Daily Archives: June 27, 2015

What are the implications of the Supreme Court’s marriage decision? Four key things to consider.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

The latest polls show nearly 60% of Americans support the legalization of same-sex marriage. (graphic credit: Five-Thirty-Eight) The latest polls show nearly 60% of Americans support the legalization of same-sex marriage. (graphic credit: Five-Thirty-Eight)

(Washington, D.C.) — What are the implications of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on Friday to make same-sex marriage a Constitutionally-protected civil right? Is the Court’s decision to change the definition of marriage really such a big deal, or are Christians hyperventilating over the issue for nothing?

Unfortunately, yes, this is a very big deal, and it puts America on a perilous path. Unless we change course soon, this could accelerate the nation’s judgment andimplosion.

Let me walk through four key things Christians ought consider at this critical time.

First, the Supreme Court is overreaching its Constitutional authority, and is thus undermining its own legitimacy and pouring gasoline on a highly-politicized issue that will deeply divide Americans for years to come.

If the Constitution even mentioned the word “marriage,” the Court might theoretically have the right to address the subject. But the word is…

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GTY Blog: Heavenly Adoption

Code: B150626


by Jeremiah Johnson

Have you ever considered why Scripture encourages us to call God our Father? What eternal truths does that simple title point to, and what does it teach us about the radical change God has wrought in the lives of those who love Him?

We began this series by considering the state of unrepentant man—hopelessly lost in his sin and condemned to suffer the due penalty of his sin. But as we saw, God graciously intervened, transforming His people by grace through faith, and fitting them for righteousness and an eternal home with Him. It’s appropriate, then, to conclude this series by considering the glorious reality of redeemed man’s new position in Christ.

Specifically, we’re going to look at a particular illustration Scripture regularly uses to describe our new relationship with God. In his book Slave, John MacArthur describes this beautiful, uplifting analogy:

That God, in His grace, would free us from sin and make us His slaves is a wondrous truth to comprehend. What a privilege to know and obey the heavenly Master! . . . And yet the Lord has bestowed an even greater distinction upon those who are His own.

Having delivered us from the destitution of sin, God not only receives us as His slaves—but He has also welcomed us into His household and made us members of His very family. He not only rescued us, purchased us, befriended us, and took us in; He has also adopted us, thereby transforming those who were formerly children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3) into the sons and daughters of righteousness. All of this is possible through the redemptive work of Christ, who is the “only begotten Son” (John 3:16), and the “firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

The very term adoption is filled with ideas of compassion, kindness, grace, and love. [1] Slave, 154-155

A First-Century Illustration

Most of us are familiar with adoption in the twenty-first century—after all it’s a relatively common practice. But it wasn’t nearly as common in the world of the New Testament. To help us understand the full weight and vivid imagery of the biblical metaphor, John explains what adoption looked like in Roman society.

Though the formal adoption of slaves was somewhat uncommon, it was permissible under Roman law and did occur in certain instances. The extraordinary nature of the practice makes God’s adoptive love toward us all the more remarkable—in that He has done the unexpected by adopting all His slaves as His own children and naming us His heirs (Romans 8:17). In ancient Rome, the act of adoption immediately granted the former slave his freedom, permanently placing him into the family of his master. So also, as the adopted children of God, we have been set free from slavery to sin. Moreover, we can rest assured in knowing that we have been given a permanent place in the family of God.

Adoption, in Roman times, signified a new beginning: entrance into a new family such that all previous ties and obligations were broken. The adoption process consisted of several specific legal procedures. The first step completely terminated the adopted child’s social relationship and legal connection to his natural family. The second step made him a permanent member of his new family. . . .

Once the adoption was complete, the new son or daughter was then completely under both the care and control of the new father. The previous father no longer had any authority over his former child. In Roman households, the authority of the paterfamilias (“father of the family”) was final and absolute. And that authority extended to those adopted into the household, starting at the moment of their adoption. [2] 155-157

So it is with us, as the Lord looks upon lost and wicked “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), breaks the chains of our former master (sin—Romans 6:17), and removes us from the authority of our former father (the devil—John 8:44). All ties to our previous life are broken and we’re grafted into His eternal family and treated as if we had been there all along. From our heavenly Father’s perspective, no hint of our past life lingers, and none of the old animosity between us remains. We are His children, submitting to His authority and resting in His care.

