A Different Kind of Deplorable Word

There are a number of ways in which all the important subjects in the world are actually all about the same thing — God and man, sin and salvation. That being the case, there should be a number of ways in which the subjects that have occupied a good deal of space on this blog for the last few months are all about the same thing as well. Let me take a crack at explaining why that is so.

How to listen to the gospel . . .
How to listen to the gospel . . .

This world is a screwed up place, but doesn’t like thinking of itself in those terms. The world is as screwed up as it is because it is convinced of its own righteousness, and coming face-to-face with its own unrighteousness is the most difficult operation in the world. Apart from a sovereign work of God’s Spirit, it is an impossible operation. Hearts made of stone can’t pump any blood, and the prophet Ezekiel assures us that the unconverted and unregenerate heart is in fact made out stone clean through.

That being the case, the stony heart does what it can do, which is level accusations against others in the spirit of malice, envy and vindictiveness. The best defense is a good offense. This way everyone can feel righteous for the time being on account of being an accuser, and we also have an explanation for the things that are wrong with the world, for we also have an accused — the other, whoever he may be this time.

Since the world is actually evil, we don’t have to make up accusations (although we still do that as well). There are many evils that are true evils and so they genuinely merit and deserve any accusation they receive. Thus the problem is not the guilt of the accused, which is often recognized despite ourselves, but rather the guilt of the accusers, which almost never is.

To molest a child is an appalling thing. There is no righteous way to relativize it into some kind of “not so bad” status. It is an evil simpliciter. At the same time, the Bible still says that not all sins are created equal. Some things are in fact worse than others, but which in no way justifies or explains away anything which is simply evil on its own level. The lesser of two evils is still evil. The greater evil never makes the lesser evil okay. It is worse to murder one hundred people than it is to murder one, but to make this observation is in no way an attempt to justify the murder of the one.

Another thing that would be worse than being a child molester, for example, would be to be a child molester who happened to be be a judge sentencing someone to hard time for child molestation. That would be worse. Double standards are wicked, not because they condemn the wicked, but rather because they insist on remaining wicked themselves while doing so. Scripture always stands against sin and evil, but it takes a particular stand against two-faced sin and evil. “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.” (Rom. 2:1–2, ESV).

As a pastor, I have in the past counseled and worked with child molesters. But I have also counseled and worked with people who have done worse things than that to children, and have received no criticism at all for doing so. For example, not only have I offered the body and blood of Christ to repentant sexual offenders, I have also offered the holy elements to repentant Christians who in the past have procured abortions. That would be something worse, would it not? All sin is bad, some sin is heinous, and some sin goes beyond heinous. But all sin, whatever it might be, can be washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ. If that is not true, then I need to get a more useful job than the one I have now, and start driving truck for UPS.

Now the free grace of free forgiveness for absolutely any repented evil is — bear with me here — simply deplorable. In every worship service, when I declare the assurance of pardon, without knowing what has come through the door, I am doing something outlandish. If we look straight at such words, meditating on what is actually being said, we see that free grace is actually freaky grace. We are not in Charn, and it is a completely different kind of deplorable word, but from the vantage point of pharisaical respectability, it is in fact a deplorable word.

But because we don’t want to face up to the outrageous nature of free grace, we do the only thing we can do, which is minimize some sins and magnify others, all while trying to stay on the right side of whatever line we are drawing. So we say that child molesters cannot really repent, or, if they do repent, they can never marry. We think that we would never do the scarlet letter thing, but all we have done is change the letter. The person is branded by their sin.

That is somehow their forever-identity. Not only so, but we also assign the forever-identity of “victim” to their victims.
We do this, not because we stand for the victim the way the Bible requires us to, but rather because the initial evil paved the way for us, and just as the molester groomed his victims, so now certain self-selected individuals groom them to become their ongoing victim pets. We do not want the free grace of the gospel to have authority to deal with sin, and so we have to cultivate a moral indignation that arbitrarily picks and chooses.

That is why no one has ever suggested to me that women who have obtained abortions in their past should be prohibited from marriage. No one has ever suggested to me that someone with three homosexual experiences in his teen years should be prohibited from marriage. No one has ever suggested that exposure to child porn should be a barrier to marriage. And why? Because some of those things might apply to too many of us, and that could become disruptive. We would rather accuse other people. And thus it is that we would rather accept the world’s categories and terminology than the terminology of the Bible (e.g. sociopath, alcoholic, pedophile vs. hard-hearted, drunkard, sexually immoral). But along with that terminology we unfortunately find that we have also quietly adopted the world’s hypocrisies about the whole thing. A thief is someone who has stolen something in the past, while a kleptomaniac is someone with an identity. A thief can repent. A kleptomaniac needs treatment. A drunkard can repent and become a new man. But once an alcoholic . . .

Sin is defined in the Bible as lawlessness. Sin is refusing to obey God. We sin when we refuse to obey His law, and we also sin when we refuse to obey His gospel. Sin is disobedience. And America has a sin problem. There is no rehab center for America to check into, and it wouldn’t do us any good even if there were one.

This is why we want to turn everything into a different kind of problem, one about professional credentials. We can assume authority over that, right? These are the kind of credentials that equip us to assign certain labels to certain people, and shuttle them off to rehab. And being normal is defined as being one of the people currently outside rehab. And the population of those “recovering” steadily grows. All this recovering, and yet nobody forgiven

Suppose a preacher offers the free grace of Christ’s blood to a man who has done an awful thing, but who has professed repentance. Our society wants to name him as a sex offender, as a pedophile, as a sexual predator. That is what he is, and that is what he must remain. Our generation does this because we need this category of contemptible outsiders over there so that we may remain comparatively righteous over here. But no — we are not righteous over here.

The nation that does this kind of thing, giving preachers the evil eye for offering grace to men who have repented of a great evil . . . is a nation that has not yet repented of far greater evils. At the Planned Parenthood protests on Saturday, one of my friends was chided by one of the PP counter-protesters for bringing his children to the event. His response was “I don’t take parenting tips from people who kill babies.”

The prevailing wisdom of our society is a wisdom that is not only fine with dismembering 50 million babies, it is a society that has fiercely resisted any attempts to defund one of the principal executive agents of those systematic executions. We have been confronted with the high wickedness of our unrighteousness, and yet we still want to think of ourselves as a righteous people. The highest court in our land solemnly authorized the butchering commence in 1973, and reauthorized it again about twenty years later. This last summer that same court, with all the black-robed gravitas it could muster, opined that a man can find fulfillment, must needs find fulfillment, by achieving sexual congress with another man’s sewage canal, and that he has a constitutional right to have this perversion decked out in the terminology of holy matrimony. This is more than a little bit like dressing a silverback gorilla in purple robes with gold brocade, assigning him the role of the Mikado, and then applying stiff penalties to anyone who laughs out loud during the performance.

Our behavior in these things is not just mildly inconsistent. We have hospitals that dismantle perfectly healthy babies on one floor, and that same hospital has a state-of-the-art NICU on another floor. This is a nation which has the bloodguilt of 50 million children on its hands, and yet has the effrontery to maintain agencies all across the country called Child Protective Services. Were there any representatives of CPS at any of the Planned Parenthood protests this last Saturday? Anywhere in the country? This betrays the same kind of careful legalistic and bureaucratic precision that those men showed who paid Judas showed. They paid him to betray the only sinless man who ever lived, and then when he returned the money to them in despair, were careful to put the money into the appropriate account. To have put it in the wrong account would have been a bad sin.

We are a nation, a rebellious house, one that refuses to repent. We are a nation that has doubled down in the face of every challenge to its monstrosities. We attack those who call us to repentance. And part and parcel with this refusal to repent is the ongoing need to accuse others, in order to maintain a sense of our own righteousness. And so this is the generation which sets up the arbitrary definitions of who shall be the current pariah. Right now, the charage of pedophilia still works — but not for long. Pedophilia is driven by irrational lusts, just like a bunch of other new constitutional rights, and that great idol of irrational lust has already been erected in our national temple. This means that within a few years the pedophiles will be supplanted by someone even more despicable — an evangelical florist, say.

Now we could remove the inconsistencies by applying strict justice across the board, no exceptions, no carve-outs, no deferments, no loopholes. That would be called the Day of Judgment, as seen from the perspective of all the goats.

The only other way to remove inconsistencies is to offer a radical gospel, a gospel that has everything to do with the merit of Jesus Christ, the new man, the new way of being human, and nothing to do with the merit of the old Adam, or any of his filthy progeny. This gospel offers salvation to all men, but the effect of the offer is to level all men in their sin. Whoever breaks the law at one point is guilty of all of it (Jas. 2:10).

The bulldozers of the law leave everything pretty flat, for God intends to build a great city here. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Rom. 11:32). “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe” (Gal. 3:22).

If we accept this offer of salvation, the only kind of salvation that exists, we must relinquish all our old hypocritical and self-serving identities. We are to put off the old man. Our old sins are in fact true sins as biblically defined, but they do not represent the identity of any regenerate Christian. A man who is truly converted has a responsibility to find his identity in Christ. There are only two identities — Adam and Christ. An Israelite, two hundred years after the Exodus, should not name the new town south of Jerusalem that he planted anything like Little Egypt.

But those who preach this gospel of grace can easily be accused of naivete. How dare they? Who do they think they are? But we often forget just how outrageous Jesus really was. We use Bible phrases “tax collectors and sinners” easily, and it sounds bibley enough, and so we just say it. But the tax collectors of Jesus’ day were pariahs, outcasts, quislings, marooned by the indignant righteous in the leper colony of their despicable feasts and parties. The names of local tax collectors were read aloud with contempt in the synagogues. They were social rejects, political outcasts, and religious apostates. Tax collectors were prohibited from testifying in Jewish trials. They were the lowest of the low, lower than a snake belly in a wagon rut. And when Jesus, the Holy One of God, came down to dwell with us, these are the people He decided to hang out with (Luke 15:1-2). Holiness behaves differently than we would have predicted, differently than we did predict. He then called one of these characters to be an apostle. As you can imagine, that really stirred up the comments section of The Twelve, the famous blog that Judas, not Iscariot, maintained for the group.

Jesus then responded with three parables — the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the lost son. What we need to understand is that Jesus was, by these parables, answering the outrage of the faithful, and doing so in a way calculated to generate even more outrage. We would see this if we dared read the parables without the high gloss holy-speak varnish.

