The Way Liberace Used to Walk

In the previous post, the one where I mentioned that homosexual acts ought eventually to be prohibited by law, one commenter asked about my “constant hammering” on this issue. Why do I keep going on about it? Why don’t I write about sins my parishioners might actually be committing? Well, actually I do that too — one of my books was written for that express purpose. So that front is actually covered.

However, the central part of this question still needs to be answered. But before answering it, let me set the stage first.

Sodomy was a felony in all 50 states as recently as 1962, when I was nine-years-old. The establishment narrative — a very clever perversion of the Whig view of history, which was in its turn a perversion of postmillennialism — is that we are all of us gradually emerging from the dark woods of old-timey superstitions, and that these things take time. That gradual evolutionary emergence has us leaving behind the way we “used to be” and walking toward the higher mountain meadows of egalitarianism, where everything is bright and sunny, and the clouds are fluffy.

As a result of this narrative, we see a facile equation of “civil rights” for homosexuals with the actual expansion of civil rights for other minorities. “From Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall” is an illustration of this narrative in action. But prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 it wasn’t a felony to be black. It was perfectly fine to be black — it simply wasn’t fine to be black and doing the same things that whites were doing, like attending the same school.

I grew up in a segregated town, which meant that blacks were prohibited from attending the same school I went to, simply on the basis of the color of their skin. They were treated as different, and were thus excluded from being allowed to do the same things I was allowed to do (in this case, attend Germantown Elementary). Different people were not allowed to do the same thing. That is a crucial point, and I would plead with you to keep a weather eye on it.

Homosexual agitators argue that this is precisely their situation. They are different, and they are not allowed to do the same thing straights are allowed to do (e.g. marry). But this is so absurd that it is astonishing to me that the entire country has been able to debate this thing for years without getting a fit of the giggles.

If we are to treat men equally, this means that when one man marries a woman, a different man should be allowed to do the same thing — marry a woman also. You have different men doing the same thing. In the case of hetero and homosexual marriage, you have different men doing completely different things, and . . . here is the key point, the agitators insist that we all call it the same thing, under penalty of law.

They will go in an opposite direction, but if you point this out, you must be filled with hate. The body politic demands of us that we all say this particular set of quite distinct actions are precisely and exactly the same action. But whenever doublespeak is demanded of me, I start looking around for Big Brother. And well, look, here he is! Right on schedule!

As I hinted a moment ago, this is not simply a matter of dealing with a particular sexual vice. The reason for singling out sodomy for particular political attention right now is the homo-activists have made it their central political weapon. Other sins can still be addressed by pastors for what they are — sins. In the 1950’s, when a pastor was counseling a homosexual parishioner, he was doing what pastors now do when they have members with a porn problem, for example. He was trying to help someone with a personal struggle — and he was not having to deal simultaneously with a culture-wide insistence that this personal struggle be universally-recognized as a matter of personal pride instead of personal shame. At that time, sodomy had not yet been made into a flag for a movement.

Think about it. There are no Adultery Pride Marches. There are no Masturbation is Cool Stadium Rallies. There is no such thing as Secret Porn Stash Pride Day. Of course, since we live in absurd times, all this must be qualified with the word yet. So right now, as we speak, same sex couplings are being used by our ruling class in a completely different way than are these other sexual vices. We are experiencing a culture-wide full-court press on this subject. If there is a continuum between Selma and Stonewall, there the time is coming, and now is, when it will be just as unacceptable to say anywhere, including from the pulpit, that sodomy is an offense to God. Any minister who tries it will be treated the same way a minister today would be treated if he preached a sermon on race relations, using the phrase “colored people” throughout, and illustrated it with heart-warming video clips from Song of the South.

We are up against a very potent demand that we make our public demeanor toward homosexuals one that walks very gingerly, like a cat on hot bricks. I think it was Spurgeon who said that some ministers exegete a text the way a donkey eats a thistle, that is to say, very carefully. If you continue to believe, in the deepest recesses of your heart, that same sex activity is not exactly what God wants us doing, you currently have to express this sentiment, if you express it at all, by saying that you do not believe, at the end of the day, that same sex attractions are able to present us with an optimal opportunity for human thriving. You are not allowed to say, unless you are prepared to be a pariah, that sodomy is a very bad sin. Thanks for asking the question. “And kind of gross, if you think about it.” The zeitgeist is currently insisting that we mince our words the way Liberace used to walk.

So the reason I go on about this is that there are many ministers, in conservative, evangelical and Reformed circles, who are currently bending to these demands. But friends, the last thing we should do, when dealing with an angry mob on Lot’s front porch, is any bending of any kind.

Sodomy is therefore a political act, and those engaged in the movement know it. They have made no secret of it. So I don’t really feel bad for noticing this, and for refusing to go along with it. And in refusing to go along with it, I believe that such refusals should come as soon as you realize what road you are on, and not come when you balk at going the last half mile of it.

Incidentally, asking a woman to marry you, and to walk with you as you bring up children in the Lord together, is also a potent political act. But, in contrast to the sodomy revolution, it is a political act that actually bears fruit. More people who live that way should know about it. Somebody should tell them.

  • Brian Jacobson

    “…the last thing we should do, when dealing with an angry mob on Lot’s front porch, is any bending of any kind.”