As you might imagine, the benefits of such heavenly adoption are vast, as John MacArthur illustrates,

Because of our position in Christ, God now views us and treats us as He does His own Son—with infinite love. The Father cannot give anything but His best to His Son. Likewise, He will not give anything but His best to those of us who are in Christ—which is why we can “know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). [3] 157-158

Reflecting on the everlasting blessings and privileges of heavenly adoption, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote,

If God has adopted you into His family, if you are a child of God, your destiny is secure, it is certain. . . . It is a guarantee. If God has taken me into the family I am not only a child, I am an heir, and nothing, and no one can ever rob me of the inheritance. [4] D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Great Doctrines of the Bible (Wheaton: Crossway, 2003), 189

And it’s not just the Father who welcomes us into the heavenly household. The writer of Hebrews describes how our spiritual adoption also shapes our eternal relationship to Christ. “For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Hebrews 2:11).

Paul and Adoption

The apostle Paul would have been familiar with the method and meaning of adoption in Roman society, and he put the language of adoption to vivid use in his epistles. We’ll consider two poignant examples.

In his letter to the Galatians, he described how God’s spiritual adoption had set believers free from the rigid legalism of Judaism.

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:4-7)

To the Romans, he emphasized how heavenly adoption sets us free from the slavery of sin and its eternal consequences.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:14-17)

In Slave, John MacArthur explains how those passages emphasize the importance and the value of our adoption into the family of God.

Though we were formerly enslaved to sin and the condemnation of the Law, we have been permanently liberated through our adoption into the family of God. As His adopted children, we enjoy the profound privilege of an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father, to whom we cry out with childlike affection, “Abba!”

A term of intimate endearment, Abba is an informal Aramaic term for “Father.” It expresses tenderness, dependence, and a childlike assurance that lacks any anxiety or fear. Jesus Himself used the term in the Garden of Gethsemane when He poured out His heart to His Father (Mark 14:36). That we would be allowed to address the Father in the same way Jesus did underscores the magnificent reality of our adoption. To be considered “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” is a remarkable truth, and one that we should never take for granted.

To think that we, who were once the slaves of sin, the subjects of Satan, and the sons of disobedience, are now and forever the slaves of Christ, the citizens of heaven, and the children of God—such is the joy and wonder of salvation. As His enemies, we did not even deserve to be His slaves. Yet, He has made us both His slaves and His children. The incomparable reality of adoption is this: If God is our Master, then He is also our Father. [5] Slave, 159-160

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Albert Mohler Blog: “Everything Has Changed and Nothing Has Changed — The Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage”

In this blog essay, “Everything Has Changed and Nothing Has Changed — The Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage,” Dr. R. Albert Mohler’s responds to yesterday’s decision handed down by the Supreme Court mandating the legalization of same-sex marriage in all fifty states. Mohler writes:

“The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the land, and its decisions cannot be appealed to a higher court of law. But the Supreme Court, like every human institution and individual, will eventually face two higher courts. The first is the court of history, which will render a judgment that I believe will embarrass this court and reveal its dangerous trajectory. The precedents and arguments set forth in this decision cannot be limited to the right of same-sex couples to marry. If individual autonomy and equal protection mean that same-sex couples cannot be denied what is now defined as a fundamental right of marriage, then others will arrive to make the same argument. This Court will find itself in a trap of its own making, and one that will bring great harm to this nation and its families. The second court we all must face is the court of divine judgment. For centuries, marriage ceremonies in the English-speaking world have included the admonition that what God has put together, no human being – or human court – should tear asunder. That is exactly what the Supreme Court of the United States has now done.”

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Denny Burk: Praising grace and gay marriage all in one day

Of all the spectacles we witnessed today, perhaps the one that stood out to me most is the President of the United States. Early today, he stood in the Rose Garden praising gay marriage (watch below). A few short hours later, he stood in a Christian worship service praising the grace of God (watch above). In a single day, praising Jesus in the assembly and denying him in the Rose Garden. From the same lips, a confession of life-giving truth and of soul-destroying error. This ought not be (James 3:10).

