In general, the covenant marriage stander community hasn’t paid too much notice to the Nashville Statement that came out this week. That might actually be pretty healthy, but in the interest of not allowing a good culture-influence opportunity to go by, “standerinfamilycourt” would like to offer up what is hoped will be an amusing introduction, in similar spirit to the one offered by Rev. Doug Wilson in his Blog and MaBlog post this week, “Brief Statement on Any Future Statements About the Statement“. (Admittedly, readers will find the Reverend’s humor to be superior to SIFC’s. )
After some prayerful reflection, “standerinfamilycourt” did finally sign the document at the end of the week, with some reservations and suggestions which will be shared in the next blog post. In the meantime, just imagine if in August, 1969, this statement by a man-of-the (RCC)-cloth, appeared in The Washington Post:
I AFFIRM: That God loves all [legalized adulterers] .
I DENY: That Jesus wants to insult, judge or further marginalize [serial polygamists].
NUGGET OF SANITY: Once civilly legalized, it seems consecutive polygamists became the least marginalized societally-corrosive population of all time, while their spiritually-and-financially-abandoned covenant families became the most marginalized, by both church and state.
I AFFIRM: That all of us are in need of conversion.
I DENY: That [people “married” to someone else’s s spouse] should be in any way singled out as the chief or only sinners.
NUGGET OF SANITY: Indeed these folks are not singled out as the chief or only sinners, thanks to the various evangelical manifestos over the years that have all hyperfocused on the symptomatic rise of homosexualism. Legalized adulterers are simply the most numerous and economically powerful underminers of biblical family.
I AFFIRM: That when Jesus encountered people on the margins, he led with welcome, not condemnation.
I DENY: That Jesus wants any more judging.
NUGGET OF SANITY: There’s a valid difference between “leading” in the encounter or relationship, and “discipling / sustaining” Both are needed. Both require biblical integrity. Stating biblical principles as unchanging, unconditional and non-optional is hardly “judging”. All ideologies have a measurement standard, be they toxic or beneficial ideologies to the health of society. Jesus also had a measuring standard, and because He will be applying it in the age to come, He spent a lot of time educating “people on the margins” about it, after welcoming them.
I AFFIRM: That [legalized adulterers] are, by virtue of [infant] baptism, full members of the church.
I DENY: That God wants them to feel that they don’t belong.
NUGGET OF SANITY: Not going there concerning the effect of baptism without scriptural authority, except to say that just perhaps the extrabiblical notion of infant baptism is precisely what makes any sexually deviant person (or pair) feel as though they (unjustly, in their view) “don’t belong” to the church.
I AFFIRM: That [people who “marry” someone else while having an estranged true spouse still living] have been made to feel like dirt by many churches.
I DENY: That Jesus wants us to add to their immense suffering.
NUGGET OF SANITY: Famously, this was also the position of Dr. David Instone-Brewer and of Erasmus Desiderius (what’s with these Anglican / Catholic humanists?) What about the far greater multi-generational suffering of the covenant famil(ies) they’ve abandoned or defrauded, while many churches overtly affirm the abandoners and defrauders in doing so? Nobody “makes” anybody “feel” anything: permission always needs to be inwardly granted, and responsibility for our feelings needs to be self-owned. Jesus would prefer that people not suffer far more immensely and eternally in hell, and has already given several warnings to that effect [Matt. 5:29-32; Luke 16:18-31, for example].
I AFFIRM: That [legalized adulterers] are some of the holiest people I know.
I DENY: That Jesus wants us to judge others, when he clearly forbade it.
NUGGET OF SANITY: Oh, dear. We truly need to pray for you, if people living, Herod-like, with the poached and absconded spouses of others are indeed the “holiest” people you know. We are who we hang out with, according to 1 Cor. 15:33. As for the alleged “judging”, please kindly see above.
I AFFIRM: That the Father loves [consecutive polygamists], the Son calls them, and the Holy Spirit guides them.
I DENY: Nothing about God’s love for them.
NUGGET OF SANITY: We need to have a much longer perspective on our definition of “love” that extends beyond this temporal life, as the Father actually does. See again, Luke 16:18-31. We also need to understand that God’s love is administered separately for each of them as individuals, who are not actually the one-flesh entity Jesus described in Matt. 19:4-6.