We have to remember that it is pretty easy to lose the support of the faithful. This is because the faithful, taking one thing with another, are sometimes wobbly, frequently faithless. “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain” (2 Tim. 1:15–16). Those who were so concerned to save their names are namelessly called  all those in Asia, while the name of the man who didn’t give a rip about his name is given to us, and two thousand years later we still hold it in honor. Onesiphorus was a dude.

This is because the faithful are frequently tempted to think that “the best testimony ever” is actually a bad testimony. But it remains a good testimony, even if the faithful ditch. In some cases, it remains a good testimony especially when the faithful ditch. Somehow we have come to think that a Savior who opened wide the gates of forgiveness to courtesans and centurions, to tax collectors and other collaborator riff raff, and who closed those same gates to the respected theologians, big draws on the conference circuit, men who graduated from Bag O’ Snakes Seminary, is a Savior who is finicky about His reputation. He even saved a bunch of the Pharisees.

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July Church
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July Church

Next stop: Nemesis

circuschaser
Guest
circuschaser

some of us were recently asked what we liked about Doug Wilson; it’s this kind of thing: “The bulldozers of the law leave everything pretty flat, for God intends to build a great city here.”

AMA
Guest
AMA

Great post. The gospel is the fragrance of life to some and the stench of death to others. Sometimes I think that characterization describes Christians, not just the lost.

The hope of the gospel depends on the truth of the words “…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 Cor. 6:11).

Darius
Guest
Darius

Whew, so good. And I should have saved my quote of Hall’s “Upon the Sight of a Harlot Carted” from the other comment thread for this, cause it matches it spot on.

Evan
Guest
Evan

“He then called one of these characters to be an apostle. As you can imagine, that really stirred up the comments section of The Twelve, the famous blog that Judas, not Iscariot, maintained for the group.”

This.

Benjamin Bowman
Guest

“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” -Bonhoeffer.

timothy
Guest
timothy

In a nutshell, cheap grace is the gospel minus sanctification.

Evan
Guest
Evan

And this is why we can never have a nice comment section. Thanks Ryansathers. *sad face*

Evan
Guest
Evan

sorry forgot the hash tags:

#thisiswhywecanthavenicethings
#thanksryansathers

Bill Evans
Guest
Bill Evans

If sin was not so utterly reprehensibe, It would not have required a substitution so incalculable priceless as the Second Person of the Godhead, to atone for it. Remember, it is our RIGHTEOUS deeds which are as filthy rags.

Laura
Guest
Laura

If a woman who has had an abortion is remorseful about it, acknowledges that she has sinned, and commits never to do it again, that’s different from a woman who has had an abortion and says she’ll do it again if need be. Right? If the second woman approached a pastor and asked him to officiate at her wedding, he could say, no, I don’t want to bless a marriage if there’s a reasonable chance that you’re going to conceive a child and then abort that child. There’s a difference between repenting of abortion and repenting of molesting a child,… Read more »

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

“and their knowledge that, if caught, they will have unpleasant legal consequences” So would a woman who had an abortion before it was legalized be *more* sinful for having ignored legal consequence, or is she equally reprehensible now for believing because it’s legal it’s OK. In the end, the problem is that you still accept modern psychiatry’s heavily evolutionary view of man-as-puppet for urges and chemical reactions. While the Christian view of total depravity is similar, the psychiatrist’s version makes no room for grace. Over and over I hear the clamor that there are certain sins that it’s just completely… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

“In the end, the problem is that you still accept modern psychiatry’s heavily evolutionary view of man-as-puppet for urges and chemical reactions.” I think best if you try not to mind-read. You really don’t know what I do and don’t accept. I’m not talking about degrees of sinfulness here. A woman who has never thought about whether abortion is wrong does not have the advantage that a would-be molester has, in that the molester is in no doubt that there is both societal consensus and a body of law that condemn what he wants to do. So if she says… Read more »

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

“What that means is that, repent though he might, he has a reason (a psychological compulsion rooted in his sex drive) to re-offend that the woman who repents of abortion doesn’t have.” ^ That ain’t the Gospel talking… To modern psychiatrists, the old man is the permanent man as a necessity to avoid interacting with God – though to be certain, they’ve selected certain people to highlight as being especially incapable of rehabilitation in order to advance personal desires either directly or by comparison. Don’t act like it’s some grand accusation though – most of us (myself included) are far… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

I’m just asking you not to act like you know me. You don’t.

Do you really think there’s no such thing as a sex drive that’s been perverted? Do you think that forgiveness of sins magically fixed that sex drive?

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

Let me try rephrasing my attempts at understanding you as questions: Are you saying that either a sex drive is wholesale perverted or it’s magically fixed immediately by the Gospel? I do think that people become enslaved to sin, and that escape is exceptionally difficult. Not every addict to sex/alcohol/drugs/anger/gambling/shopping/facebook/games/what-have-you will be changed to the point of living free from the inevitable relapse that the world wants to believe in. But conversely, we are called to believe God when He says that there’s a new man, and we need to put it on – and that new man really does… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

I agree with you but where I draw the line is – for a person who, in the face of societal and legal condemnation of child molestation, rapes a child, I would err on the side of caution and never give him a chance to re-offend. Maybe he’s healed of his perversion. Hallelujah. If he isn’t, I don’t want to put another child at risk.

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

Speaking hypothetically of persons I don’t know, I would lean toward avoidance. But that’s just the issue – I and probably 99% of the people here don’t know the persons involved, what went on in counseling, etc. There seems to be a general assumption that whatever happened, Pastor Wilson must have been inept at best, and criminal at worst, but it’s all guessing. Since the cases revolving around Pastor Wilson are not hypothetical, but involve real secular and Christian counselors who did real counseling over the course of years, to which we are not privy, the very best we can… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

This.

Why is this concept so difficult to grasp? Oh, I know…it’s because of everything Wilson just got through saying!

timothy
Guest
timothy

It is my opinion that you have hit on a weak spot in modern Christianity. The Church has lost faith in the Sanctification part of the Gospel. What I have witnessed is a Gospel of Salvation and a Sanctification of Works. What the Gospel is is grace on both sides of that. Sanctification by grace is very counter-intuitive. In my opinion, the rebellion against it is the old-man asserting itself. We don’t sanctify ourselves, God sanctifies us. That is very hard and confusing …at first. As the process unfolds, we find we do the exact analogue of what we did… Read more »

Susan Gail
Guest
Susan Gail

A perverted sex driveis also one that wants sex even if they have to kill afterwards. Abortion > child molestation

herewegokids
Guest
herewegokids

and as long as pastors keep thinking they don’t need to listen to the psychiatric field this type of problem will keep happening.

bethyada
Member

Really? Do you have any idea of the some of the nonsense these people advocate.

The church needs to stop bowing to the idol of the secular state.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Yes, the church would do well to not kowtow to educated doctors who have actually studied the dynamics of sexual abuse. Credentials are a red herring. Look at Wilson, he doesn’t need any!

bethyada
Member

Credentials are not always a red herring, but credentialing can be. And for all the years and money spent looking at the psyche, there is a lot of nonsense believed and taught.

timothy
Guest
timothy

See my reply to herewegokids above.

Glad we agree!

timothy
Guest
timothy

EDIT: This is in reply to herewegokids. Ah! science, the social sciences…yes…. http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/making-it-all_1042807.html# Over 270 researchers, working as the Reproducibility Project, had gathered 100 studies from three of the most prestigious journals in the field of social psychology. Then they set about to redo the experiments and see if they could get the same results. Mostly they used the materials and methods the original researchers had used. Direct replications are seldom attempted in the social sciences, even though the ability to repeat an experiment and get the same findings is supposed to be a cornerstone of scientific knowledge. It’s the… Read more »

herewegokids
Guest
herewegokids

that….isn’t what jesus said.

bethyada
Member

Where did Jesus say if you want counselling go to the godless?

herewegokids
Guest
herewegokids

give to caesar. respect others obey the laws. plunder from the Egyptians. be wise as doves. where did jesus say to go the godless for our plumbing or car repairs? groceries? health care? this psychiatric abnormality needs professional advice not some counselor trained in bill gothard nouthetics.

bethyada
Member

Counseling has to do with our soul. If there ever was something not to give to Caesar this is it.

herewegokids
Guest
herewegokids

good luck

bethyada
Member

I have a lot of interaction with secular psychology and some with Biblical counselling. Although this is my experience, by and large the Christian counselling is on the money and addresses the issues. The secular stuff is variable. Some of it is good but seldom leads to lasting change. Much of it misses the problem. And some of it is downright wicked. And the Christians I know who are trained secularly by and large by in to much of what they are taught and lack discretion on what they should reject. Further, most Christians I know believe certain mantras about… Read more »

herewegokids
Guest
herewegokids

my experience is the opposite but that’s ok. what i prefer is christians trained in secular mental health. nouthetic has been a huge failure imo largely bc it denies and ignores the physiological and biological components of mental health which leads to terribly abusive victim blaming.

herewegokids
Guest
herewegokids

and unrealistic expectations.

bethyada
Member

Because mental health has to do with the soul why secular mental health?

Given we actually do not know the physiological (biological) components of mental health, why is this important?

herewegokids
Guest
herewegokids

honestly? bc the secularly trained counselors of my experience have seemed more objective, and more helpful.

Jill Smith
Member

In your judgment that Christian counseling is generally preferable to secular, are you excluding the use of psychiatric medication? In other words, do you believe that a person with crippling depression (using the term properly and not to describe occasional feelings of sadness and futility) is better off with Christian therapy than with a secular mental health professional who combines anti-depressants with counseling?

Katecho
Member

herewegokids contributes a baseless bit of nonsense to the discussion. Where has Wilson refused to listen? Wasn’t it Wilson himself who actually noted that Sitler’s judge and probation counselor were in approval of Sitler’s release and marriage? Wilson must have been listening in order to know that, right?

It seems that herewegokids is not the right one to be speaking to us about a listening problem.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Notice that katecho seems to think listening to a judge and a probation officer qualify as consulting experts in the field of psychiatry. It seems that that katecho may not be the right one to be addressing us regarding important designations within the medical and judicial professions.

timothy
Guest
timothy

see my comment to herewegokids.

Good thing none of that can happen in other scientific(tm) fields. whew!