It is one thing when a secular person claiming no connection to Christ endorses gay marriage. That is not surprising and hardly worth commenting on here. But that is not the case with the spectacle we viewed today. The President claims the mantle of Christianity and has previously invoked his Christian faith as the basis of his support for gay marriage, saying,

[Michelle and I] we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a as a dad and a husband and, hopefully, the better I’ll be as president.

No, I’m not citing the president to make a partisan point. Nor am I pointing to him as the cause of our nation’s slide to legal gay marriage. The president is a sign of our times, not the cause of our times. He is a reflection of an American public who are more than willing to revise Christ’s teaching in order to accommodate the latest transgression of the sexual revolution.

The president may have assumed the role of syncretist-in-chief, but he is not alone in his confusion about what “Amazing Grace” really means. For every one of us who stood aghast at the President’s hypocrisy, there were probably ten more who saw no contradiction whatsoever. And that is why I believe it is worth taking a little time here to clarify things for those who may be unclear on what the grace of God really is.

The “amazing grace” of God is not a permission slip for sin. On the contrary, the grace of God “teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:12). The “amazing grace of God” that saves us from the penalty of sin also delivers us from the power of sin. It teaches us to receive joyfully every word that proceeds from the mouth of God—including those words about marriage (Matthew 4:4). In short, the grace of God transforms us into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).

So I take no joy in the President’s rendition of the “Amazing Grace” of God today. How could I? There is no reconciling sexual immorality with following Jesus. You can have one or the other but not both—even though the President and many others of our countrymen have told us otherwise.


It’s Time For America To Stop Lying to Itself

Zwinglius Redivivus

It’s time to remove ‘In God We Trust’ from its every government appearance.  Because it’s a lie.  This country doesn’t trust God, listen to God, believe in God.

It needs to stop mocking God with such a patently false outrageously inaccurate misrepresentation.


The lie we tell ourselves needs to stop being told.

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TMS: An Open Letter to TMS Alumni – John MacArthur

Dear Master’s Man,

The highest court in the land has passed its judgment. The headlines proclaim that a slim majority of Supreme Court justices considers freedom of sexual orientation a right for all Americans. This exchange of one set of values in favor of another does not come as a surprise to us who already know that the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe (2 Cor. 4:4). June 26th, 2015 stands as a significant milestone in the American demonstration of this ancient reality.

In the coming days, you will be expected as a shepherd to provide commentary and comfort to your flock. This is a critical hour for pastors, and stands as another reminder of why proper training is crucial.

I’m writing this short message as one pastor to another. Media outlets are bustling with updates, and I don’t need to add my voice to the general fray. Instead, I want to help you shepherd your church through this confusing time. In addition to the helpful articles on the Preaching and Preachers Blog, I also want to communicate the below thoughts that I trust will help you frame the issue in a biblical way.

    1. No human court has the authority to redefine marriage, and the verdict yesterday does not change the God ordained reality of marriage. God was not defeated in this ruling, and every marriage will be judged according to biblical grounds on the last day. Nothing will prevail against Him (Proverbs 21:30) and nothing will thwart the advance of His Kingdom (Dan 4:35).
    2. The Word of God has pronounced judgment on any nation that would reclassify evil as good, darkness as light, and bitter as sweet (Isaiah 5:20). As a nation, America continues to put herself in the crosshairs of judgment. As a proclaimer of truth, you are responsible for never compromising on these issues. In every way you must stand firm.

No human court has the authority to redefine marriage, and the verdict yesterday does not change the God ordained reality of marriage.