    I chuckled because it’s clever.

  • John

    Androgyny is the end game. Christianity must be resolved to fight against “one-ism”–the idea that there are no sexes, no genders, no hierarchy in the family. Of course the genius behind satanic one-ism is that the government is actually in charge while everybody else is “equal”!

    True freedom, ironically, comes from kissing the hand of the Son, and paying homage to Him (Psalm 2). Let that be our prayer that God would use Christians to be salt and light in today’s time of swooning over ‘one-ness’ with the universe.

    But, to submit to Christ, that means letting go of ego, pride, and self-worship doesn’t it?

  • Eric the Red

    Doug, your analysis is fine as far as it goes, but you’ve left out a fairly major detail, which is to explain WHY people who support gay marriage think that gay civil rights is analogous to Seneca Falls and Selma. Your analysis of homosexuality begins and ends with “it’s a sin”. And under that analysis, your conclusions do indeed follow your premises.

    If, however, you accept scientific discoveries that some people have a gay nature, just as most people have a heterosexual nature, that is given to them without them having any real say in the matter, then the question becomes whether there is a reason to keep people who are gay by nature from pursuing happiness in life just as heterosexuals are permitted to pursue happiness. And from that standpoint, your viewpoint simply becomes one of raw cruelty, which is the reason most of our society has rejected it. People don’t like bullies, and your insistence that people who are gay by nature must go through life suppressing any hope of an intimate relationship just simply flies in the face of what most people consider fair play.

    If homosexuality could be turned on and off like a lamp, then you might have a point. But even if it were, people choose their religion and we protect religious diversity.

  • Rita

    To Eric the Red—> just because it is in someone’s nature to do something does not mean they should be allowed to pursue it for their “happiness”. Some people scientist have found are born with the inclination to commit murderous acts, it fills whatever void they were born with. Does that mean we should let them pursue their perverted inclination to satisfy them or give them joy? No. We are all born in sin, heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, and guess what sin makes us “happy”. But it leads us to hell. Just because a particular sin makes you happy and fulfilled does not mean you should be allowed and even enabled to pursue such sin.

  • Russ White

    @Eric: Actually, you’re completely wrong… Any Christian of any conservative stripe will tell you, flat out, that we’re all born with a proclivity towards one sin or another. To say, “some folks are just born homosexual,” is to say, “original sin, and being born in sin, are figments of the Christian imagination, and should no longer count in any way towards structuring society.”

    So let’s grant your premise for a second, and say, “some people are just born that way.” Well, everyone is born a liar, so lying is okay. Everyone is born selfish, so selfishness is okay, as well. Everyone is born enjoying pornography, so pornography is okay, too. Everyone is born a voyeur, so that’s just fine, in your view of things. In fact, the premise you want grants the entire liberal worldview in a nutshell. People are born one way, but we can make them another way through societal conditioning. The only moral stand to be made is in choosing which set of conditioners you’d like to live under.

    Your last statement is a logical fallacy –certainly people choose their religion, but that doesn’t mean we allow them to murder in the name of religion, do we? So we allow people to believe specific things, but we constrain the public expression of those beliefs –strictly in terms of actions– to fit the original Judeo-Christian morals on which this nation was founded. In fact, it is an explicit Judeo-Christian moral to allow people to believe what they will, so long as they follow a basic set of morals in their daily life, like respecting life, respecting contracts, respecting property, etc.

  • Josh R


    It seems odd to me that the Homosexual Advocates are hyper-calvinist in their “I was born this way” rants. Most of them will argue “i wouldn’t choose this” The point of the Christian message is “God makes you a new creation, and you don’t have to continue being that which you do not wish to be”

    I do think that here is some hard-wiredness in the homosexual mind. A massive portion of them where molested as children. Many more where in abusive relationships. Hormones do program our mind. They do hard wire our habits. I think as Christians we need to be careful to portray all sin as a case of having swallowed the cultural poison — then we can proclaim the antidote.

  • bbrewer

    Woe to the one who calls evil good.

  • Jay

    Yeah! Be more SCIENTIFIC you cruel monster!


  • Jonathan

    Pastor Wilson, I want to clarify. Do you believe that homosexual sex should not only be illegal in your future Christiandom, but should be illegal right now?

    And you still appear to be steadfastly avoiding the actual question I asked about what would heterosexual sins would be illegal in your future Christiandom. It’d only take a couple minutes you type out a yes or no to the items on my list, and any others you chose.

    And contrary to what you seem to imply, most Christians don’t seem to believe that masturbation and divorce are not sinful, and those who practice them without shame certainly aren’t condemned, cast out, or persecuted from the church, even if they don’t repent. And whatever pastors are claiming, premarital sex is being practiced by far more parishioners than are avoiding it, and certainly far more than are practicing homosexual sex.

    I was celibate from 3 months after I became a Christian in my teens until after I was married. My wife and I did not even share a kiss until our wedding day. But I am aware enough to know that I am a minority, that heterosexual sins and acceptance of them are increasing constantly while we rail against homosexual sins that are invisible in our own churches. My denomination does not accept homosexual practice or actively homosexual people in any way, and won’t in my lifetime or my children’s lifetimes. Neither will yours. It seems to be more a convenient political bogeyman than a legitimate pastoral concern.