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

“So if she says “I wasn’t aware that it was sin,” there’s some possibility that she’s telling the truth. Whereas with the molester, there’s no chance that he didn’t do what he did in the full knowledge that it was wrong.” I think Romans 1 stands in contrast to this. You want to give a woman who kills through abortion full benefit of the doubt, presumably over against Rom. 1:18-21, but then you say that there’s no way that a molester could be unaware of the wrongness of his act. Your assumption here is that a woman could have no… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

“You want to give full benefit of the doubt…”

“Your assumption is…”

Kevin, can you let my comments stand on their own, without reframing, and respond (if you choose) to what I actually said without trying to psychoanalyze me?

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

So you’re not saying that a woman could potentially have no concept of the sinfulness of killing her child, but a pervert inescapably does? Or if you are, can you respond to my question of what basis you use for saying a woman can sin unknowingly (benefit of the doubt) but a pervert cannot? Again I quote: “So if she says “I wasn’t aware that it was sin,” there’s some possibility that she’s telling the truth” ^That’s called benefit of the doubt. That’s an assumption that she might have no concept. I’m just showing you what you’re saying. Either way… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

You turned my “there’s some possibility” into “full benefit of the doubt” originally. I think you’re more interested in arguing than in understanding my point.

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

“Some” benefit of the doubt then. You offer benefit of the doubt to the woman but not to the pervert.

To which I add, can you answer the question and the response from the Bible now?

Laura
Guest
Laura

Kevin, in my observation there are people who care very much about doing the right thing, and who examine their motives and so forth, and who set standards for themselves without much regard for fads and fashions. They may be called prudes and fuddy-duddies by more easygoing folks, and they’re OK with that. Then there are others who go with the flow and don’t do much reflection. They may never really examine their hearts or consult their consciences. Do you disagree with me here? Do you think that Paul’s essential point in Romans 1 is that we all have identical… Read more »

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

I agree with that statement, as long as you agree that neither group is without knowledge of right and wrong as pertaining to any sin of any magnitude per Paul’s teaching in Romans 1 – they are all without excuse, though some try hard and others don’t.

Laura
Guest
Laura

Oh, I’m not excusing.

herewegokids
Guest
herewegokids

It may not be impossible. But it may be very unlikely. As has been pointed out, simply accepting that a strong temptation or weakness may remain does not deny or in any way minimize God’s grace. Its this calvanistic idea of irresistible grace i feel is one of the true roots of this travesty of pastoral judgment.

adad0
Member

James 1 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 16 Don’t be deceived,… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Laura, this is a reasonable reply, along the lines of jill’s reply earlier. While the motivation and the desires for these 2 sins are different (and this is important), what is also important is the outcome. So just as a repentant paedophile and murderer need to say that they will abstain from repeating these sins, how often is this the case? That is, how many women post abortion who say they won’t have a second end up having one despite their promises? And the same for paedophiles. This needs to be asked in the context of the church environment. The… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

I’ve actually had a woman tell me of her abortion, it was the right thing to do, I had no option, blah-blah, but I’ll never do it again. I forebore to tell her, the reason you’ll never do it again is that you know it was wrong. She was getting there without my help. I think that a woman who has an abortion for economic reasons wasn’t compelled to it in the way that a person who is sexually excited by children may be compelled to molest. That’s the difference, to me. If a woman got pregnant as a teenager… Read more »

bethyada
Member

She may well be at a low risk for re-offending. I guess that I know that some men who fight sexual struggles hate their struggles. That is they are at war with their own soul. A person like that in an accountable relationship may be more aware of how important the situation is. But I also think that a woman can say of course abortion is wrong but not think about it. Then many years later when she gets caught up in some adulterous affair that no one knows about, she is tempted even while thinking it is wrong. There… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

Laura, As a serial fornicator, I had an innate drive to bang every female I met. Go read those PUA guys who bed hundreds of women for the mindset. God changes men; he changed a sexual pervert–me. I categorically reject your defeatism. Please re-read this: And thus it is that we would rather accept the world’s categories and terminology than the terminology of the Bible (e.g. sociopath, alcoholic, pedophile vs. hard-hearted, drunkard, sexually immoral). But along with that terminology we unfortunately find that we have also quietly adopted the world’s hypocrisies about the whole thing. A thief is someone who… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

If you backslid, Timothy, you’d be sinning with an adult who chooses to sin with you. You would not be victimizing a little child who has no say in the matter and couldn’t defend herself. That is a huge difference. You can assume all day long that somebody’s really sorry, but to take the next step and put little kids at risk if he reoffends? Nuh-uh.

Let me ask – you were attracted to grown women and you still are, right?

timothy
Guest
timothy

Let me ask – you were attracted to grown women and you still are, right? First off, fornication harms all involved. It harms me, it harms the women. “Choosing to sin” is no light thing, it is an abhorrent thing. What changes is our relationship to our sin. Pre-salvation, I gloried in it. I enjoyed the rebellion. Now, I look in sadness and grief at my effrontery. Repentance is a change in behavior, but it is first and foremost a change of something much deeper. I would ay “change of heart” but that doesn’t capture it. Since this change is… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

What responsibility does Pastor Joe then have? And how can you square what you say you would do, which is reasonable and prudent, with Sitler’s desire to marry and have children of his own – and what is Pastor Joe’s responsibility there?

timothy
Guest
timothy

Pray, first pray., Judge the spirit. Use prudence. Talk about it frankly (as appropriate) . Trust in God to work good in the new man and then based on our best judgement act on that. Say we mess up and bad things happen. Then we erred. This is not a sin. We then introspect , pray, learn…we may never learn during our stay on this Earth…and continue to trust and walk wondering what He has up His sleeve for us. My relationship to the sinner who let all of the church down (this stuff effects everybody, it is never local,… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

I don’t put an adulterer in the same bucket as a serial child rapist.

timothy
Guest
timothy

The process of sanctification remains in both cases. Both are redeemed by faith, both are sanctified by it. The depth of our depravity means we are in different states of rottenness and the human time scales will differ. The Author remains the same. It is very counter-intuitive to accept. We want to be the authors of our sanctification and God will have none of it. Lewis’ “tin man” story touches on it. I do not know if he delved in depth into this matter. Its an important doctrine and seems to under-gird much of this dispute. Pastor Wilson took the… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

Timothy, there’s more than one person in the story here. There’s the serial child molester. Then there are all of his past victims. Then there are all of his potential future victims. They are real people and their wellbeing matters not one molecule less than the molester’s does. We aren’t in a position to know his heart and whether he’s been cured of his compulsion to rape children. That being the case, no matter what he says, we cannot assume sanctification and put other children at risk. I don’t think we can afford to just look at him, and identify… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

we cannot assume sanctification and put other children at risk.

When all the evidence is there that it has occurred, then it is our duty(?) to accept His work.

Laura
Guest
Laura

What all evidence do you expect to see? There’s no human who can guarantee that a serial child rapist won’t re-offend. The only way to guarantee this is to keep him away from children.

drewnchick
Member

And THAT, dear Laura, is the whole amazing point of “radical grace.” God calls us to repent of sins–even heinous, consistently practiced sins–and then, get this, when we do He forgives us. But not only that, He washes us clean and proclaims us RIGHTEOUS!! And here’s the really, really hard part…the part that y’all are getting hung up on: God calls us to treat our fellow repentant sinners just as He does. How many times are we supposed to forgive someone when they just keep doing the same things over and over? “Seventy times seven” was Jesus’ reply, and He… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

Are we duty-bound to recommend to a young woman that she marry him and bear his children, putting him in the path of daily temptation, her in the path of being a single mother forbidden (by you) to marry again so she can have a complete family and home, and her children in the path of being potentially molested or being raised without a father? I don’t recognize that duty.

drewnchick
Member

No, and that’s a silly question, which highlights a severe prejudice. Wilson was not “duty-bound” to recommend a young woman marry Sitler. Go back and re-read everything…you’ve chased your own white rabbit so far off the trail that you’re no longer in recognizable territory.

Laura
Guest
Laura

When he performed that marriage ceremony, was he not giving his blessing to that marriage? If he was her pastor, and she looked to him for guidance, and he performed that marriage, does he really bear zero responsibility here? What’s a pastor for, then? What expectation should she have had of her pastor? Or were the expectations all to be had by Sitler?

He has said that since the marriage was not biblically forbidden, his hands were tied and he had no choice but to perform that ceremony. Do you agree?

drewnchick
Member

First of all, neither you nor I have any real clue about what kind of counseling was provided to the couple, except that we’ve been told that everyone was fully aware of the situation and the potential consequences. Secondly, Sitler evidenced repentance, and there is a real Gospel response to that, which is profoundly difficult to grasp at times. Third, while the marriage was not forbidden, Wilson’s hands also were not tied. Again, there was MUCH that went into this that you and I simply don’t know. Therefore, I can neither agree with you or disagree with you about the… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

See, if Wilson’s argument was that he truly thought Sitler was cured of his pedophilia and would never re-offend, I could understand that. I would think it was a bit naive, but as you say, he’s there and I’m not. It’s his argument that he had no choice but to perform that wedding that shocked me. If Kim Davis could go to jail because she couldn’t put her name on same-sex wedding certificates for the state of Kentucky, when the state of Kentucky said those marriages weren’t forbidden, I don’t see how DW couldn’t refuse to sign off on a… Read more »

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

Before we discuss what level of evidence, in particular, let’s first acknowledge that evidence here is not a lost cause. It’s one thing to grant the premise that solid evidence of sanctification through the pursuit of holiness, counseling, heavy accountability, and a good track record can indeed produce some worth evidence, and then to ask precise questions about what level of evidence is sufficient. That’s fine. But if we’re just sweeping all cases into the same category with no differentiation on the mere fact that we are not omniscient, then that’s a bit sloppy. Are you merely saying we can’t… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

The only evidence I could accept here would be the track record, which could only be had if the person hadn’t raped children he had access to, which in turn would mean that children would have been put at risk for him to develop that track record. Once again, we’re not talking about someone who is attracted to children. We’re talking about someone who has repeatedly molested children. And if that person is in fact trying not to act on these urges that he’s acted on in the past, to have a child in his household, in his presence whenever… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

Suppose a man who had grown up in DW’s church came to him and confessed that he had sexual feelings for other men, and not at all for women. Even women he liked very much, he couldn’t muster up a scrap of sexual attraction to them. He had prayed about it and nothing had changed. He didn’t want to marry a woman and doom her to a lifetime of being married to someone who can’t love her like she ought to be loved. So was he then doomed to a lifetime of loneliness and chastity? Do you think DW would… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

So was he then doomed to a lifetime of loneliness and chastity?

The process of sanctification is real. I used the example of my own lusts and how I now look on my past self with contempt. I do not limit what God does in us as He works His way in us.