  1. This ruling proves that we are clearly in the minority, and a people set apart (1 Peter 2:9-11; Titus 2:14). As I wrote in the book Why Government Can’t Save You, the standards that shaped Western culture and American society have given way to practical atheism and moral relativism. This decision has simply accelerated the rate of decline. A country will not rise above the morality of its citizens, and the majority of Americans don’t have a biblical worldview.
  2. Religious liberty is not promised in the Bible. In America, the church of Jesus Christ has enjoyed unprecedented freedom. This is changing, and the new normal may include persecution that is new to us. There has never been a more important time for gifted men to help lead the church by capably handling the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
  3. Marriage is not the ultimate battleground, and our enemies are not the men and women who seek to destroy it (2 Corinthians 10:4). The battleground is the Gospel. Be careful not to replace patience, love, and prayer with bitterness, hatred, and politics. As you carefully guide your flock around the dangerous pitfalls ahead, remind them of the indomitable power of forgiveness through the cross of Christ.
  4. Romans 1 clearly identifies the evidence for the wrath of God on a nation: sexual immorality followed by homosexual immorality culminating in a reprobate mind. This most recent step reminds us that God’s wrath has come in full. We now see reprobate minds at every level of leadership – in the Supreme Court, the presidency, cabinet, legislature, press and culture. If our diagnosis is in line with Romans 1 then we must also follow the prescription found in Romans 1 – we are not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation! In this day it is our divine duty and calling to strengthen the church, families, and gospel testimony by shedding the pragmatic nonsense that distracts the church from its mission given by God. Homosexuals—like all other sinners—need to be warned of impending eternal judgment and lovingly offered the forgiveness, grace and new life through repentance and faith in the lord Jesus Christ

In the final analysis, your greatest contribution to your people will be to show patience and a steady confidence in the sovereignty of God, the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the authority of Scripture. Turn their eyes toward the Savior, and remind them that when He returns, all will be made right.

We are praying for your steadfast proclamation of truth, and your uncompromising stand for Christ.

John MacArthur

The post An Open Letter to TMS Alumni appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

TMS: A Biblical Response to Homosexuality – (6 articles from The Master’s Seminary Journal that address the issue of homosexuality from a biblical perspective)

1. God’s Word on Homosexuality: The Truth about Sin and the Reality of Forgiveness

Abstract: Through following a distorted meaning of “love,” some in the present day have condoned homosexual practice, without realizing that biblical love excludes homosexuality because of its sinfulness. Christians can best share the gospel with homosexuals by calling their lifestyle what the Bible calls it—sin. Genesis 1–2, Matthew 19, and Ephesians 5 describe clearly the way that God has instituted marriage as a monogamous, heterosexual relationship. Genesis 19, Jude 7, and 2 Peter 2 illustrate how the Fall almost immediately eroded the purity of human sexuality, including a devastation of the divine institution of marriage. Leviticus 18 and 20 and Romans 1 lay out very plainly God’s instructions about how repulsive homosexuality is in God’s sight. Yet Isaiah 56 and 1 Corinthians 6 make plain God’s plan for homosexuals to find freedom and forgiveness through a life-changing faith in Jesus Christ. The door is wide open for homosexuals and lesbians to accept God’s invitation.

2. The Church’s Response to Homosexuality

Abstract: A tidal wave of immorality has inundated the United States and the rest of the world, demanding that the church respond to homosexuality in four ways. First, it must expose the sinfulness of homosexuality as depicted in the NT. Second, it must clarify that the grace of God and forgiveness extends to homosexuals also. The NT also makes this clear. Third, the church must expel practicing homosexuals from its fellowship. For them to remain a part of the church activities is a blemish that cannot be tolerated because it would indicate moral compromise, a lack of courage in confronting sin, and a failure to exercise the biblical prerogative of excommunication. Fourth, the church must resist the assault of homosexuality on society as a whole. The purposeful effort to sell the homosexual lifestyle is organized and dangerous and needs a concerted resistance to halt that movement.

3. Christian Parenting and Homosexuality

Abstract: The difficulties encountered in parenting, including that caused by children’s depravity, are best resolved through implementing biblical principles. In a society that is permissive and even positive toward the homosexual lifestyle, Christian parents should adopt eleven biblical goals in rearing their children. (1) They should do everything to reflect God and His glory. (2) They should help their children understand the gospel so that they receive salvation. (3) They should protect their children from physical and spiritual harm. (4) They should instruct their children in the truths of Scripture. (5) They should interpret Scripture so as to give their children a Christian worldview. (6) They should prepare their children for the responsibilities of adulthood. (7) They should prevent their children from falling to temptation by teaching them the consequences of sin. (8) They should correct any tendencies their children display toward sinful activities. (9) They should provide for the physical and spiritual needs of their children. (10) They should provide positive behavioral examples for their children to follow. (11) They should establish clear lines of communication with their children. These goals will help them deal with the same morally degenerate world as existed during NT times.

