Author Topic: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel  (Read 5001 times)

Dave Likeness

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Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« on: May 28, 2019, 04:13:14 PM »
It is disheartening to see major church denominations approve of gay marriage.
God instituted marriage to be a union of one man and one woman.  The law of God
condemns homosexual activity such as sodomy.   Whether in the O.T. or the N.T.
sodomy is a sin.  Yet, today some denominations have even endorsed homosexual
marriage for pastors.

It is a cop-out to become antinomian and say God's grace allows homosexual marriage.
The law of God condemns all sin.  Only a repentant heart which trusts in God's grace
can be forgiven.  We as Christians still need both Law and Gospel to guide our lifestyle
and not live as though God's law is now obsolete in the 21st century.

Charles Austin

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Re: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2019, 05:31:38 PM »
Been down this road before. But I only note that since we are constantly sinners, even heterosexual marriage, in every way, is tainted by sin.
But carry on.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Iowa native. Now in Minneapolis. One must always ponder both the value and the dangers of poking the bear. Aroused and stimulated, the bear usually shows its true self. Or it might leap to an extreme version of itself. You never know with bears.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2019, 05:38:02 PM »
It is disheartening to see major church denominations approve of gay marriage.
God instituted marriage to be a union of one man and one woman.

That's an interpretation of biblical texts. The patriarchs of God's Chosen people did not practice one man and one woman. Abraham had sex with slaves and concubines. Jacob had two wives and sex with slaves. Two of the leading kings of Israel were known for their many wives and concubines, David and Solomon. There are no commandments against it.

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The law of God condemns homosexual activity such as sodomy.   Whether in the O.T. or the N.T.
sodomy is a sin. 

First of all, "sodomy" is a translation issue. It's not a word that occurs in the Greek or Hebrew of the Bible.

Secondly, there are many sins that God condemned in the OT that we no longer consider sinful, e.g., the food restrictions. One particular sin, marrying a brother's wife, is condemned in Leviticus, but required in Deuteronomy if the brother has died without leaving an heir. Even the OT presents exceptions to the rules.


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Yet, today some denominations have even endorsed homosexual marriage for pastors.

Yup, it is better to marry than to burn with passion. It is better to marry than to be promiscuous.

Quote
It is a cop-out to become antinomian and say God's grace allows homosexual marriage.

It's a matter of the practical wisdom that Paul gives that I used above. For those who cannot control their sexual desires, it is better to marry.


Quote
The law of God condemns all sin.

Including the sin of judging and condemning others, like the Pharisee's self-righteous prayer in the temple.


Quote
Only a repentant heart which trusts in God's grace can be forgiven. 

So, in your view, Jesus' prayer, "Father, forgive them," only applied the very few who had repentant hearts and trusted God's grace; not the whole crowd who called for his crucifixion.


Quote
We as Christians still need both Law and Gospel to guide our lifestyle and not live as though God's law is now obsolete in the 21st century.

Some OT laws are obsolete in the 21st century. Many of us wear clothes made of blended materials - contrary to God's law. Many farmers and gardeners plant different seeds in their fields - contrary to God's law. Some of us like and eat bacon wrapped shrimp filled with cheese - contrary to three of God's laws. There are folks who eat blood pudding or blutwurst - contrary to God's law.

Somewhere along the line, folks decided that some of God's laws no longer applied to life in the contemporary world. Actually, according to Jewish rabbis, there are only seven commands from God that apply to Gentiles. There are 613 that they say apply to Jews. (You can look up the Seven Laws of Noah.)

Even when looking at the NT, we pretty much do not follow most of the prohibitions that the Jerusalem counsel decreed that applied to the Gentile converts to Christianity (which is repeated three times in the book):

Acts 15:20:
τοῦ ἀπέχεσθαι τῶν ἀλισγημάτων τῶν εἰδώλων - to abstain from the defilements of idols
καὶ τῆς πορνείας - and from the πορνεία
καὶ τοῦ πνικτοῦ - and from the strangled
καὶ τοῦ αἵματος - and from the blood

Acts 15:29
ἀπέχεσθαι εἰδωλοθύτων - to abstain from food sacrificed to idols
καὶ αἵματος - and from blood
καὶ πνικτῶν - and from strangled
καὶ πορνείας - and from πορνεία

Acts 21:25
φυλάσσεσθαι αὐτοὺς τό τε εἰδωλόθυτον - to guard themselves from food sacrificed to idols
καὶ αἷμα - and blood
καὶ πνικτὸν - and strangled
καὶ πορνείαν - and πορνεία

Yet, in 1 Corinthians 8, Paul seems to argue that for some believers it is OK to eat εἰδωλόθυτον, since idols don't really exist. As I noted above, few people have issues about eating meat with the blood in it or meat that has been strangled.

I used the Greek terms because I believe that there is great unclarity about the meaning of πορνεία as used in the NT. (It's pretty clear in the LXX that it's use nearly always refers to whoredom - a pretty specific sexual behavior that doesn't cover a couple having sex before marriage or committed homosexual relations.)