You do, apparently.

Laura
Guest
Laura

So does Alan Chambers, who used to run Exodus, and now says he was wrong to insist that being a Christian meant that you could leave same-sex desire behind. He meant for this to work and convinced himself that it did, until he couldn’t any longer. Timothy, when theory and reality collide, it’s reality that you have to go with. Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions… Read more »

Tom©
Guest
Tom©

Wow! There are so many ‘sorry’s’ in that paragraph one might suspect he had just been released from room 101.

Laura
Guest
Laura

It’s not just the paragraph.

When we think about what true repentance really means, that is, the depth of sorrow and self-blame that we ought to feel when we contemplate our own sins, that alone ought to keep us on the straight and narrow. In this case Chambers was doing what he honestly thought was the right thing to do. That doesn’t keep him from, now, acknowledging the pain and suffering that he caused and being heartily sorry for it.

Tom©
Guest
Tom©

It’s certainly a healthy thing to feel guilt and remorse when we contemplate our sin, but that alone will not keep us on the straight and narrow.

If we value at all the saving grace of Christ, we need to take seriously what he says about homosexuality.

Laura
Guest
Laura

That actually has nothing to do with Alan Chambers, the depth of his remorse (which I felt you were making light of), and the question of whether a Christian who is a homosexual can change his orientation. And how we should act toward him if he finds that he can’t.

Tom©
Guest
Tom©

Saving grace has nothing to do with Alan Chambers?

I’m not saying that what the Bible says is easy. I’m saying that we should take it seriously.

timothy
Guest
timothy

And how we should act toward him if he finds that he can’t.

Same way we should act when some hetero guys says he cannot stop fornicating. He cannot effect the change, but God can and God will.

Maybe its a time thing, you aren’t seeing. Maybe you are not seeing the depth of change that God works? Its faith all the way down and all the way up. A man has to keep engaging the Guy upstairs.

timothy
Guest
timothy

the depth of sorrow and self-blame that we ought to feel when we contemplate our own sins, that alone ought to keep us on the straight and narrow. It cannot. We cannot. He does. Here is St. Paul describing that process… For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. The solution is…Jesus Christ..our… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

He meant for this to work and convinced himself that it did, There’s your problem right there. What do we do when our attempts to “fix” us end in failure? Romans 7 points the way–faith. It is God who changes us, Alan Chambers cannot “fix” Alan Chambers. On the non-gay side, the experience is exactly the same for hetero-sexual lust. If homosexual lust is overbearing and powerful as hetero-sexual lust, then it is some tough crap to deal with. We cannot fix it. We are “wired” that way. We must depend on Him to “re-wire” us . It is my… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

You could compare not acting on heterosexual lust to not acting on homosexual lust. You cannot credibly compare not acting on heterosexual lust to a homosexual man setting aside his attraction to other men and beginning to be attracted to women instead. That is an entirely different ball of wax.

Timothy, if it turned out that sexual orientation is an immutable fact for many people that they can’t change no matter what, would your faith be shaken?

timothy
Guest
timothy

You cannot credibly compare not acting on heterosexual lust

Wrong. God removes the lust and replaces it with love and respect. That same change is there for anybody.

to a
homosexual man setting aside his attraction to other men and beginning
to be attracted to women instead. That is an entirely different ball of
wax.

God does the setting aside. You continue to conflate who does the work.

Timothy, if it turned out that sexual orientation is an immutable fact
for many people that they can’t change no matter what, would your faith
be shaken?

No.

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

But that’s not analogous, b/c a person might have a perverse attraction to children but also be attracted to adult women, and thus a prospective wife. But the hypothetical you propose, this person is not attracted to women at the time. I’m not sure Doug would leave them hanging with only the phraseology you offered (I think Timothy’s counsel is much fuller), but I doubt that Doug would encourage them to marry someone whom they didn’t have any desire to consummate with. But it wouldn’t be a matter of them being barred from marriage b/c of the stain of their… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

I’m not saying it’s analogous at all.

What I’m asking is, would DW tell him he’s right, it’s just really too much to ask, that he go through life unmarried? And that DW would try to find a way to make him happy? I really don’t think so.

Then it shouldn’t be too much to ask, that a serial child molester who can’t be around children shouldn’t marry a woman who might become pregnant. If that means he has to go through life single, then so be it.

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

If you are not claiming the two are analogous, then what does one scenario have to do with the other? Even if you don’t think you are claiming that they are, you are indeed claiming such by suggesting that the one situation sheds light on the other. That’s what it means to argue by analogy. And CONCERNING that analogy, it fails b/c the reason in one is different from the reason in the other. (i.e. they are not analogous). In your hypothetical, the person isn’t even attracted to the woman, therefore he’d have no earnest desire to be with her… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

Here’s the analogy.

If a man says “I have to marry another man or I will be alone the rest of my life,” then DW would tell him, you will have to be alone the rest of your life.

That being the case, I don’t know why a repeated molester of children couldn’t be told, you can’t go into a marriage where there might be children had.

There’s no guarantee for any of us, that we are going to find a suitable marriage partner. It’s not an unthinkable tragedy that any individual might not.

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

“That being the case, I don’t know why a repeated molester of children couldn’t be told, you can’t go into a marriage where there might be children had.” We are not God. We cannot add to God’s word, nor take away from God’s word. We cannot simply impose our understanding of what we think should happen on others, this is an abuse of authority. This is what the Pharisees were condemned for. There is a enormous difference between telling someone that you do not think it is wise to marry and forbidding someone from marriage without Scriptural warrant. The latter… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

Neither Jesus nor Paul said anything about same-sex marriage. Between the extremes of saying “my hands are tied” and performing a marriage, and forbidding a marriage, (which no one can do in this free country,) there is the entire middle ground of saying “I think this marriage is a terrible idea and I’m not putting my name on it. You can go somewhere else if you have to. If it were up to me, the marriage wouldn’t take place.” Which is exactly what DW would say if two men, or two women, came to him wanting him to marry them.

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

“Neither Jesus nor Paul said anything about same-sex marriage.” That is absurd. “In the beginning he created them male and female.” “For this reason, what God has joined together, let no man separate.” DW would refuse to marry two men and two women because he has Scriptural warrant to do so. The Bible provides a definition of marriage. This is not a difficult concept. There is some reason why you think that marrying a non-castrated former child rapist is ALWAYS, IN EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE, a terrible idea. You do not get this teaching from the Bible. Where are you getting it?… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a… Read more »

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

Jesus appeals to the truths found in Genesis 2:24 to apply to the situation you described. What were those truths he appealed to? -Man is created male and female – A man leaving father and mother to hold fast to a woman, makes them “man” and “wife.” – God made man in order that 1 man might couple with 1 woman forming permanent bonds. So yes, Jesus affirmed the definition of marriage found in Genesis 2:24… not that he needed to, because all of Scripture is God’s word. In order for a Pastor to marry two males, he would have… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

“the fact that child rape was a live practice during the time of Jesus and Paul, therefore if they had the same understanding of it as you do, it is strange they did not comment on something that was so necessary for Pastors to know at that time.” Not that strange if you are not looking to the Bible to tell you every little thing, and saying you must do something if the Bible doesn’t forbid it. “to refuse marriage to ANYONE who was repentant of former sexually immorality.” I have to stop you right here. Stop. It’s not the… Read more »

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

You assume that every former child rapist will always be a danger to future children. This assumption does not come from the Bible. You also assume that the only way to ensure the safety of the children of every former child rapist is to break up the home. This assumption also does not come from the Bible. We are speaking past each other. I have no quarrels with: 1) a Pastor deciding on a case by case basis that it would not be WISE for him to marry a particular couple, and encouraging that couple to seek marriage at the… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

” I have no quarrels with 1) a Pastor deciding on a case by case basis that it would not be WISE for him to marry a particular couple, and encouraging that couple to seek marriage at the courthouse if they will not heed his warning to not behave foolishly.” “If a Pastor thought it unwise to marry a former child rapist and could not do so with a clear conscience, then I would not encourage him to violate his conscience and do so anyways.” Then we are in agreement. The area in which we do not agree is that… Read more »

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

“The area in which we do not agree is that I am placing a very high value on the safety of any future children. In the case of a person who not only is sexually attracted to children, but who has repeatedly acted on that attraction, I don’t believe in second chances if they put children at risk. The stakes are simply too high.” Well good on you for your arbitrary self-righteous indignation. Do you know what it is like to be yelled at as a child? Do you know that many children take their lives in response to angry… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

You probably ought to stop now. You’re in an awfully deep hole. It begins to look like you are saying that child rape is just not a big deal and we should view it as no worse than a child being yelled at.

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

“It begins to look like you are saying that child rape is just not a big deal and we should view it as no worse than a child being yelled at.” What an incredibly heartless thing to say. I honestly cannot believe that you are minimizing the suffering of children who take their lives every year as a result of angry parents. I could tell you case after case of children who would honestly rather die than to be yelled at as consistently as they are. No big deal huh? Tell that to the kids who hate their lives and… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

Now you are being hysterical. You’re backed into a corner. Is it that hard, really, to say that Sitler shouldn’t have married a woman he was going to have children with? Maybe you ought to stop typing and do a little soul-searching and ask yourself why that is.

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

It is strange to watch someone who is so utterly incapable of maintaining any form of logical consistency. You just calmly dismissed the feelings of thousands of children who suffer from emotional abuse every year as “no big deal.” These children, who commit suicide, they are not worth our protection then? When I point out that you have just uttered a remarkably insensitive and hurtful statement which trivializes the pain that many children experience as a daily part of their lives, you think I am being hysterical? I am the one backed into a corner? It is impossible for me… Read more »

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

The hole you imagine Tim is in is a divot compared to the Grand Canyon that you’re in. Let me spell it out for you – Tim is not taking child sexual abuse lightly, he is taking your lack of distinctions and presumptuousness lightly. You have drawn a line in the sand that Scripture does not draw, and you have cordoned off limits and parameters to the Holy Spirit’s ability to restore and deal with sin. You have taken your standards and used them to judge Doug inconsistent, but when pushed about the grounds for your own standards, you can… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

Now you’re in there with him. Is it just pride?

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

No, it’s discernment. And you looking down from your sardonic perch is humility?

