Please read the attached article from the Canadian Covid Care Alliance. Fifty pages.
Bill C4 and God’s Law (continued)
[note: Joe Boot of the Ezra Institute wrote an excellent piece in September 2020 warning of the passage of Bill C8. That bill died when the election was called. Bill C6, which enlarges scope and penalties of C8 has been passed. I recommend you read it.]
Part one of this series is here.
The impact of Bill C4 is clear: to work for or encourage the conversion of an individual away from sinful sexual behaviour is now illegal. To preach, teach, counsel young people and to inform them of the teaching of Scripture on sexual ethics, is illegal. It is illegal to speak of “attempting to change one’s sexual orientation.” To present a Gospel that involves real change, is illegal.
In light of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, preaching the whole counsel of God is illegal:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9–11, ESV).
An unbelieving world will care little that some “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (vs 9). To the unbeliever, the secular state has declared itself to be God, and the only kingdom worthy of concern is the State. But that little phrase in verse 11! “And such were some of you!” This means change, born of the identification of sin, repentance from sin, regeneration.
“But you were washed, sanctified, justified.” You were one thing, now you are another thing. It really can’t be any clearer. There is an old riddle, “When is a door not a door?” Answer: “When it is ajar.” This works better when heard rather than written, since “ajar” and “a jar” sound alike. So a door is not a door when it is “a jar.” Break this down as a sentence and you get this: “When is a door not a door?” “When it is ajar.” A jar is not a door, so we can understand it this way: “When is a door not a door?” “When it is something else.” A door is not a door when it is something else.
When is an idolator not an idolator? When he is something else.
When is a homosexual not a homosexual? Bill C4 says never. “Once queer, always queer.” Scripture says, “And such were some of you.” The Christian then must answer, “when he is something else.” A regenerate man, a man who is “washed, sanctified, justified.” He is something else indeed!
This applies to all rebellion (sin) against God, so we never identify ourselves by our sin. A regenerate person will change. The sin once embraced has become a dreaded enemy to be fought at every opportunity. “You must be killing sin or it will be killing you” –Puritan John Owens.
To proclaim a Gospel that identifies and names sin (preaching the Law of God) and promises deliverance from that sin, is forbidden by Law. A man who loves his sin will not want to be saved from it. But a man who loves the Christ who died for that sin will seek to kill that sin.
Our response? We cannot adapt the Gospel to the urges of the day. God’s Law, His Word, abides. A cherished sin is still a sin, and sin forever separates man from God. A damnable sin is still a sin, and no act of a governing body can change that. Nothing has changed.
It is of the utmost importance that the church does not adapt its message to new laws. To adapt is to abandon Scriptural authority. It is impossible to preach salvation from sin and not to preach the necessary abandonment of that sin. This includes all sin, but some sins don’t have legal protection today!
Every preacher, elder, teacher must affirm commitment to this: “We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). The context of this passage indicates that the Apostles cared little that they shamed their accusers: “The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree.” (Acts 5:30, ESV).
Some may ask, “Is this a hill to die on?” But, “Is this a hill to surrender on?” Can we surrender God’s clear Word on sin and still have a Gospel? That answer is clear.
Bill C4 and God’s Law
With respect to Bill C4, I wish to encourage, or challenge, Christians to stand firm in the challenge this law presents. What we are witnessing is Parliament’s “lawless declaration of independence from God” (Rushdoony), and it is not an option for the pastors of Canada to remain silent.
There are at least three reasons why this is a Gospel issue.
- Preaching the Gospel demands preaching the Law of God. It is not “good news” unless it is understood what we are saved from. God’s Law determines right and wrong. Bill C4 denies this.
- The Gospel demands change (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 John 1:5-10). It is a part of the normal Christian life to identify and struggle against sin, and God’s Law tells us what sin is. A Christian who is not painfully aware of his sin and is not actively struggling against it is no Christian. Bill C4 denies this, and attempts to make change, or conversion, illegal. 1 Corinthians 6:11, “and such were some of you” is now a forbidden topic.
- The Gospel will change us. Bill C4 denies this. See 2 Timothy 2:5 and Romans 1:16-17.
What I write below is an exposition of my first thesis (#1) above. These do not read well, as they are taken from slides I prepared for a lecture. Please bear with me. I intend to write about the impact of C4 upon the second and third theses in later posts.
Preaching the Gospel demands preaching of the Law of God. My aim is to make clear the fact that the Law of God is absolutely clear about sexual sin, and the behaviours protected by Bill C4 are damnable sins.