When talking about biblical laws, one needs to be careful about whether the command is actually based on the biblical words, or an interpretation of those words, which sometimes may not be accurate.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

D. Engebretson

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Re: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2019, 07:58:41 AM »
When talking about biblical laws, one needs to be careful about whether the command is actually based on the biblical words, or an interpretation of those words, which sometimes may not be accurate.

Focusing only on the specific words misses the rest of the interpretive process, reducing biblical interpretation simply to a lexical exercise.  Going out a little further the interpreter must ask: what about the context in which those words are placed(sentences, paragraphs, etc.)?  Going out further yet the interpreter must ask: what about the context of the book in which the message was given?  Going out further still one must ask: what about the context of scripture itself?  What about the analogy of faith?

How does the concept of homosexuality fit into these broader concepts?

Also, it is not enough simply to argue from silence or perceived ambiguity of a particular word.  Is scripture clear not just about a seeming lack of condemnation of homosexual practice, but also about acceptance of homosexuality the way our culture currently is? 
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 10:27:43 AM by D. Engebretson »
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JohannesKelpius

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Re: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2019, 10:25:59 AM »
I think the social and sexual mores of the late Hellenistic era are so different from our own that it is pretty murky as to what practices exactly Paul was talking about and how they relate to the modern relationships they are construed as condemning. This culture was highly misogynistic and it was also pretty common for well-off, married men to also enjoy handsome youths on the side. Orientation as we talk about it today doesn't seem to have been a consideration at all then. 

For better or worse the Christian church has made concessions to changing social norms that are not necessarily justifiable in scripture. Perhaps the most prominent of such concessions, which seems to be well nigh universal, is on the question of usury. Usury- meaning charging interest on loans, not merely excessively high interest as it was later redefined- is fiercely condemned throughout the scriptures and by many church fathers all the way up to Luther. But Christians- including so-called "traditionalists"- appear to have made their peace with it, to the point where they have accepted a socio-economic system completely dependent on it.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 10:28:58 AM by JohannesKelpius »

Dave Likeness

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Re: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2019, 11:26:28 AM »
It is important to note that heterosexual marriage was instituted by God as part of his plan for humanity.
Homosexual marriage was instituted by man and is contrary to the Will of God.

Heterosexual marriage is God-made and Homosexual marriage is man=made.   They are not equal
arrangements in God's sight.  When church denominations cave-in to the culture's current fascination
with homosexuality we have a problem of ignoring the Scriptural condemnation of homosexual activity.




SomeoneWrites

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Re: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2019, 12:33:03 PM »
I think the social and sexual mores of the late Hellenistic era are so different from our own that it is pretty murky as to what practices exactly Paul was talking about and how they relate to the modern relationships they are construed as condemning. This culture was highly misogynistic and it was also pretty common for well-off, married men to also enjoy handsome youths on the side. Orientation as we talk about it today doesn't seem to have been a consideration at all then. 

For better or worse the Christian church has made concessions to changing social norms that are not necessarily justifiable in scripture. Perhaps the most prominent of such concessions, which seems to be well nigh universal, is on the question of usury. Usury- meaning charging interest on loans, not merely excessively high interest as it was later redefined- is fiercely condemned throughout the scriptures and by many church fathers all the way up to Luther. But Christians- including so-called "traditionalists"- appear to have made their peace with it, to the point where they have accepted a socio-economic system completely dependent on it.

This would make a good thread. 
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LCMS theology major
LCMS sem grad
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Mark Brown

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Re: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2019, 12:45:24 PM »
Don't worry.  When we are all living under Islamic law you not only get the stoning of homosexuals you get Islamic banking which outlaws the charging of interest.  (It substitues for it in a rather complex way.)

As a sem prof used to say, Islam is always and everywhere a punishment for Christians who have lost the law.

JohannesKelpius

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Re: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2019, 01:09:05 PM »
Don't worry.  When we are all living under Islamic law you not only get the stoning of homosexuals you get Islamic banking which outlaws the charging of interest.  (It substitues for it in a rather complex way.)

I think you talk this way, not because you believe it, but because it provides an escape from troubling questions. Cavafy has a great poem, "Waiting for the Barbarians," about a town chattering in fierce anticipation of a barbarian invasion. Finally evening comes and the barbarians still don't arrive.

"...Now what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
Those people were a kind of solution."

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2019, 01:39:32 PM »
It is important to note that heterosexual marriage was instituted by God as part of his plan for humanity.
Homosexual marriage was instituted by man and is contrary to the Will of God.

Heterosexual marriage is God-made and Homosexual marriage is man=made.   They are not equal
arrangements in God's sight.  When church denominations cave-in to the culture's current fascination
with homosexuality we have a problem of ignoring the Scriptural condemnation of homosexual activity.


We have absolutely no evidence of any marriage ceremony that was instituted by God. The word "marriage" doesn't even occur in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, even though English translators may use "marriage/married" for words that generally mean, "to take possession of." In addition, there are no separate words for "husband" or "wife" in the Bible. Translators use those words when the original words (meaning "man" and "woman") seem to refer to one who is connected to the other. Most often through a possessive pronoun, e.g., "his woman" becomes "his wife".