Jesus clearly based his view of marital monogamy and longevity on God’s creation of two and only two complementary sexes, “male and female”, as established in Gen 1:27; reiterated in Gen 2:24 as the foundation for marital joining of two halves into a single sexual whole (Mark 10:5-9; Matt 19:4-6). This is a “judgment” made by our own Lord: an inviolate standard that the Church must hold at all costs. Our Lord’s words on divorce and remarriage are predicated on the even more essential two-sexes foundation for all sexual ethics, where the creation of two (and only two) complementary sexes implies a limitation of two persons to a sexual union.
( SIFC: from here, we make a few substitutions into Dr. Gagnon’s rebuttal, as we did with Fr. Martin’s rebuttal of the manifesto itself. Advance apologies to those who rightly conform to the words of Jesus, “Call no man ‘Father’ “).
“Like many who seek to promote [consecutive polygamy as holy matrimony, liberal and evangelical churches, feminist groups, and the like] want to make the “don’t judge” statement a canon within the canon, falsely treating it as an absolute injunction while applying it selectively.
“Contrary to Martin’s contention, Jesus did graciously challenge and warn persons who were engaged in egregious sin, not just in his group teachings but also in individual encounters. When Jesus encountered the woman caught in adultery he did tell her to “no longer be sinning” with the inference that otherwise something worse would happen to her, not merely a capital sentence in this life but loss of eternal life (compare John 8:11 with 5:14).
“Yes, all of us are in need of conversion, but Martin [and these liberal secular and ecclesiastical groups do not] want to convert people out of a [life that Jesus repeatedly said was adulterous in the ongong sense]. [They want] the Church to affirm the sin or at least to [continue not taking] a stand against it.
“Martin complains about the Nashville Statement singling out ‘LGBT people.’ Yet the issue here is the attempt in the broader culture and in sectors of the church from [far too many denominations as well as the Roman Catholic Church of late] to single out [legalized adulterers] for exemption from the commands of God. [These churches are] not truly welcoming the sinner but rather affirming the sin. [They want] the lost son to remain lost in the deepest sense, for one is ‘found’ only when one returns in repentance (Luke 15:24).
“Infant baptism does not inoculate an individual against the judgment of God for failing to lead a transformed life. There is no sin transfer to Christ without self-transfer; no living without dying to self and denying oneself (Mark 8:34-37). Paul’s warning regarding the Corinthian community’s tolerance of an adult-consensual union between a man and his stepmother is a case in point. “Is it not those inside the church that you are to judge?” (1 Cor 5:12), Paul asked rhetorically. The answer to that question is not ‘no’ (as Martin seems to think) but ‘yes.’
“The Nashville Statement does not claim that persons who engage in homosexual practice can never act in a holy manner [but, nor does it bother with the far more relevant question of whether consecutive polygamists can or should repent of ongoing sexual immorality, ongoing unforgiveness of their true spouse and the idolatry of self-worship, none of which are redemptive or holy. In fact, the glaring, intentional omission of church-“sanctified” heterosexual sin from Article 10** of the Nashville Statement is quite likely to undermine all credibility in this document because this reflects a substantial lack of integrity or self-examination, signed as it has been by many shepherds who routinely perform weddings that Jesus unequivocally and repeatedly called adulterous]. We all compartmentalize our lives. But the areas we are good in do not validate the areas we are bad in. From the standpoint of Jesus and the writers of Scripture, engaging in behavior abhorrent to God contests any claim to holiness.
[**Article 10, as drafted, reads as follows: “… that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness.”]
“The bottom line is this: [many of the signers of the Nashville Statement are] using, or even abusing, [their] offices to undermine what for Jesus was a foundational standard for sexual ethics…..”
[ SIFC: As noted in earlier blogs, Dr. Gagnon is, on balance, a solid supporter of marriage permanence, but not necessarily of the principle of absolute indissolubility by acts of men. In this regard, he has frequently written that he does not consider marital monogamy to be a foundational element of the Creation account, Gen. 2:21-24, to the degree and extent that gender complementarity is, and has even more frequently written that homosexual practice is, in his estimation therefore, a greater sin than is the practice of legalized adultery. Nevertheless, he has written in the past that remarriage by the “innocent spouse” following man’s divorce is not scripturally supported.
Dr. Gagnon has recently departed from his tenured post at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (we note, run by the very liberal PCUSA), and he covets the prayers of the saints for his next assignment. Let’s all pray that he will land in a place that allows him greater freedom to continue training future pastors with full biblical integrity while speaking to all of the grievous excesses of the Sexual Revolution. For nothing will be impossible with God. ]
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