I’m flattered, however, that you think that I was not down there already until that last comment of mine.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Mrs. Laura would you say the same thing about someone with say Huntington’s that has a 50% chance to pass on this genetic condition that will cause extreme harm to their children or even grandchildren (since just because the kids don’t get it there is still a large chance for the grand kids as I understand this particular disease.) Should a man that has a terminal illness be forbidden to marry since he will soon leave his wife a widow? *I do not ask these as a gotcha. I ask them because I know someone that was told he should… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

Those are good questions. I don’t have a problem with birth control, so I don’t assume that any marriage is going to produce children. If I did, the Huntington’s disease question might give me pause. As it is, I will have to think about it. The issue would be children. I wouldn’t counsel someone not to marry because they or their intended were going to die soon. A long lifetime isn’t guaranteed to anyone. For a degenerative disease like Huntington’s I probably would just counsel the couple to make sure they had plans in place. I did not realize Huntington’s… Read more »

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

Oh, so now it IS an analogy??? Okay, can we at least keep that goal post in place now?Now, ON to said analogy. Again, it’s not analogous. If it IS analogous, then you would need to cite how they are similarly situated regarding a point that is at issue here. You have pointed out similarities they share (some sin struggle + a desire to marry), but it is not one that is at issue here. No one denies that some situations may justify a denial of marriage, but it doesn’t follow that ANY situation does. The mere fact that it… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

“But that’s not analogous, b/c a person might have a perverse attraction to children but also be attracted to adult women, and thus a prospective wife. But the hypothetical you propose, this person is not attracted to women at the time.” You said this, and I badly worded “I’m not saying it’s analogous” meaning “I’m not saying that is analogous.” What you said was not the analogy I was putting forth, which was, just as DW might tell one person he may have to face a lifetime of singleness due to homosexuality, he ought to be able to tell another… Read more »

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

You keep saying you’re not drawing an analogy between the two, but rather a different analogy. But when you restate it, it’s exactly as I thought. If you want to suggest that there is sufficient and material similarity between the two situations that a certain conclusion on one demands (for consistency’s sake) the same conclusion on the other – then you are unavoidably analogizing the two as materially similar enough to demand such. You stated your analogy this way: “just as DW might tell one person he may have to face a lifetime of singleness due to homosexuality, he ought… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

“The fact that Doug didn’t deny Sitler doesn’t mean that Doug isn’t able or willing to do so if the situation demands it. The question here isn’t whether Doug should be able to, or would be willing to. ”

That is the entire point.

Doug says he was unable to. You and I agree that he, in fact, was. The end.

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

No, no, no. You equivocated meanings there. You said this: ” just as DW might tell one person he may have to face a lifetime of singleness due to homosexuality, he ought to be able to tell another that he might be due to a demonstrated propensity to rape children, if he can’t find a woman to marry who won’t bear him any.” But the implication here is that Doug is somehow UNABLE to make that decision – CATEGORICALLY — IN GENERAL. You said he OUGHT to be ABLE to do so for those reasons. But he is able. He… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

“But the implication here is that Doug is somehow UNABLE to make that decision – CATEGORICALLY — IN GENERAL.” That’s what he said. Go back and look. He said that a pastor cannot refuse to perform a wedding that is not legally prohibited. (By “legal” I assume he means by the laws of his church, or of the Bible as he understands them, since he clearly can refuse to perform a same-sex wedding.) I quoted this before, but here it is again. Here. The wedding between Steven and Katie was a lawful wedding. There were no biblical grounds to prohibit… Read more »

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

A pastor’s job is to encourage believers to form lasting marriages, encouraging believers to be fruitful and multiply. False teachers are those who forbid marriage. Pastors are those who encourage marriages and shepherd believers through marriage. If a Pastor is going to refuse to marry a couple he needs a biblical reason, either 1) it is not a marriage, 2) it is an unequally yolked marriage, and 3) there was an unbiblical divorce that needs to be reconciled. Wise men may disagree over whether or not a former child rapist is repentant, thus his reason for refusing would involve a… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

So was DW forced to perform this wedding, or not?

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

I have no idea if the young man in question bore fruits in keeping with a transformed life. I was not there. Assuming he did, yes DW should have married them. He would have no biblical reason to not marry them.

Laura
Guest
Laura

Was he forced to? Do you agree that his hands were tied?

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

He has the privilege and responsibility to marry believers. No Pastor should be so disgusted by an individual’s past sin that he considers his responsibilities to them forced. We are all vile.

Laura
Guest
Laura

Did he have the responsibility of marrying a man and a woman when the man can never be around children, unsupervised, with the expectation that they will start in right away having kids? Did he have the responsibility to do that? Or do you agree with him, that he had no choice but to do it?

ETA: Katie is now forced to either raise her child without his father in the home, or to send him elsewhere to be raised. Do you, Tim, think this is an ideal outcome for Katie?

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

Yes, assuming repentance, he made the right call. We are bound by Scripture, not your intuitive sense of right and wrong. I would make the same decision right now if someone asked me to. Let God be true though every man is a liar.

Laura
Guest
Laura

So you think his judgment was good. You still haven’t answered whether you think he was able to not perform this wedding, had he had better sense. Perhaps you think he was able to, and you’re unwilling to pull this (unnecessary) defense away from him. You can’t answer whether you think the outcome is ideal for Katie. Maybe you don’t care about Katie and you only care about DW and Sitler? I can’t believe that. But to say “poor Katie” is to imply criticism of DW and you cannot go there. From my perspective, his judgment was poor. I can… Read more »

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

I don’t know how to say we must obey God rather than man and do so joyfully and not grudgingly in a way that makes sense to you.

Pastors need a biblical reason to refuse to marry. Refusing to marry because the marriage will come with undesirable issues is not a biblical reason. If all parties know what they are getting into, what is there to forbid?

Laura
Guest
Laura

You can just spell out to me that God insists that we have no choice but to marry repeated child molesters to women who want babies, in the clear knowledge that the risk is very high that those women will be de facto single mothers because the men are one inch away from life in prison due to the children they have molested.

Just go ahead and say that God requires it, if you can. “God requires that we do this. We have no option.” Then we’ll be done.

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

Sure. Assuming the individual is a former child molester, and the woman/man in question is not coerced, and knows all the relevant facts, and there is no clear biblical reason for refusing, God requires it. Yes. To refuse to do so is cowardess and irrational.

Laura
Guest
Laura

All right, thanks.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Mrs. Laura should a JP be allowed to refuse to officiate? *as an aside are they allowed? I don’t know.*

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

Just as a Pastor needs Scriptural reason to encourage divorce, so also a Pastor needs Scriptural reason to forbid marriage.

Laura
Guest
Laura

I realize that I sound like a broken record.

If DW’s argument was that the man was repentant, fruits, transformed, blah blah, well then I’d defer to him b/c he was there and I wasn’t.

It’s the argument that he couldn’t refuse to perform the ceremony that gives me pause. Because that sounds like an excuse for why what he did was OK. “I exhibited poor judgment,” fine, he’s human. “I couldn’t help it so my hands are clean” – ?

Tim Mullet
Guest
Tim Mullet

See below. Most marriages are unwise in one way or another. We need a biblical reason to refuse to marry someone. The Bible gives us some reasons. It does not give us the reason you are seeking, despite the fact that this sin was a live issue in the first century.

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

No, he did not say what you’re making him out to have said. You would render this as Doug saying that there was a universal obligation to marry all who offer any claim whatsoever to be repentant, even if through the thin veil of an obligatory, perfunctory and/or feigned “repentance” and/or a failure to adequately bear the fruit of repentance, including but not limited to not bucking any the But that is not what he’s saying. Now I agree fully that Doug IS saying that if the pieces are in place and are, by accounts genuine- (best as those involved… Read more »

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

Doug has made it clear that the context for these things is the gospel – real repentance and all the fruit that goes with it – willingness to be held accountable, to be counseled, etc. Because we are talking about that context, there is *necessarily* pastoral discernment and discretion and evaluation of the situation involved. And so like I said in another post – Doug isn’t suggesting he surrenders his pastoral discretion and discernment to evaluate whether or not a person is really repentant or merely going through the motions. I fully agree that Doug IS saying that lawful marriages… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

You can save your typing. After this: “Don’t confuse ugly with biting. You deserve every last syllable. And then some.” I am not open to anything you have to say to me.

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

What do you mean “after this” you are not open? As if you were open before??? You wer not open from square one. If the 2+2=4 gets in the way of your conclusions, you’ll find a way to obfuscate it. You haven’t pegged my problem, I’ll tell you what my problem is here, it’s violating Proverbs 26:4 in an attempt to adhere to Prov 26:5.

Jill Smith
Member

Timothy, what is a PUA if it isn’t too awful to tell a lady who turned 65 last week?

Laura
Guest
Laura

Happy birthday, Jillybean! My double-nickel is coming up in a couple of days. I’m scanning restaurant menus to see what deals I am going to get.

BooneCtyBeek
Guest
BooneCtyBeek

Wikipediea says it has something to do with Unicode and private use areas and other computer geeky stuff. Something tells me that’s not what Timothy was talking about.

Mark Hanson
Guest
Mark Hanson

PUA stands for pick-up artist, someone who uses psychological methods to get women to be attracted to him (and thence into bed). He may use techniques like “negging” – belittling the woman in some small way to make her feel that she has to prove herself worthy of him. And many other such.

There are books – usually sold in the classified ads in the back of men’s magazines.

Jill Smith
Member

It’s a jungle out there. Thanks for the information!

timothy
Guest
timothy

Behold, the fruits of feminism.

Laura
Guest
Laura

It’s the woman’s fault! Any time you see a man sinning, especially sexual sin, there’s a evil woman behind it somewhere!

timothy
Guest
timothy

No, we are all at fault. The reaction to feminism yields brutal men.

Jane
Member

Feminism =/= women.

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

The fact that you so wholly equate women with feminism is telling.

Laura
Guest
Laura

What’s telling is that any time a man has sinned, women have to be brought up somehow. In this case, bizarrely, feminism. It can’t ever be that a man has just screwed up.

“The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” Nothing ever changes.

Jane
Member

But it is all about the man screwing up, because he believed a lie promoted by feminism. And feminism can be believed or acted upon without a woman being anywhere in the picture. Feminism isn’t women, nor is a woman always involved when feminism is involved. Feminism is a false belief about how God has ordered reality, and pertains equally to men and women.

Laura
Guest
Laura

What lie did feminists tell, that compelled men to embrace PUA in which they share techniques for tricking women into having casual, commitment-free sex with them? Please be specific.

Jane
Member

Feminists did not tell any lie that compelled men to do anything. Why do you ask?