4. Cultural and Medical Myths about Homosexuality

Abstract: Three questions need to be answered regarding cultural and medical myths about homosexuality: (1) Is there a “gay gene”? In giving a positive answer, some sources cite two categories, nature and nurture. Behavioral genetics have sought and allegedly found a source for homosexuality, but many scientists have strong questions about behavioral genetics. Various studies have failed to prove conclusively that a “gay gene” exists. (2) Is it possible for a person to change sexual orientation from being homosexual to heterosexual? The current consensus in the mental health profession is that attempts to convert a homosexual to a heterosexual are too likely to be harmful. A possibility of change has been demonstrated, but worldwide consensus continues to view such a change as impossible because of biological and psychiatric factors. Studies by Spitzer and Jones/Yarhouse have identified examples of change without harm to individuals involved. (3) How have homosexual activists impacted modern cultures throughout the world? Various pieces of legislation, both national and international, have put at risk anyone who dares to oppose homosexuality. Even some ecclesiastical leaders have softened their tone in speaking against this sexual deviation.

5. The Source and NT Meaning of Arsenokoitai with Implications for Christian Ethics and Ministry

Abstract: Traditional interpretation of rsenokotai (arsenokoitai, “homosexuals”) in 1 Cor 6:9 and 1 Tim 1:10 refers to sexual vice between people of the same sex, specifically homosexuality. Some restrict the term’s meaning to “active male prostitute,” but stronger evidence supports a more general translation, namely “homosexuals.” More recently the definition “homosexual” has been opposed on cultural and linguistic grounds, the claim being that the term “homosexuals” is anachronistic. In addition, criticism of the traditional rendering says the term today includes celibate homophiles, excludes heterosexuals who engage in homosexual acts, and includes female homosexuals. A concern for acts instead of the modern attention to desires was the only factor in the ancient world. The foregoing opposition to the translation of arsenokoitai by “homosexuals” has a number of debilitating weaknesses. Finally, this study argues that Paul coined the term arsenokoitai, deriving it from the LXX of Lev 20:13 (cf. 18:22) and using it for homosexual orientation and behavior, the latter of which should be an occasion for church discipline (1 Corinthians 5-6) and legislation in society (1 Tim 1:8-11).

6. God Gave Them Up: A Study in Divine Retribution

Abstract: Isaiah speaks of the judgment inflicted by God’s wrath as His strange act and His strange work. The Pauline picture of human history in Rom 1:18–3:20 tells more about God’s judgment and why it is “strange.” His threefold use of paredôken tells of God’s giving mankind over to deserved punishment, which is more than a permissive divine action and more than a privative action—a withholding of common grace. It must be a judicial act of God in imposing His wrath on mankind. The devolution in human history is reflected in the more recent tendency of society to accept the sin of homosexuality and other sexual deviations as a mere sickness and not as sin. Civilizations throughout the world, particularly in the United States, are hurrying to their destruction by neglecting the righteousness of God in Christ, thus bringing on themselves the judgment of God as described in Rom 1:18–3:20. This is God’s temporal judgment which is preliminary to His eternal judgment on a rebellious human race. Retributive justice is an attribute of God and a necessary feature of His actions toward unbelieving humanity.


Veritas et Lux

aI read an important book today.  It is not a weighty theological treatise.  It is not a book about spiritual formation.  And it certainly is not written to inspire.  This book is about homosexuality.  Like it or not, in our culture, the topic of homosexuality has moved from stage left to center stage.  Everyone is talking about it.  Many people are affirming homosexual relationships – liberals and conservatives alike.

I recently read Steve Chalke’s booklet, A Matter of Integrity.  The author, who happens to be a Baptist pastor, seeks to legitimize and normalize homosexuality.  The booklet is written with tones of grace and the author appears very kind.  The only problem – the book is dead wrong.  The book opposes Scripture.  And the book fails to glorify God.

Kevin DeYoung’s new book, What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality addresses a controversial topic with grace but never at…

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