  • Jonathan

    I should proofread before I send, now that there’s no edit function. Of course, I meant to say, “most Christians don’t seem to believe that masturbation and divorce are sinful”. An extra “would” crept in back there too.

  • Ryan

    Eric the Red,

    There are two problems with your approach. First is the fact that you are insisting that our reading of scripture must be subordinate to “science.” You might recall that you are here dealing with people who have rejected Darwin and Lyell in favor of the divinely inspired Word of God. Yes, though it seems quaint, we really do believe it.

    The second issue is that your conclusion, “therefore we must accept homosexuality as totally normal and acceptable human behavior,” doesn’t necessarily follow from your premise, “homosexuality is innate.”

    A point Pastor Wilson has raised before is that even if someone were to find a gay gene (a really big IF, since no one has been able to reliably PREDICT homosexual behavior based on any genetic characteristics – we may here dismiss all of those studies demonstrating that homosexuals have different brain architecture because correlation doesn’t imply causation), it wouldn’t require us to accept homosexuality as normal since we already know that some men prefer polygyny, but we don’t consider adultery to be acceptable behavior.

  • David R

    “If, however, you accept scientific discoveries that some people have a gay nature, just as most people have a heterosexual nature, that is given to them without them having any real say in the matter, then the question becomes whether there is a reason to keep people who are gay by nature from pursuing happiness in life just as heterosexuals are permitted to pursue happiness.”

    First, there are no scientific discoveries that people have a gay nature. Science has mapped the human genome and have yet to find a gay gene or any such indicator. They strive hard and have come up empty. So your first premise is factually incorrect.

    But lets play along with it for a second. If homosexuals are born that way, then aren’t pedophiles born that way as well? In fact, there is already movements under way in the psychological and scientific communities that claim just that ( And if they are born that way, then who are we to deny them their ability to pursue happiness, right?

    Let’s take it a step further. We are all born sinners. We are sinners by nature and there is nothing we can do to turn it off like a lamp switch. So if we are born sinners then why the insistence on suppressing our sin nature at every turn. Why not fight for it’s expression and demand that man be free from the shackles that society has placed upon it. As Rousseau once said, “”Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains”

    Fortunately, there is a cure for this sin nature and for the sin of homosexuality. It is the person of Jesus Christ. He has set us free from this body of sin and death.

  • Natalie

    I have a comment for Eric the Red.
    You said “Your analysis of homosexuality begins and ends with “it’s a sin”. And under that analysis, your conclusions do indeed follow your premises.”
    I think that that is fair and astute. That is exactly the issue here.
    “If, however, you accept scientific discoveries that some people have a gay nature, just as most people have a heterosexual nature…”
    This is very clear, which I appreciate. There is still debate about whether homosexuality is “natural” or not, and those of us who believe it is wrong tend to side with “no,” as you’ve mentioned. But what if we conceded that? Suppose that yes, they’re born that way. Here’s the gene, it’s science, we give in. Then what?
    The unspoken assumption seems to be “Well then, that would make it OK.” But there are a ton of natural things which are still declared sin by the Bible. I was born heterosexual. I am a woman. According to the Bible, I am not supposed to have sex with anyone unless it is my husband. Now, I did not have one for a long time (by some counts), and there was never any guarantee that I would, ever. The fact that I naturally wanted to and was born a sexual creature didn’t change that. (And if I hadn’t ever gotten one, would I have thought that was fair? Not really. But that would have been my issue to talk to God about, and maybe to Job. And it doesn’t change what He said is and is not pleasing to Him.)
    This is the part where I should put in some disclaimers of some kind, but the question really is, Is this a sin? If the answer is yes, then that is a problem.

  • David


    Your argument assumes from the beginning a view of human nature that is anti-Biblical. If the Bible is true, then people are no more born homosexuals than they are born gossips, or over eaters, or adulterers. Paul tells us in Romans 1 that male and female versions of homosexuality are “against nature”. The Greek is very clear. Paul does not say in Greek that these acts are against their nature, the person’s nature, but rather these acts are against human nature, the way in which man and woman were created to interact with one another from the beginning. These acts are contrary to the creational order instituted by God. This is not how God intended men and women to interact. Even our anatomical differences spell this out – did you ever notice how the male and female sexual organs just seem to fit together? And how babies often spring forth from this process?

    Further, what is natural is not necessarily morally good. This is the cusp of a naturalistic fallacy. What’s more, would we be willing to grant acceptance to pedophiles on this pattern of thinking? Even though pederasty and pedophilia are different in many respects to “consensual adult same-sex relations”, would we be willing to apply this line of reasoning to child molesters? After all, it seems hardly likely that Joe the molester woke up one day and said “You know what? I think I will become the person that just about everyone despises, even incarcerated criminals. I am going to make a conscious decision to be a child molester” Isn’t this the argument that homosexuals use of their desires, also? If the molester is a different situation (natural, but wrong, or not natural), then explain why it is different?

    Hey, just saying something is natural is really not saying anything at all. Sure, things tend to do what they tend to do. That is true by definition. This is a different set of ideas from considerations of ethics.

