow church members, he gets the same shallow pablum with a different flavor, and he believes that I can do better than that. He already knows I reject the left-right divide and that I hold to a radically different point of view, so he only asks me the questions regarding the Bible and Christian faith.
The biggest issue is homosexuality. God has been unequivocal -- it's a violation of His design. No matter how you slice it, this is a sin that arises from idolatry. In the Old Testament, it was often a conscious reflection of very specific pagan idolatry. In modern times, it's part of the general pagan orientation of people who worship human ideals.
Part of the problem is how organized religion has tried to enforce Biblical standards as civil law in the West. All the common arguments are based on human reasoning. The churchians are trying to justify enforcing God's commands on an intellectual level, and it doesn't work. It makes no difference whether people are born gay; all of us are born sinners.
The very fact of a mortal human body shows that. God didn't design us to be mortal, but we are now. This existence is punishment for sin -- specifically, humanity chooses its own capabilities to judge what is good and evil, instead of relying on God's revelation. That is the fundamental nature of the Fall. Rejecting His revelation forces us to live as mortal creatures, integrated into the natural world that we are supposed to manage on His behalf. He has further revealed how to make the most of this bad situation.
On our level, God has given us a Covenant with behavioral boundaries. But those boundaries require at a minimum your heart-borne commitment to Him personally. Secular or religious human laws are not the righteousness of God. His Laws are mystical; they rest entirely on your personal commitment to Him. It all points to the Covenant, and that covenant demands a community of faith. Within the community covenant, you have authority to require certain things. If people reject the boundaries, they aren't allowed to have the privileges of covenant fellowship. In theory, if your covenant extended to a whole nation with lawful control over borders and people, then you could enforce a covenant law. God has already warned this is not going to happen, so any covenant community will be restricted by civil law from a non-covenant human government.
The relationship our covenant tribe has with any human government is random from where we stand. We know God is in control of things ultimately, so wherever He places us, we have to negotiate some kind of truce. The terms will vary randomly over places and times. Sometimes they don't recognize us at all; sometimes we do get a few breaks. Executing homosexuals under your community covenant isn't likely to sit well with any human government. Trying to convince the secular government to make it illegal is a fool's errand. We already know how human governments decline into folly sooner or later. If we try to insert ourselves as a distinct entity into any such debate, it means we will eventually face a backlash of political enmity.
However, we are supposed to be ready to testify of our faith. It's not a question of justifying God to the masses; it's a matter of explaining how faith works. The emphasis is on drawing a distinction between the human way and the divine way. The divine way is the Covenant way.
In secular parlance, homosexuality is a sexual orientation, one of many nowadays. So is bestiality and pedophilia, for that matter. Sin knows no boundaries. You cannot bring that filth inside the Covenant community. Meanwhile, we are hardly surprised by the depravity of folks who reject the Covenant. So the real point here is not secular civil law, but how do we resist the sin that depraved humans try to force upon us?
That's a matter of conviction. Scripture suggests certain common responses. You must resist sin. You can resist by fleeing to a safer place. You can resist in various passive ways that you know will lead to serious persecution. If you have a strong enough covenant community, and your elders are so moved, you could probably come up with more organized and forceful ways to resist, still aware that it probably won't end well. The issue is not the outcomes, but that you stand up for the Covenant revelation.
A subsidiary issue is gender identity. If you pay attention to the Bible as a whole, you cannot mistake it: You are what God made you to be. If you are born male, then you have only one sexual outlet under the Covenant: a female wife. And vice versa. Any contrary "sexual orientation" is a problem you must work out with the Lord. Confusion of sexual identity is inherently evil. We might discuss how a particular cultural context expresses the difference, but if that's lacking in any way, we default to the ancient Hebrew culture. Hebrew manhood and femininity isn't hard to understand.
What about hermaphrodites? Did God make a mistake? Stop and think about it. Our human mortal existence is punishment; it's supposed to be awful. Bad things happen; innocent children suffer because their world is evil. The whole rest of humanity is to blame. The world is weighed down with sin, and God's intervention has already been made clear. What causes hermaphrodites is the same thing that causes cleft palates and every other birth defect, including my own physical imperfections. We suffer birth defects because the world is evil, and does not make sufficient effort to gain the protection of the Covenant.
Our fallen mortal fleshly bodies are exposed to random radiation from space and from radioactive stuff on the earth. That's a direct result of the Fall; eternal bodies are immune. We are exposed to pollutants like pharmaceuticals that afflict our parents' DNA before our birth and our own DNA after birth. That's the result of rejecting Covenant boundaries on human choices. If you walk in a heart-borne consciousness of the Covenant, you won't pollute like that. We cannot possibly know how good it can be until we see a world altogether under the Covenant, and that won't happen.
Blaming God for birth defects of any kind is missing the point. We are culpable for every bad thing that comes at us in this fallen existence. That's the judgment of God; there is no appeal. Human reasoning does not impress Him. The only right answer is to embrace Him as your feudal Sovereign and embrace His Covenant. Keep alive the hope of leaving this world of sorrow and going Home to be with Him.
Don't debate; testify of your faith.
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