Laura
Guest
Laura

Then you don’t agree that feminism caused the pickup-artist phenomenon. Thank you.

Jane
Member

No, I don’t agree that anyone is ever compelled to sin. That’s not the same as saying that you can’t draw cause and effect relationships between false beliefs and bad behavior. The false belief in question is that men owe no duty to women simply because they are men, and women are women. Therefore, they believe that the bad behavior of some women entitles them to engage in garbage like PUA. It doesn’t truly justify their sin, but it does provide them cover for it. That’s a false belief created by feminism, which is not properly attributed to “women,” but… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

To say that PUA is the “fruit” of feminism implies that feminism caused it and brought it about. I agree with you that it’s a very common false belief that bad behavior on one person’s part excuses bad behavior on another’s. We can’t all peg our standards to the lowest common denominator because that denominator will keep going lower and lower, and then where will we all be. It’s a very human failing, to excuse how the bad things we do are caused by somebody else and we wouldn’t be doing them if they hadn’t screwed up first. But we… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

Hi Jane and Laura, do you think the sexual revolution of the 1960s could or would have happened without feminism? I am puzzled a bit by the connection in the early days. It seems to me that some of the most un-feminist thinking I ever encountered was when women were simply expected to “hand it over” in the name of freedom and good times for all. This was especially prevalent in the left wing circles I frequented–women helped the movement by making coffee, operating a ditto machine, and having sex with the men on the barricades. Remember the old slogan… Read more »

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

No one brought up a woman. Someone brought up feminism. Big difference. Dang near opposites, really.

Barnabas
Guest
Barnabas

Had never thought it through? OK. Well, the recidivism rate for abortion is about 45%. Reconviction rate for child molestation is around 20%. For what it’s worth.

Tony
Guest
Tony

Doug writes, “A man who is truly converted has a responsibility to find his identity in Christ.” He contrasts this with “our society [which] wants to name him as a sex offender, as a pedophile, as a sexual predator.”

So Doug offers grace to all kinds of sinners. Sounds great. But when Steven Sitler came back to the congregation, Doug said he was to be welcomed as “a serial pedophile and a dangerous man.”

Can’t have it both ways.

bethyada
Member

He is not saying you can’t use words, he is speaking against the need to identify as such.

adad0
Member

“This world is a screwed up place, but doesn’t like thinking of itself in those terms. The world is as screwed up as it is because it is convinced of its own righteousness, and coming face-to-face with its own unrighteousness is the most difficult operation in the world.” 2 Samuel 12 4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared… Read more »

Douglas Michael Singer
Guest
Douglas Michael Singer

Great post. Keep these gospel proclamations coming.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

“And so this is the generation which sets up the arbitrary definitions of who shall be the current pariah. Right now, the charage of pedophilia still works — but not for long. Pedophilia is driven by irrational lusts, just like a bunch of other new constitutional rights, and that great idol of irrational lust has already been erected in our national temple. This means that within a few years the pedophiles will be supplanted by someone even more despicable — an evangelical florist, say.” No, I am pretty certain that pedophilia will remain a top tier offense Douglas worthy of… Read more »

adad0
Member

“This world is a screwed up place, but doesn’t like thinking of itself in those terms. The world is as screwed up as it is because it is convinced of its own righteousness, and coming face-to-face with its own unrighteousness is the most difficult operation in the world.”

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Yeah, well. Somebody certainly seems to unrighteousness following him around by the tail. Hubris works on it like a pheromone.

adad0
Member

Luke 18 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat… Read more »

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Huh. So it’s okay for someone like Douglas to constantly rain down righteous indignation about who is a sinner and who is not, the hows and whys? His persecution complex and cries of slander and ungodliness. His peculiar obsession with homosexuality- the manner in which they get it on, and then of course his wonderful views about women… and oh yeah, his ideas about slavery. So, that is you paragon of true righteousness that you admire and defend? I am most certainly not humbled by that vision of humanity and certainly have no need to justify myself before any god… Read more »

Katecho
Member

I find it ironic that RandMan continues to persecute Wilson for having a “persecution complex”.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

I find it mysterious that katecho continues to insist upon addressing everyone in the third person. Please don’t stop at this point tho, it would be weird.

Seriously kecho, not sure where you see any irony? Do I claims persecution? I may point out doctrinal inconsistencies in certain parties here w regard to their swinging door policy regarding ‘slander’ but who cares really?

adad0
Member
Gregory Hickman
Guest
Gregory Hickman

Randman, why do you troll this site? Isn’t life too short for you atheists to bother telling God’s people how to behave?

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Why gregory, is my opinion not welcome? Plenty of people disagree here and I am not telling you how to behave at all. That is a particularly christian trait. :)

timothy
Guest
timothy

No, I am pretty certain that pedophilia will remain a top tier offense

Pretty certain….

Yet, we have historical examples of it not being a top-tier offense but the highest form of ‘love’ a man can have for another male.

The hubris of you moderns is amazing ! You think its all about you. You are the standard! We are in charge!

you guys are laughable.

.

Darius
Guest
Darius

And Salon proves you wrong: http://www.salon.com/2015/09/21/im_a_pedophile_but_not_a_monster/

Might want to pay a little closer attention…

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

I’m sorry, that proves what exactly? You want to point me to a NAMBLA site to support whatever claims is that you are not really making?

Darius
Guest
Darius

It’s one of many examples where the academics and institutions of pop culture are slowly doing with pedophilia what they did with homosexuality a few decades ago.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

I am so very happy to celebrate homosexual marriage. My niece married her long time girlfriend last week. It is a human rights issue. One that deals with love and a relationship between two consenting adults. It is a civil rights issue and one that your church is on the very wrong side of. You will be marginalized for it and rightly so. In 50 years, your ideological decedents will have a nice fat piece of apologetics prepared to explain how the church was actually in support of gay rights. So if you cannot distinguish the difference between that and… Read more »

Darius
Guest
Darius

And the New York Times, also a garbage site? http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/opinion/pedophilia-a-disorder-not-a-crime.html?_r=0

Do you ever know how to argue logically, or do you always resort to fallacies?

Oh, also, the Guardian, another “garbage” site, posted this: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jan/03/paedophilia-bringing-dark-desires-light

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

That was an excellent NYT article with much food for thought. If you look at any of my posts here, you will see that I also believe pedophilia is a mental disorder. That of course gives you nothing in your quest to prove that pedophilia is somehow going to be ‘accepted by sinful secularists’. There is big difference between that and being understood and treated. I am consistent in my view of pedophiles. They are almost certainly to have been abused as children and are to be pitied and helped. But not first, and not at the expense of children… Read more »

Darius
Guest
Darius

Much of what you just said is true of many homosexuals. They need help and freedom, not blanket support for their actions.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Darius, no offense but I don’t care about the gay rights issue that much. It is settled enough for me and moving in the right direction. One or two more generations and the bigots still in play here like Douglas, (and you) will be gone. Just like grandpa Phelps. Just like the racists in support of segregation and Jim Crow. You are on that side of history’s fence. So by all means, rail away with homo-obsessives like DW and make false equivalencies with pedophilia. You are showing yourself to be part of the problem and overly involved worrying about sex… Read more »

herewegokids
Guest
herewegokids

Doug your many many words don’t hide what you are doing… and not for the first time, but perhaps most strongly, tonight i feel truly sorry for you as you have come up against a very hard truth. You know quite well that its not a merciful gospel and generous grace that has been objected to at all. Of course a pastor must offer to one and all as regards the message of forgiveness. You erred in your hubris, in equating naivete and a faulty crap-o-meter with brave pastoring. Offering up one innocent girl as medicine for Sitlers depravity and… Read more »

Christopher
Member

Why do you feel sorry for Doug comming against the truth?

herewegokids
Guest
herewegokids

*up against* . bc it’s difficult.

Christopher
Member

Coming up against a brick wall is also dificult, do you feel sorry for people who don’t watch where they’re going?

insanitybytes22
Member

This was delightful to read. Thank you. In a larger context, if we really want to do something concrete about the sexual abuse of children, we must move away from knee jerk emotionalism because this is an issue that permeates every aspect of our society. Child molesters are not the strangers in the bushes we all want to hate, they are our sons, fathers, brothers…. and our daughters too. They are in the halls of congress and the crevices of Hollywood. To genuinely do something constructive about the problem requires us to ask ourselves some uncomfortable questions about our own… Read more »

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

They are not only in secular government and the house of the progressive media elite, they are also in the boarding houses of Moscow and in the pews on sunday morning.

I think that being held responsible for creating an environment where sexual abuse can thrive is a great thing to ponder. What specific responsibility are you referring to?

insanitybytes22
Member

Well, some questions we could be asking ourselves is where are we as parents? Are we teaching kids about what healthy sexuality and boundaries look like? Is the church teaching people that sex is a healthy part of who we are and how that might look in our lives, or are we teaching repression and shame? Child sexual abuse is seldom forced, but rather groomed, deceived out of kids. Strong and self assured kids are seldom deceived. Why are we raising vulnerable kids? What can we do differently? Also,how are we failing (mostly) men who grow up to have these… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

Speaking for myself here … I told my daughter, in her early teens, that nature wants healthy young females pregnant, and her body knows what to do. And it doesn’t matter how nice she is, how smart she is, what color she is, how often she goes to church, how much money her parents have, or anything else: nature wants her pregnant, and her body knows what to do. So the prudent girl doesn’t get into a situation with a boy she likes, where they are kissing and so on, and there’s nothing to make them stop. There’s been many… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

That’s very wise counsel, Laura.

Laura
Guest
Laura

Thank you. As I said, my girl was so easy to raise. There just wasn’t any rebellion from her at all, so we didn’t have to waste energy trying to make her comply with rules for basic safety. I wanted to give her reasons behind our policies so that she would understand where they came from and it wasn’t just parents being arbitrary b/c we thought we were supposed to. You want your kids to develop their own judgment by the time they are out from under your roof, and they can’t if they don’t see your reasoning. Also, there’s… Read more »

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

I think those are solid ideas and questions. We need to educate our kids and ourself about what to look for. Most importantly as parents we need to be stone cold sober about the people that we allow to have adjacent access to our children and the scenarios that increase risk. Unlike Wilson’s counsel. I would hope one outcome of Wilson’s failure to help protect his parishioners would be the education of those in positions of power as to the true nature of pedophilia and how it works. I have little hope for this in his case as his posts… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“We do this, not because we stand for the victim the way the Bible
requires us to, but rather because the initial evil paved the way for
us, and just as the molester groomed his victims, so now certain
self-selected individuals groom them to become their ongoing victim
pets.”