  • David


    By the way, invoking the holy name of science is actually quite unscientific. Science has not identified a genotype or consistent anatomical variations that are even causally associated with homosexuality. But even if they did, how does this prove causation? Natural science (as opposed to the pseudo-disciplines of social science) are not even close to being equipped to answer questions of the will and volition.

    We know that there are males for example who are born with two Y chromosomes, and that this is associated with a higher incidence of rage and violent behavior. Does this prove that when a double-Y male beats the tar out of someone else, that this was unavoidable, or that he had no control over his behavior? Hardly. And it’s the latter question that is no material, and thus not even in the purview of science. Science cannot directly address philosophical questions such as metaphysics and ethics,

  • Dan

    Thank you, Jonathan. You said what I have felt for a long time. Those with little to be accused of have little reason to accuse. I left that lifestyle nearly twenty years ago and still Christians are, for the most part, rather unkind to me about it. Snarky little jokes about “bending” to the will of the crowd do nothing to alter my perception of Christ’s people, either. I know that homosexuality is a sin, but your unkindness in the face of it is as well.

  • Robert

    I understand that the gays stopped looking foir a gay gene, not because it wasn’t there, but because someone pointed out that if such a gene were found, it could then be used as a screening tool for the abortion industry.

    Would you say that if a man consciouly marries a woman that he knows can not bear him children and adoption is not financially feasable, is in some way shirking responsibility?

  • David B

    Is heterosexual sodomy bad or just homosexual sodomy? Please clarify.

  • Sori

    A much needed article pastor Wilson. Thank you.

    It seems very strange to me that people like “Eric the Red” would bring such arguments here. Have those people heard of the Bible? God? Laws? Have those people considered that the pursuit of happiness might not be the chief end of man? Or, to put it better, that happiness is obtained only through a certain path, and that our being is utterly polluted by sin, so that we do not want (can’t) take that path without being regenerated? I mean, will I really break his whole worldview if I said that if a man is happy torturing people that doesn’t mean that it is right?

    Or, why don’t these people keep their mouth quiet, if they don’t know what they’re talking about? So many questions! I would ask for wisdom, but then I am not sure that wisdom can comprehend imbecility.

  • Nelson Montz

    At least, someone is speaking from the pulpit: maybe, time to speak on other things, such as rape, incest and “numb love” within the Christian community.

    The Bible depicts the story of Man, and there’s not too much new under the sun- only wrinkles. I have ceased worrying about this human condition; believe God has it figured out, and there could be surprises for us all. Sure, I have seen advances perpetrated on myself. Anywhere, from the old Fags within the theatre community; to a married man, who made advances in a small town newspaper in Indiana; to just a few years an Idaho professor extending his wishes.

    I used to ask, “What is wrong with me? Why does a gentle heart attract such overtures?” I don’t ask that, anymore. Finally, figured out at age 66- I’m just too damn sexy.

    As for Liberace: from a young farm boy’s perspective, watching Liberace perform on network television with his brother George- I was less interested in how he walked; more so, how he played.

  • Jo Shmo

    Please, more people bash on Eric in an effort to win brownie points with Doug Wilson. I am sick of prententious intellectuals like you.

  • Jimmy

    Pastor Wilson, I think the comparison of counseling a homosexual with a porn addict needs a little tweaking. I’m guessing that when a pastor is counseling someone who has a problem with adultery, or porn, or lying, or stealing, or gambling, or any number of other sins, sexual or not, that pastor probably has some insider knowledge of that particular sin. But for a lot of heteros, homosexuality is not just sinful, it’s *gross*, as you pointed out. This fact, I think, plays a big part in how heteros respond to it. They tend to go easier on the adulterer or thief because those sins aren’t filthy and repugnant like homosexuality is.

  • Andrew Lohr

    I hear Jonathan. Yeah, God created Adam and Eve, different and complementary; if He’d created Adam and Steve, Darwin would never have evolved. (Christians tell same-sex couplings “Repent!”; Darwin says “Drop dead.” We pay “gays” the compliment of saying they’re falling far short of their highest potential; Darwin says they’ll never improve.) A strong “gay” gene would not breed. But fornication outside marriage and across marital lines is far more common than sodomy, including in most churches. Even when the main business is calling for repentance on some “gay” point, isn’t it generally a good idea to put this species of fornication (of sexual sin) within the genus? Yeah, you (Doug) make this clear to your congregation; but couldn’t evangelicalism do with a whole lot more of it? Not just, Keep “gays” out of the army–that minority out of that distant group–but, teens and wannabe teens right here need to repent, and when you do, maybe we can tell THEM that sex habits can be changed. Branch first, twig later.

  • Joe Rigney


    I think your question is legitimate, and while Doug can speak for himself, I think this post at least begins to hint at an answer:

    Here’s the key principle:

    “[T]here is a difference between sins and crimes. It is a radical difference. Abortion should be against the law because God said to Moses on Sinai that we were not permitted to murder, and because He assigned civil penalties to violations of this law. Racial prejudice in the private sphere should not be against the law. God never assigned a civil penalty to it.”