A couple were considered married after the groom's parents paid the bride price, there was a party, and the bride and groom slept together. There were no vows. There were no wedding licenses. There was the community's acceptance that the woman was no "off-limits" to other men.


Heterosexual sex is necessary for humans to be "fruitful and multiply" (from Genesis1). However, reproduction is not the only reason people have sexual relationships. Genesis 2 talks about abating the man's loneliness, finding a helper fit for him, and becoming united. Companionship and helpfulness is part of our married relationships.


Song of Songs talks about the pleasure of sexual relationships. I believe that early humans engaged in sexual intercourse because they found it pleasurable long before they knew the connection of reproduction.


Thus, the Bible gives three separate reasons for sexual relationships: procreation, companionship, and pleasure. Even when procreation is not possible, e.g., oldsters or homosexual couples; the other two purposes are still possible.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

D. Engebretson

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Re: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2019, 01:58:42 PM »
We have absolutely no evidence of any marriage ceremony that was instituted by God. The word "marriage" doesn't even occur in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, even though English translators may use "marriage/married" for words that generally mean, "to take possession of." In addition, there are no separate words for "husband" or "wife" in the Bible. Translators use those words when the original words (meaning "man" and "woman") seem to refer to one who is connected to the other. Most often through a possessive pronoun, e.g., "his woman" becomes "his wife".


A couple were considered married after the groom's parents paid the bride price, there was a party, and the bride and groom slept together. There were no vows. There were no wedding licenses. There was the community's acceptance that the woman was no "off-limits" to other men.

Say for the moment we dispense with the word "marriage" in connection with Genesis 2. What are you inclined to call the relationship between Adam and Eve that is fundamentally different than marriage? And do you see it as normative in any way?  And here we can dispense with the modern concepts of parties and licenses.

The relationship as outlined in Genesis 2:

--Includes one man and one woman.  No other arrangement is introduced or suggested.
--Implies lifelong union.
--Is separate from the original family unit; in other words, it begins a new family unit.
--Includes the procreation of children.

Whether or not we use the word "marriage" it would seem that a distinct relationship is here formed and initiated at God's direction. 

How would today's more progressive relationships relate to this?
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 02:00:56 PM by D. Engebretson »
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2019, 02:02:26 PM »
Don't worry.  When we are all living under Islamic law you not only get the stoning of homosexuals you get Islamic banking which outlaws the charging of interest.  (It substitues for it in a rather complex way.)

As a sem prof used to say, Islam is always and everywhere a punishment for Christians who have lost the law.


The command against charging interest applied only to fellow Jews and immigrants (Ex 22:25; Lv 25:36-37). Jews were/are permitted to charge interest to Gentiles (Dt 23:19-20). In addition, they do not believe that this command, as well as most of the 613 commands of the Torah, applied to Gentiles. These were the commands God gave to his people - not to the world. Gentiles can eat pork, shrimp, and other foods forbidden to Jews. They can charge interest. They can work on the Sabbath. Many of these commands were intended to separate the Jews from the people around them.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

JohannesKelpius

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Re: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2019, 02:11:44 PM »
That seems a pretty fanciful reading to me. The dietary laws served to separate Israelites from the rest of the world, but usury was clearly seen as a moral failure toward one's neighbor. It is framed as predation against the poor. Hence the Christian church viewed usury as a sin until the modern era.

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Re: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2019, 02:22:13 PM »
It is disheartening to see major church denominations approve of gay marriage.


I'm disheartened to see the politically correct euphemism "gay" used in place of "homosexual". Even worse is LGBTQ, or whatever other letters they've tacked on to that ridiculous acronym.


Mark Brown

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Re: Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2019, 02:26:49 PM »
Don't worry.  When we are all living under Islamic law you not only get the stoning of homosexuals you get Islamic banking which outlaws the charging of interest.  (It substitues for it in a rather complex way.)

I think you talk this way, not because you believe it, but because it provides an escape from troubling questions. Cavafy has a great poem, "Waiting for the Barbarians," about a town chattering in fierce anticipation of a barbarian invasion. Finally evening comes and the barbarians still don't arrive.

"...Now what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
Those people were a kind of solution."

Umm, you need to attend a few more elementary/middle school music programs.  You will see two very interesting things.
1. The number of hijabs being worn and even the more full cover.
2. For the "winter concert" the Jews get a dredl song.  The Christians get a snow song.  The atheists get a "lights" song.  But the Islamic students - they get a song that actually mentions Issa and Mary.  (Now if it was me, that would be an act of definace and a way to sneak in the Christmas story, but that is not what is going on.)  Islam has real power.

Houellebecq is a prophet.  Unlike Christianity which has lost the ability in the West to bind hearts, so much so that we don't even try, Islam has not.  I've seen it in action.  https://www.firstthings.com/article/2019/05/why-i-became-muslim is a very interesting post-hoc rationalization of what was chosen in the gut.