This was really well stated, too.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

I found that to be one of the more reprehensible lines in that almost unreadable waterfall of confusion, Classic DW bait and switch. What he seems to be saying is: We stand with the victims of sexual abuse, not because the bible tells us to, but because we should respond to the initial evil like anyone with a conscience would (bible or no.) But the real message is: let’s tar those who would advocate for victims and accuse them of being as bad as the molesters themselves. Let’s code them as ‘grooming’ the victims, like a rapist would, to remain… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

This is one of those things you cannot see. We see your claims, weigh them and reject them. We do this because we know Someone you do not.

This gives us a perspective you do not have.

Your repeated bleats that we see the world through your meager, stunted eyes would be cute where you an eight year old.

Laura
Guest
Laura

“Your repeated bleats that we see the world through your meager, stunted eyes would be cute where you an eight year old.”

Timothy, you shouldn’t claim to know Jesus and then be so ugly in the same breath. Does Jesus want you to love RandMan? Does love correct someone (if correction is necessary) using such insults?

timothy
Guest
timothy

Yes, sometimes it takes a clue-bat to wake a slumberer. I think to times in my life when it would have served a very useful purpose in saving me pain and suffering.

Evan
Guest
Evan

Our culture doesn’t like the clue-bat.

Laura
Guest
Laura

Do you really think that insulting sentence is going to persuade RandMan? Or is it not that it just felt really satisfying to you, to type it?

timothy
Guest
timothy

And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel,[b]… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

You’re speaking for God now, that he excuses your hateful language. I will back off so that you don’t further sin in your responses to me.

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

Don’t confuse ugly with biting. You deserve every last syllable. And then some. The ugliness is definitely present here, but it’s emanating from elsewhere. Your dishonesty in conversation is much closer to darkness than any hard-edged delivery timothy might have issued. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that a thin veneer of civility is a worthy substitute for intellectual honesty.

Jill Smith
Member

“… just as the molester groomed his victims, so now certain self-selected individuals groom them to become their ongoing victim pets.” Please tell me that Pastor Wilson is not likening child molesters to those people, Christian and non-Christian, who are absolutely sickened and appalled by child abuse. Please tell me that he is not accusing people who feel deeply for Natalie of grooming their own victims for some equally despicable purpose. Please tell me he is not calling Natalie or the Sitler infant victim pets. Because that is how it sounded to me.

bethyada
Member

jill, Doug’s comments are often general. Lumberjack dyke for example refers to a particular lifestyle alternative to Christian femininity. He is using the parallel “grooming” as a literary device, not comparing the relative evils. And I doubt he is referring to specific person, but rather a type of person, one that keeps people perpetually a victim for their own agenda. So it wouldn’t apply to someone who was offering compassion to a victim, but it would apply to someone who tries to get others to see themselves as victims of any oppression (that they oppose) and to see themselves continually… Read more »

Evan
Guest
Evan

“but rather a type of person, one that keeps people perpetually a victim for their own agenda.”

I’m sure no one on this comment board is capable of this. Thank goodness.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Do you think Natalie is trying to or wants see herself as a perpetual victim? She was an actual victim. Are Sitler’s victims pets? Are people who were raped, abused and taken advantage of as children to be to be so easily dismissed? ‘Yeah, you were raped, I get it! We’ll pray for you… god has a plan. He’ll take care of cleaning up the environment where your rape occurred. He works through self-appointed leaders like Douglas. So get over it already?” Sexual abuse takes a long time to work through. Part of the road back is telling your story.… Read more »

Susan Gail
Guest
Susan Gail

Amen and amen.

Valerie Jacobsen
Member

Leviticus 18:24-30 is kind of harsh if everything is fully repaired and everyone is made safe and life goes on based on professions of repentance. Did Moses just not understand the Gospel?

timothy
Guest
timothy

What is the Gospel?

Bonehead
Guest
Bonehead

Perhaps Pastor Wilson’s argument here would be more plausible if it were not tied up in his need to defend and justify his own actions.

BooneCtyBeek
Guest
BooneCtyBeek

I do wonder why he keeps this going. No new information has come forth. Nor is it likely. The same old arguments are recycle ad nauseam. Sides have been chosen. No minds have been changed. Too many posts attack a persons’ character – when very few probably know each other.

One might think he is encouraging sinful behavior on his blog.

James Knight
Guest
James Knight

I know the person who was his victim. Lost all respect for the man.

BooneCtyBeek
Guest
BooneCtyBeek

Who knows who is some of the problem. And I think the Proverb “Every man’s case seems right till another examines him” applies. ***Please this has nothing to do with who is a victim, who is a perpetrator, or who is an enabler. I have no dog in this hunt. I have been a full time pastor. I’ve talked to a lot of people. And as a general principle, it is difficult to sort it out sometimes especially the more acrimonious the situation is. James, you know the girl and believe her to be a very nice person. Others here… Read more »

Caned Crusader
Guest
Caned Crusader

Pr. Wilson, I have thought a lot about whether to comment on this situation at all. I have been a long-time reader of your books and blog, and though I disagree with you in a number of areas, I have benefited from a lot of what you have said. I understand that this situation is multilayered, not least because there were two separate crimes committed that are often being lumped into one accusation. The following is not meant to impute your character or attack your ministry wholesale. But I do want you and the other commentors to know that I,… Read more »

Jonathan (the other one)
Guest
Jonathan (the other one)

In regards to your point three let me throw out some thoughts (not very well thought out thoughts as I am wrestling with this as well). Pastors are the spiritual shepherds of their churches yes? Given that marriage has spiritual implications (though it is NOT a Sacrament) does a pastor have the right to withhold indefinitely these blessings? I am all for a pastor requiring X amount of time or X number of counseling sessions but when everything is boiled away should a pastor refuse to marry people that he thinks shouldn’t be married? If so what are these criteria?… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

Was Sitler going to be married either way, though? Is it possible that Katie had misgivings, but since DW seemed to have no problem performing the ceremony she thought it must be OK? I’m not asserting this as fact; I don’t know. I just don’t want to assume that DW is no more than a rubber stamp in his own church.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I don’t know. Possibly. But if we make the assumption that these two adults that were in full possession of the facts of the case were going to be married regardless of what anyone else said what would be your answer to my last question? *I think I should have said “assuming” not “understanding” in my original post.*

Laura
Guest
Laura

Jonathan, you make a good argument, but I find that I still differ. When a couple get married, this is a thing with lifelong consequences for them. There is no aspect of your life, down to issues of extreme physical and emotional privacy, that isn’t altered. I say this as a person happily married for the past 33 years. You seriously take on a commitment that is like no other, even having a child, b/c the child will grow up and leave you, but your marriage is there until one of you dies. That being the case, if the minister… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

So long as the husband to be goes into things with full knowledge of the situation I think I would say yes the pastor has a duty to officiate the wedding. That doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t council against the marriage but if the two people are fully informed and set on getting hitched (and have Biblical warrant which of course means that she has repented of her sins inside of homosexual pursuits and is committed to living a Christian life) he should perform the wedding. As I mentioned in an earlier post he may show wisdom in requiring X… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

You can’t control what other people do and you can’t stake your personal morals to other people’s standards. If the pastor who sees that a marriage is a bad idea has no choice but to perform it, I fail to see why pastor are involved in weddings at all.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I guess because there is no objective standard as to what constitutes a “bad idea” except for the Biblical prohibitions. We are people of the Book. I ask again if two pastors disagree as to whether two people should be married which one is correct? What is the standard for such determinations or does everyone do what is correct in his own eyes? I will admit that I am possibly overly biased towards personal responsibility. Does the Session and/or Pastor have the right to tell people not to be married? Under what circumstances? Or is it just that if they… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

You realize there are pastors who marry divorced people, and pastors who perform same sex marriages. At some point people have to stop looking at what others do or don’t do, and work it out for themselves. I think a pastor could say, I don’t believe you are going into this in good faith and therefore I can’t sign off on this marriage. Now what the couple does or doesn’t do is on them. They can’t look back and say, well, Pastor X married us so we had no reason to think we were doing anything wrong or foolish.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I am confused Mrs. Laura. You say “Is it possible that Katie had misgivings, but since DW seemed to have no problem performing the ceremony she thought it must be OK?” but then say “They can’t look back and say, well, Pastor X married us so we had no reason to think we were doing anything wrong or foolish.” How do these two statements made within hours of each other jive? I do agree with your last point because it places the burden on the people getting married and not on the officiant. I think I would say that the… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

I’m saying they can’t say that if their own pastor refused to marry them.

You know, the Bible, wonderful as it is, can’t possibly contain everything we need to know to live an upright life. You can’t say that just because the Bible doesn’t forbid something it must be OK. The Bible doesn’t say anything about churches even performing marriages, does it? Or pastors really at all?

Laura
Guest
Laura

BTW, if we are going strictly by the Bible, lesbian relationships aren’t mentioned unless you count Romans 1, which could just be talking about women engaging in sodomy with men.

Jill Smith
Member

I have a question which I have asked here before but which has never been answered. I don’t like to push it because I don’t want to speak in an unseemly way, thereby disgracing the lady who raised me. This is what I don’t understand, and I will begin with lesbians. Take two women who love each other in a definitely romantic way and who feel sexual impulses towards each other. Does the sin consist in their feelings? If they never do anything more than hold hands, have they committed abomination? If they do what I have been told they… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

Jillybean, it makes a lot of sense. There is not consensus about these things. Another famous pastor, who has since been disgraced, approved of anal sex between husband and wife if both are on board, so it can’t be the act itself that he disapproves of. And I can’t see the feelings themselves being sinful. That makes no sense to me. That’s on the level of God reproaching someone because they have red hair. I personally can’t drum up much indignation for homosexuality, or for same-sex marriage. I think – and this is me thinking, understanding that I could be… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Laura love does not whitewash sin. Is it loving to never share the Gospel with a Budhist since it would mean asking them to come out of their family’s long held traditions? So if the Scriptures say that the homosexual will not inherent the Kingdom of God is it really loving to not tell them that their lifestyle (again I refer this to intercourse) is sinful and will lead to hell? Do not call good evil or evil good. We do a man no favors by telling him his cows are great if his barn is burning down. Driscoll may… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

Once you tell somebody that the Bible speaks against homosexuality, are you going to continue beating that person over the head with your Bible for the rest of his life?