    Based on that principle, I’d venture that in Mere Christendom adultery, fornication, and prostitution would be illegal, and have the same sorts of penalties as homosexual practice. I think there’s a strong argument that pornography would likewise be illegal. Sinfully undressing a woman in your mind wouldn’t be illegal, but it would, of course, still be a sin. In terms of divorce, it would only be permitted in those situations that Bible allows for it (sexual immorality and abandonment, with abuse being an extension of the latter).

    Does that help? Doug, is that about right?

  • Joel

    Jonathon et al,

    the charge “x is sinful” is not refuted by simply pointed at somebody else. “But look, Susie is being wicked in the kitchen!” No doubt. But what’s that got to do with this sin right here?

  • Jonathan

    I was really surprised that my comment got nothing but kind responses. I would still like to hear from Pastor Wilson on the question, or really any of the other Reformed Christians who look forward to Pastor Wilson’s vision of a future Christiandom which bans sodomy and expels or executes homosexuals.

    Maybe all the really attacking people got too distracted attacking Eric the Red. You all do realize that he’s not a Christian, that he’s not likely to be convincing any Reformed Christians on any of these points, that he’s not going to be convinced by any of those attacks, and that none of us is being brought closer to God by that exchange, right?

  • Rick Davis


    This is from an old Credenda/Agenda issue. Pastor Wilson is specifically addressing the question of how pornography would be dealt with in Christendom, but I think it also touches on your question as well:

    “Imagine a prosecuting attorney living at the time of Moses. And suppose some hard-core pornographers were brought in to him. According to biblical law , how would they be charged? With a biblical approach, the pornography would not be the crime, it would be the evidence of the crime. To illustrate, suppose some young teenagers went on a spree, breaking into shops and stealing things. One of the first things they stole was a videocam, and they were foolish enough to tape all the subsequent proceedings. In such a situation, we would not think to charge them with making movies of a burglary we would use the footage to establish their guilt in the theft itself. ”

    From this it seems that Doug’s answer would be that adultery and fornication would both be crimes in a society under Christendom.

  • Rick Davis

    I posted too soon. If I had read a couple paragraphs on in the article, Doug makes the point himself:

    ” To continue the illustration, imagine a society in which Christians insisted that we crack down on burglar movies, but resisted any attempts to punish thieves. The situation would be odd, at the very least. Why do we resist punishing what God requires punishment for, and insist on punishments found nowhere in Scripture?
    The lesson should be applied to pornography. In biblical law, numerous sexual relationships are prohibited, with civil penalties attached . When pornography is made and distributed, it should simply be used as evidenceof the adultery or of the sodomy, etc. “

  • Kirby L. Wallace

    “But friends, the last thing we should do, when dealing with an angry mob on Lot’s front porch, is any bending of any kind.”

    I see what you did there…. ;-)

  • Jonathan

    Okay, so adultery and sodomy would also be illegal? Maybe divorce and premarital sex too? What else? Masturbation? Lust? Sex with a woman during her menstral cycle? And what are the penalties?

  • Kirby L. Wallace

    Eric the Red: “… If, however, you accept scientific discoveries that some people have a gay nature, just as most people have a heterosexual nature, that is given to them without them having any real say in the matter, then the question becomes whether there is a reason to keep people who are gay by nature from pursuing happiness in life just as heterosexuals are permitted to pursue happiness…”

    It’s not SOME people that have a “gay nature”. ALL people do. Just as all people also have theiving, murdering, lying nature. But God restrains our evil nature. Homosexuals are not being subject to any unique sort of “nature” that all men are not subject to. They truly have as “equal rights” as any of us have already. They are equally called to repent of their “nature” as the rest of us are.

    If the gay agenda is to be accepted in the church As-Is, without repentance, or even any acknowledgement of it’s need (apart from how difficult it may be to actually do it) then they have a hard row to hoe, because the rest of us are not seeking to accept our sin, but to be delivered of it. If a homosexual wants to come into the church and seeks to be delivered of his sin, then he is equally welcome in the church as the man who repents of his theivery. But if you want us to accept, or worse, celebrate your sin? Mmmmnnn… no.

  • David


    Where in the Bible do you see the civil magistrate given permission by God to judge the heart (lust), or to penalize masturbation?

    Whether sex with a woman during her cycle should be a punishable offense, at least at one time it was God’s command that people not due this, under penalty of law (ceremonial law, that is).

    And yes, adultery should be against the law. You know why? Because God said so. The law is useful for restraining unlawful activities in society (I. Timothy 1:8-11). Apparently, the “smarter” alternative leads to….all the great, terrific things we have today! We’re so enlightened in our day and age.

    Here’s a thought. Maybe you and I and the rest of us should really take it seriously that God’s thoughts are not ours. Our natural inclinations are not His. When a law sounds offensive or silly to us, which is clearly why you brought up some of these laws, maybe we are not really in a good position of hand out moral judgments on God’s wisdom here.

    I’m not embarrassed by any of the laws in the OT. I do not believe those laws which are redemptive in character are enforceable today, but that is because of the teaching of the NT, and therefore I can still hold to the authority of the Scripture and its Author and not find it difficult to explain why I do not look for a priest to wash away my leprosy. But whether a law in the OT is to be followed today has to be settled on the basis of exegesis, and not on providing a group of laws that I guess you feel are so embarrassing on their face, that no intelligent person would even consider them.