The church today has been invaded by antinomianism, which weakens, rejects, or distorts the law of God. It is actually considered a very bad thing to believe or teach that God’s Law, specifically His moral Law, should be obeyed today, that this Law should be the foundation for our civil society.
Interpreting the Law Today
1. The law of God is a mirror of God’s holiness and our unrighteousness. It serves to reveal to us our need of a saviour. This Law must be a part of Gospel preaching.
(first use of the law)
2. The law of God is a restraint against sin.
(second use of the law)
3. The law of God reveals what is pleasing and what is offensive to God.
(third use of the law)
The Christian is to love the law of God and to obey the moral law of God.
Let us then apply this Law to Same-Sex marriage (hereafter SSM). Since it is soon to be illegal to attempt to change one’s “sexual orientation” (to change one’s preferred sin), this is a natural place to begin. Preaching, counselling, teaching, and encouragement will all be denied to those who struggle against the sin of same-sex attraction.
The arguments from Christians against applying God’s Law to SSM run something like this:
Question: “Is SSM sinful, or should Christians accept it?”
Answer: “Jesus does not explicitly comment on it, and condemnations against male and female homosexuality are confined to the Old Testament and Paul.”
If we follow Jesus, we can’t say (from what He taught) that SSM is wrong.
Answer to the objection: Consider the Seventh Commandment:
14 “You shall not commit adultery.”
Webster’s dictionary (2003) defines adultery as: “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband also: an act of adultery”
But how does Scripture define it?
The Bible forbids many other forms of sexual sins: incest, male and female homosexuality, fornication, bestiality, some forms of sin that are tied to pagan rituals.
The 10 Commandments only list one: Adultery. The 10 Commandments only name Adultery as a sexual sin.
Jesus affirms that adultery and fornication are sinful, but does not name the other sins.
If Jesus doesn’t condemn SSM, why do Christians reject it?
Answer: Jesus does address it.
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, (πορνεία porneia), theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:19, ESV)
Porneia is a catchword for all kinds of sexual immorality.
It will be argued, “But SSM is marriage, and therefore not porneia, immorality.”
Answer: SSM cannot be marriage. Consider Jesus’ understanding of marriage:
“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.'” (Mark 10:6, ESV)
What is the larger context of this verse? What is Jesus talking about? In this context, can Jesus be approving of SSM?
Answer 1: Jesus understands marriage as being only between a man and a woman. If He is our authority, we cannot say otherwise. His teaching that marriage is heterosexual is grounded in creation. Created order is, by being of God’s decree of creation, unchangeable.
Are there other answers?
Answer 2: the use of synecdoche in the Bible. A synecdoche is a single word (a part) to describe the whole. For example, a farmer might say he has 50 head of cattle. This is a figure of speech meaning he has 50 cows, not that he has only 50 heads! Adultery is a synecdoche for all sexual sins, since all sexual sins are a rejection and breaking of the marriage covenant.
The Seventh Commandment against Adultery is a synecdoche for all sexual sin. Adultery is the chief of the sexual sins, because at its heart is a violation of the marriage covenant, either by those in the covenant or those outside of it. The term serves as a synecdoche for all sexual sins since it is the broadest term.
There are sexual sins that Jesus does not mention—we cannot take that “silence” as permissive. For example, Jesus does not condemn child pornography. We can hardly take that to mean He permits it!
If adultery is a synecdoche for all sexual sins, it makes discussing this topic possible without mentioning every possible transgression.
Answer 3: the words of the Law are the Words of God. Jesus is God, therefore the words of the Law are the words of Jesus.
Answer 4: the OT Law is useful. That is, the moral Law is still binding on Christians, and ought to be taught. Remember too, that when Paul wrote these words to Timothy, the Old Testament was the “all Scripture” to which he refers!
2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV) 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
“All Scripture” in this passage refers to the Bible of the early church—the OT.
Answer 5: Paul’s writings (and prohibitions against homosexuality) are inspired:
2 Peter 3:15–16 (NIV) 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Although Jesus does not explicitly name homosexuality or same-sex marriage as sinful, sound hermeneutical principles enable us to apply the principle of the seventh commandment to this question.
Pastors today must preach “the whole counsel of God.” We must not entertain the notion that, “Since SSM is legal, we must treat it as real marriage.” SSM falls squarely under the sin of adultery.
The next two theses will point to the urgency of application for pastors and teachers.