Do you feel compelled to go around admonishing people who gossip, or people who cheat on their taxes? People who are quick to anger? People who tell self-serving lies?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Are they Christians? If they are not Christians then we have a completely different conversation to have first (though it will segway into lifestyle issues). If they are Christians and they are habitually in sin then yes we need to go to them, then take others, then take the church as Jesus says. This is not normal in today’s world but it is what we are called upon to do. Jesus did not just command us to love people. He commanded us to make disciples. *Caveat, we do not correct every sin we see every time regardless of who or… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

If that person is a Christian, I think you could say your piece, but after that I think you have to let the Holy Spirit work on him and tell him what to do. You are not living his life. If God has special plans for him, God won’t tell you – they’re not your business. I think you run a real risk of turning someone away from the Cross and it’s not worth it. There are a lot of sins out there and we’re all sinners. Both you and that gay person stand equally before God with nothing to… Read more »

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

Jillybean, You seem to be asking two questions in one: 1) What about homosexuality short of physical sodomy? 2) Why focus on physical sodomy? Replace two men or two women with a man and a woman, both married, but not to each other. What would you make of their feelings, glad acceptance of the same, holding hands, cuddling, etc.? Would it be not adulterous? Not sin? The thing about sodomy is that it is a simulation of “going all the way”, the same as if our hypothetical married couples went beyond holding hands. Repugnant enough, but, yes, the human waste… Read more »

adad0
Member

Jilly, while some may think this a non answer to your question, I really think it is the answer to your question. The short version of the scripture below is, sin is first a matter of the heart, and after that, how it manifests its’ self. In many cases only God and the particular person in question know if they are in sin. People make idols out of good things and are is sin for holding something in higher value than Loving and obeying God. At the end of the day, God knows the hearts of people, not me. We… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

Thank you, “A” Dad. I always appreciate what you say, and the gentleness with which you say it.

adad0
Member

Ah Jilly, thanks to you as well! While we all need to speak and talk in our time for many reasons, it is great to know that Our Father has spoken all of the truths we need, to inform our speech as we edify ourselves and each other. I may not meet you in this life but let’s hope we catch up in the next one! (along with the other folks here.) As rough as comments on this blog can be at times, Jesus is still Lord over it all, even “flipping” darkness to light in His good time. Keep… Read more »

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

except that the language it uses for men is clearly talking about homosexuality, and describes it as against nature, and doesn’t juxtapose it from the female act listed prior, but rather likens it. It’s not the least bit unclear. One would have to reduce the passage to a discourse on the narrow and particular topic of anal sex to even come close to an understanding that precludes lesbianism. And even then, if anal sex is contrary to nature, then male homosexuality per se is by definition contrary to nature, leaving one with the problematic task of explaining how male homosexuality… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

I am stealing that comment for another debate . thx

timothy
Guest
timothy

Is it a positive good?

Laura
Guest
Laura

Not for you, because it doesn’t involve you. What do you think a lesbian would say if you asked her?

timothy
Guest
timothy

I asked you, Christian; is it a positive good?

I know from my own experience that sinful men or woman call good evil and evil good.

My willful disobedience did not make evil good, even though I would have said evil was good.

Now don’t dodge the question. Does God consider lesbianism a positive good?

Laura
Guest
Laura

God hasn’t spoken on the subject, as far as I know.

Is reading novels a positive good? What does the Bible say about that? Is everything not identified by the Bible as a positive good, forbidden?

timothy
Guest
timothy

Did God really say…..

Aquila Aquilonis
Guest
Aquila Aquilonis

Did Ryan delete his comments or did the moderator?

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Hmmm… I wonder.

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

I’d like to know as well

Object of Mercy
Guest

Seems to me what is at stake here is a theological issue. The reformed can’t bear to tie ANY WORKS to faith….turning the mere words “I believe” of any individual into a license to sin. Doug and many reformed need to read James on Abraham as well as Hebrews. See that genuine saving faith takes ACTION…. Sitlers faith seems as useless as a screen door on a submarine, to quote rich mullins. We just got out of a reformed church which was full of sinful lifestyles baptized from infancy and cleared at “the supper.” Daily obedience, and a heart for… Read more »

Object of Mercy
Guest

Seems to me what is at stake here is a theological issue. The reformed can’t bear to tie ANY WORKS to faith….turning the mere words “I believe” of any individual into a license to sin. Doug and many reformed need to read James on Abraham as well as Hebrews. See that genuine saving faith takes ACTION…. Sitlers faith seems as useless as a screen door on a submarine, to quote rich mullins. We just got out of a reformed church which was full of sinful lifestyles baptized from infancy and cleared at “the supper.” Daily obedience, and a heart for… Read more »

Object of Mercy
Guest

Amazed at the Orwellian nature of this blog…so many deleted comments…two of mine!!

Object of Mercy
Guest

Seems to me what is at stake here is a theological issue. The reformed can’t bear to tie ANY WORKS to faith….turning the mere words “I believe” of any individual into a license to sin. Doug and many reformed need to read James on Abraham as well as Hebrews. See that genuine saving faith takes ACTION…. Sitlers faith seems as useless as a screen door on a submarine, to quote rich mullins. We just got out of a reformed church which was full of sinful lifestyles baptized from infancy and cleared at “the supper.” Daily obedience, and a heart for… Read more »

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

The fact that your former church is faithless does not mean that reformed soteriology on the point of justification is wrong. It merely means that church was faithless. Reformed theology is more than okay with tying works to faith – it insists on it. But we have to make a distinction (not a separation) between faith and justification, and so a faith without works is a dead faith (a non-faith), but works are not necessary to garner, earn, or obtain justification. We are justified apart from any meritorious works, but any true justification, any true work of the Spirit producing… Read more »

Object of Mercy
Guest

yes i know. I’m talking about practical theology…how it works out in life, in a church… this is a case in point. since people here have to keep them SOOOOOOOOOO separate, (justification and works) all the fellow has to do is say he’s repented in counseling and there he goes back to the supper and on to a wife. the point many people have made here is that with this particular sin, repentance will show itself in a pattern of behavior that will take TIME to observe and to realize, and can’t be assumed by just words; it is not… Read more »

Evan
Guest
Evan

“That is the point people are making. Jesus said you know a tree by its fruit, not by how it identifies itself.”

And of course these people would know of all the ‘fruit'(or lack thereof) in said person’s life because they have spent time with him, counselled him, walked through life with him, etc..

Right?

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

All good. But the fruit is evidence. Evidence of what? Repentance and true faith? Sure. But that fact doesn’t change that the justification is not grounded on works. It is shown, revealed, proved to be authentic by works. But works don’t accomplish it. That’s the distinction. Practical theology is fine, but when missteps and sins in practical theology are used to claim that the theology *per se* is wrong, then you have moved from the realm of practical into the theology per se. The reformed formulation is not the problem. The problem is that those who practice in the way… Read more »

Object of Mercy
Guest

yes i understand alll of that. notice i said its not falsifying the doctrines of grace to expect fruit. what i am saying is its a falling off the horse on the other side to err on the side of not requiring it. its a mis application. the judgement call was made, in good faith; but the propensity to fall off on the side AWAY from works (in a super reformed context) is what caused the call to be made prematurely and is what is upsetting to people. they just aren’t seeing the theological roots of it. I”m not saying… Read more »

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

You’re trying to have it both ways. If they don’t falsify the doctrines of grace, and the roots of any supposed problem is theological, then the roots must be something other than the doctrines of grace themselves (if they are not falsified) , such as their licentiousness. But licentiousness has nothing to do with removing “any tie” between justification and works. It has to do with refusing to believe Paul’s answer to the hypothetical objection in Romans 6:1. And the only reason the hypothetical in Romans 6:1 even makes sense, and was anticipated by Paul as a possible objection, is… Read more »

Object of Mercy
Guest

AAAANNND… my point is valid because the whole point of this post from DW is: how can you have a problem with my judgement call? If you do, you are challenging justification by faith.

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

The problem is that people are presuming to know details which they do not know so that they may create plausible deniability to back away from actually extending the gospel in the way we are called to. People have strict categories, of supposed “propriety,” and if Wilson or others won’t adhere to them then they will claim omniscience if necessary to provide themselves cover for drawing their own lines in the sand.

timothy
Guest
timothy

but any true justification, any true work of the Spirit producing justification, will also produce works

Over time. The process of sanctification is not instantaneous; there will be missteps and errors as the old-man dies and the new-man matures.

EDIT: as Object of Mercy points out in the next comment….

Matt Massingill
Guest
Matt Massingill

No one said it was instantaneous. I was just clarifying for Object of Mercy that the reformed position on justification and works doesn’t separate faith and works – that is, any true faith will produce works. Over time, yes, but that’s irrelevant to the point.

James Riley
Guest
James Riley

Pastor Wilson: “Some things are in fact worse than others..” I think that’s at the center of this entire discussion. Imagine members of the flock about to take communion. One man shudders (internally) at the passing thought of the shapely 23 year old soprano in the praise band, as she appeared in swimwear last summer at a church picnic. Another woman is tearfully pondering a past abortion — a sin she deeply regrets and can’t possibly imagine repeating. Another man is actually fighting the urge to imagine a nearby two year old boy alone in a room with him. Free… Read more »

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

For awhile, Kim Davis going to jail over gay marriage prompted a lot of comments about the supremacy clause (art VI, sec 2), nullification, and what seems to be the modern name for nullification, “interposition.” So did abortion. Stumbled across the following by accident, but it got me to thinking about nullification again. If no one thinks this topic is worth chasing any more, just ignore the quotes below. The Legacy of Andrew Jackson: Essays on Democracy, Indian Removal, and Slavery, by Robert V. Remini [July 17, 1921 – March 28, 2013], LSU Press, 1988. It’s three lectures in the… Read more »

Jennifer Alwine Miller
Member

Excellent thoughts on just how scandalous our Savior’s grace truly is. I really enjoy your spot-on commentary, in general, Pastor Wilson. Thank you!

herewegokids
Guest
herewegokids

This latest diatribe of Dougs is discouraging. I guess its become undeniable that nothing anyone can say in print or person will change his conviction that he is right, has always been right, and will always be right in this matter. No, its not. “That is why no one has ever suggested to me that women who have obtained abortions in their past should be prohibited from marriage. No one has ever suggested to me that someone with three homosexual experiences in his teen years should be prohibited from marriage. No one has ever suggested that exposure to child porn… Read more »