    Professing to be wise, they became fools?

  • Will

    I posted this question on the previous post but… would a Christian future need more civil laws? The bible seems to say the opposite.

    “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”” (Jeremiah 31:33-34)

    Would not a Christian future have less civil laws based on this passage? Isn’t the problem with libertarianism that it is premature (not that it is Pollyanna)?

    It seems to me that even today most vices are not committed based on their legality but based on the heart condition of the actor. Adultery, drug use, and gambling have various levels of legality in various locations throughout the nation and the world and yet the participation in these things seems to be restricted among the devout – independent of civil laws.

  • Debbie Beck

    Why is this entitled “The Way Liberace Used to Walk”?

  • Nick

    There was no state in the Garden of Eden to issue a marriage “license” to Adam and Eve. Marriage and the proper conduct of physical union in marriage was a direct ordinance of God. If the state contradicts what God has decreed, it is sin. However, it is just as much a sin if the state tries to license and place man’s stamp of approval on God’s Word, as if God needs man’s approval.

    The solution to diminishing and eliminating homosexuality is not found in depending upon some vain hope of sanctifying the godless state; it’s found in the preaching of the Gospel. As God regenerates men and brings them into the Church, sin dies.

    My encouragement to fellow believers is the next time you’re tempted to waste your time writing some letter to your congressman about a moral issue (that will go right into the trash can of some intern working on a political science degree), instead spend that time telling someone about the crucified Savior; it will be much more fruitful.

  • Eric the Red

    1. I never said there was a gay gene, I said science points to some people having a gay nature. Genetics may have something to do with it, but there is also evidence that the chemicals to which a fetus is exposed in the womb play a role. There is evidence that regardless of what causes homosexuality, a child’s sexual orientation is firmly in place by early childhood.

    2. The difference between having a nature that is gay, versus having a nature that is gossipy, murderous, violent, alcoholic, or any of the other sins listed is that all that other stuff causes harm. Other than the fact that it’s against your religion, homosexuality does not cause social harm in the way that gossip, murder, violence and alcoholism do. Irresponsible homosexuality may cause social harm, just as irresponsible heterosexuality does, but homosexuality per se does not.

    3. Appeals to the Bible are simply the logical fallacy of appeal to authority. That aside, I have no beef with churches making whatever theological pronouncements they choose, so long as they don’t seek to enshrine their theology into civil law.

  • Rick Davis

    Appealing to Authority is not a fallacy. Most of the beliefs we hold as human beings are based on an authority of some sort. Very little of our beliefs are based on direct experience or deduction. Appealing to a Faulty Authority is a fallacy. If the Bible is a valid authority then it is appropriate to appeal to it.

  • Jane Dunsworth

    “Why is this entitled “The Way Liberace Used to Walk”?”

    Read the article. Wilson’s usual M.O. on this blog is to pull a rather odd phrasing out of his article as the title, so that you have to carefully read the whole thing to see why he used it. It doesn’t necessarily summarize the point the way headlines or titles usually do, it just sparks curiosity.

  • Thursday

    all that other stuff causes harm

    Again I’d advise everybody to read Jon Haidt’s The Righteous Mind. Not everybody things the end all and be all of morality is harm and fairness. In fact, even some moderns have had trouble defending their own systems. Here’s J.S. Mill trying, in vain, to save utilitarianism from itself:

    “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question.”

    A lot of people in our modern society just can’t “see” why purity, loyalty and respect for authority should be thought of as moral, just like they have trouble “seeing” God. This is why I am strongly opposed to calling our society pagan. Real pagans believed in their gods and saw real spiritual meaning in the world. Moderns do not. A pagan is someone begging to be converted. A modern is someone for whom the spiritual world is dead. T.S. Eliot was right that we may need to convert people to paganism first before we can convert them to Christianity.

  • Daniel Smith

    My home country (Australia) has well and truly joined the walk. From next month, when ever a citizen fills out a government form and they have to choose their gender – we now have three options, Male, Female or X. The church here no longer has a response to this kind of thing.

  • Jonathan

    David says: “Where in the Bible do you see the civil magistrate given permission by God to judge the heart (lust), or to penalize masturbation?”

    Where in the Bible do you see the civil magistrate given permission by God to impose a theocracy of Christiandom?

    I already know that Pastor Wilson reads the Bible is a quite different manner than I do. The manner in which he reads it forces him to write entire books defending Southern slavery. I think that his reading is not how God intends us to read it, and I think that his defenses of Southern slavery and a future Christian state that banishes homosexuals are only symptoms of the misreading, not the root.

    What I do see in the Bible is Jesus specifically pointing out that the Jewish people had erred in how they viewed lust and adultery. I also see him stating that some things were commanded by God during the early theocracy due to their hardness of heart, but were not His ideal intent for the fullness of time.

    I also see a great number of commandments by Jesus rejecting judgment. Including, in one instance, rejecting the legally proscribed penalty for adultery.

    Jesus didn’t command the state to do anything. He also didn’t “give permission” for what any future Christian or secular state could or couldn’t do. Instead, he told followers of God what they should or shouldn’t do. I believe that those declarations to Christians apply to all parts of our lives, and that it is a false modern viewpoint to try to separate our life into categories where we act like Christians in some spheres and then can drop those same commands in other spheres. So Jesus in that manner has a great deal to say to every Christian participating in the State, but He never commands “the state” as some sort of entity that allows Christians participating in it to follow different rules than they would in the rest of their lives.

    I’m not embarrassed by Leviticus. I have learned a lot from it, and believe God has a lot He will continue to teach me from it. But I don’t believe that Leviticus is a set of commands written in order to be followed* specifically by me, a follower of Christ who knows His life, death, and resurrection. When Jesus fulfilled the Law, he showed that it had a much deeper intent than the original manifestation all along.

    * (for instance, I am almost never heard even the most fundamentalist Reformed Christians state that they are trying to follow Leviticus 19:8, 9, 10, 13, 17, 19, 20, 23, 26, 27, 28, or 34, and modern capitalists pretty much run by constantly violating 19:10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 19, and 33. And for some reason I don’t hear 20:9 or 20:18 talked about nearly as much as 20:13. And since mediums and spiritists are incredibly popular today and completely legal, why aren’t they attacked for 20:27 and everyone who listens to them for 20:6 in the same manner that 20:13 is constantly referenced?)

  • Jane Dunsworth

    ” I never said there was a gay gene, I said science points to some people having a gay nature. ”

    “Appeals to the Bible are simply the logical fallacy of appeal to authority.’

    How does point 3 not undermine point 1? Or did you do the research yourself?

  • Daniel

    In light of the gay marriage issue in our culture what do you think of this statement?

    “Power to regulate personal relationships in any way, including marriage and “gay marriage”, should never be given to the government unless the government is church government or God.”

  • Douglas Wilson

    Daniel, the problem lies in the word “regulate.” I don’t think the state has the power to create marriages. But it has to have a mechanism whereby it recognizes lawful marriages because marriages create property issues, and custody issues, which the state must adjudicate.

  • Iohannes


    Where, besides explicitly Christian standards, should a Christian look to judge whether or not the state has the power or duty to punish something? Another way to think of this is, when Paul says the state has the power to punish evildoers in Romans 13, how can we know what Paul means by “evildoers” and by “punish”?

    Cordially in Christ,

  • Daniel

    This is from an Atheist but it seem to make sense

    “In sum: the state should get out of marriage. If it remains in existence and monopolizes the legal system, it should enforce any contractual aspects of regimes entered into by consenting adults. What they call it is irrelevant. Ideally it would be unlabeled and private society would figure out naming conventions. But the state should not be allowed to hamper the rights of non-standard couples just because it insists on decreeing what is and what is not “marriage.” If the state insists on regulating unions and giving it the label “marriage,” then gays ought to be able to legally protect their relationships and associated regimes. The state infringes their rights to do this if it monopolizes the field then denies them entrance.

    Bu another writer. not sure what his view of God is.
    “[N]ot only are property rights also human rights, but in the profoundest sense there are no rights but property rights.” Human rights therefore accrue to a proprietor or homeowner, one of these being the right to employ or rent on any basis he chooses. After all, his business or home is presumably his.

  • Melody

    Eric the Red says, ” Appeals to the Bible are simply the logical fallacy of appeal to authority.”, and thus he chooses to appeal to the authority of ‘Science’. What did I miss?

  • katecho

    Jonathan wrote:
    “Jesus didn’t command the state to do anything. He also didn’t “give permission” for what any future Christian or secular state could or couldn’t do. Instead, he told followers of God what they should or shouldn’t do. I believe that those declarations to Christians apply to all parts of our lives, and that it is a false modern viewpoint to try to separate our life into categories where we act like Christians in some spheres and then can drop those same commands in other spheres.”

    “Where in the Bible do you see the civil magistrate given permission by God to impose a theocracy of Christiandom?”

    Jonathan seems to be taking a stand to help cast the cords and fetters of God’s principles away from the secular State. I seem to recall that this is about the time that He who sits in the heavens begins to laugh and scoff at the idea. This is also just before He speaks in His anger and fury and points the kings of the earth back to the feet of the Son, who has been installed as King on His holy mountain.

    Jonathan may be putting himself on record as being opposed to Christendom, however, Psalm 2 doesn’t merely give the civic magistrate permission, it requires the rulers of the earth to kiss the Son and acknowledge Him as their King. It is impossible to honor someone by ignoring them from your office. Period. It is possible to honor someone with just your lips (as many politicians do), but Scripture defines love and honor according to words AND actions. Do we honor Christ as King by purging His name out of civic discourse and legal argument? Hardly.

    Jonathan seems to have sided with the Secularists regarding the civic realm, but what does this suppose concerning the title that Jesus is King of kings? It nullifies it.
    If Jesus is King of kings, seated on the throne of heaven, ruling the nations with a rod of iron, then this looks like something. In the case of secularist governments, it looks like “perishing in the way”.

    Unless Jonathan wants to argue that Jesus is not King of kings, and has not been given the nations as His inheritance, then Jonathan’s civic theory is simply unbiblical and to be rejected.

    The question is not whether there will be a theocracy, but which theocracy will be imposed and will it be oppressively imposed or patiently imposed. Which god is being bowed to by the State? The Creator or the creature? There is no neutrality in this sphere.

  • Eric the Red

    Jane, and Melody, what you are missing is that an appeal to authority is only a fallacy if authority forms the basis of the argument — I’m right because I’m an authority. That, however, is not how science works. Yes, someone with a Ph.D. in biology knows more about biology than I do, and I’m therefore inclined to take his word for it, but I’m not required to take his word for it. If I want to go to the trouble of replicating all of his data for myself, I can do it.

    That’s not true of an appeal to the Bible; I have no ability, even if I wanted to, to independently confirm the truth or falsity of its teachings. I take it on faith if I take it at all.

  • katecho

    Eric the Red wrote:
    “I never said there was a gay gene, I said science points to some people having a gay nature.”

    Science pertains to measurable data. I’ll probably regret asking, but what units are used to measure “gay nature” in the lab? Does a nature fit in a test tube, or is it a diagnosis rendered by a licensed psychologist?

    Eric the Red also wrote:
    “Yes, someone with a Ph.D. in biology knows more about biology than I do, and I’m therefore inclined to take his word for it, but I’m not required to take his word for it. If I want to go to the trouble of replicating all of his data for myself, I can do it.”

    Replicate what data? How would this data confirm or exclude the presence of a gay nature in patient X? Or is Eric required to take the PhD’s word for it? Does the PhD have a scalpel that is sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division between nature and nurture, and able to judge the lifestyles and perversions of the heart? This sounds more like psychology, witchcraft, or religion than science.

    “He didn’t have a choice, a PhD in biology diagnosed him with a bad case of ‘gay nature’. We can’t argue with science.”

  • Jonathan

    Katecho, you have done it yet again. The first quote you have of mine appears NOTHING like the interpretation you have written of it, and you’ve purposely taken the second quote out of context to hide the fact that it was a rhetorical question I was using to show the falsehood of the question you had posed.

    How could you possibly read me say that Christians MUST act like Christians in all areas of their lives, and then claim that I’ve sided with the secularists?

  • Jonathan

    “Where, besides explicitly Christian standards, should a Christian look to judge whether or not the state has the power or duty to punish something? Another way to think of this is, when Paul says the state has the power to punish evildoers in Romans 13, how can we know what Paul means by “evildoers” and by “punish”?”

    I believe that the Christian should use the same judgement they use in any other aspect of their lives. That means that it takes a lot more wisdom, prayer, love, and careful discernment than simple claims to a certain preset rulebook. Now, there are obviously going to be differences – a decision made among family members, will look different than a decision made among church members, will look different than a decision made among neighborhood members, will look different than a decision made among nation members. But I believe the same principles apply.

    When I say “the same principles apply”, if you want to ask “What principles are those?”, then I highly suggest you start reading with Richard B. Hays’s “The Moral Vision of the New Testament”. That is still the best work I have ever read on receiving a moral framework from the Bible.

    As far as Romans 13 goes, I think you’re misinterpreting it a little bit. I think the natural flow of the passage shows that you have to include Romans 12 and go all the way to Romans 13:10. It’s pretty obvious that Romans 12 is meant to be linked to Romans 13:8-10, and then you can see where Romans 13:1-7 fits into that, instead of being just an out-of-context insertion reading like nothing else Paul ever wrote. When you see it in the right context, I think you see that the passage is clear about what individual Christians SHOULD do, and then briefly explains that such a thing is possible because of what GOD can do THROUGH the state. The pagan, unholy state, not the Christian state. God is telling the people not to worry about judgement, because He can carry out judgement through any means, even the pagan ones. Paul wrote the passage in the context of a Roman government that was oppressing Christians, not a bunch of Christians leading a government. When we do gain the reigns of government, I think we’re supposed to stick with the Christian side of the role, not try to take up the pagan side for ourselves.

    This blog explains it in better detail:

  • Arwen B

    Jonathanon Monday, June 17, 2013 at 2:04 am said:

    “I also see a great number of commandments by Jesus rejecting judgment. Including, in one instance, rejecting the legally proscribed penalty for adultery”

    This is a rather interesting interpretation of what happened. You say that Jesus rejected the legal penalty for the case of the woman caught in adultery.

    The law in Leviticus states that when a man and a woman are caught in adultery ~both~ must be stoned to death. In the case brought before Jesus, only the woman was brought out for judgment. So the question becomes, where is the man? One cannot be caught in adultery by ones-self, there must be another participant.

    So, He embarrasses her accusers into leaving, so there is no one to accuse her. What He has rejected is the accusers’ inequitable and unjust application (their perversion, if you will) of the Law.

    This does not mean that there was no judgment. After all, He Himself told her to “Go and sin no more.” Telling someone “You have sinned. Knock it off.” is a judgment, yes?

  • Jonathan

    Arwen, you’ve created a marvelous story based on quite scant evidence.

    But if the issue is the unjustness of the accusers in failing to stone the man, it would make sense for the accusers to be legally judged in some way. Yet they are not. And the unjustness of the accusers does not mean in any sense that the woman has not sinned. Yet she is freed.

    And you are right, that God (and Jesus) indeed judge sin. I was not saying that there is “no judgement” in the sense of no judgement by God – I was strictly speaking of the legal judgement.