Father Hunger

One of our local critics has gone into print again, reiterating his story, to which he is sticking, that we are somehow “calling for the execution of homosexuals.” Which he says is “just plain ugly.” This canard has been answered more than once, but I want to do it yet again, just for the record. The record is important, as many would tell you, for legal reasons. I have addressed this fully and completely on different occasions on this blog (6/01/05 and 8/30/05), and we have devoted an issue of our magazine Credenda (16/2) to the subject. As a result, the irony of our situation is that we are simultaneously being attacked for two contradictory positions, neither of which we hold. On the one hand, we are being attacked for wanting to execute homosexuals, which we do not, and on the other hand, we are attacked for favoring homosexual marriages, which we do not favor. Our critics on the ultra-left and uber-right apparently share one feature in common, which is an inability to read what we write with any particular care.

Another critic takes us to task in a similar way, chiding us for wanting to do the exact opposite of what we have been actually arguing for. “Because the behavior [homosexuality] disgusts us aesthetically, is an under-dog view and practice, and functionally disagreeable to us in society, it becomes a very pleasant place to pound the pulpit and demand civil reform.” But how a call for Christians to stop demanding civil reform as a substitute for reformation in the family and the church can be read this way is a mystery to me. What we have called for is for Christian fathers to repent first, and for the church to get its own house in order first, instead of turning to politics as some kind of savior. Politics will be saved, but politics is no savior. We have argued that the current epidemic of homosexual activism is the result of disobedient Christian fathers, and so we have substantial work to do within out own ranks first. Our culture is in the grip of a profound and disorienting father hunger. This is no less true within the church. Father hunger is around us in countless ways, and results in far more than struggles with sexual perversion. Father hunger causes loneliness, aggression, rebellion against authority, hatred of kindness, lack of self-control, legalistic pietism, religion based on fear instead of love, and much, much more.

But the Incarnation of the Christ deals with this, in the only way possible. Jesus brings us to the Father. He is the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father, but through Him. If we have seen Him, we have seen the Father. He teaches us to pray to our Father in heaven. This is the Father from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth derives its name (Eph. 3:15). When the forerunner of the Messiah comes, what will He gloriously do? What kind of era will be ushered in? “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Mal. 3:6). Our position is simple. Trying to fix all the cultural symptoms of father hunger by getting Congress to “pass a law” is like treating the flu by eating a mound of greasy pancakes. How this position (repeatedly argued and advanced) could be interpreted as a “demand for civil reform” is beyond me.

The claim was made that we do all this “independent of the work of the Spirit. Putting Moses over Jesus, with an eschatology fit for Fred Flinstone, we are left with Bahnsen’s platonic Law, void of the new world of the Incarnation.”

But of course, this is precisely the opposite of what we have been preaching and writing and urging. Of course, we do not approve of homosexual marriage — far from it. But we called the Church to recognize and repent of her own failures in this regard first. Judgment begins with the household of God. And within that household we are to seek and find the work of the Spirit. The Spirit exalts Jesus, who brings us to the Father. Which deals with the root issue — our disconnectedness from what it means to have and be a godly father.

We do not place Moses over Jesus, as countless articles, sermons, posts, and books would demonstrate. Just a few days ago, on this blog, I was expositing Hebrews, the first part of which is urging the supremacy of Christ over Moses. Moses was a faithful servant in the house, Christ the Son over the house, as well as the builder of the house.

As far as “Bahnsen’s platonic law” goes, with regard to this entire subject, Greg Bahnsen wrote an extremely thoughtful book on homosexuality, and I quote from his conclusion. The emphasis is mine. “However, to consign the homosexual a place outside of evangelistic concern, to loathe this sin as somehow worse than one’s own, or to discriminate against converted homosexuals who wish to participate in the worship and fellowship of the church is unrighteous indignation and pride. It may be easier to take an extreme attitude either of self-righteous hostility or of unrighteous sympathy, but neither extreme is pleasing to our Lord. To please Him our attitude must reflect His — in all His purity and grace” (Bahnsen, Homosexuality: A Biblical View, p. 134). If this is “platonic law,” let us have a little more of it.

Our critic also says that what we are doing is “void of the new world of the Incarnation.” This is a quotation from one of my previous posts on “theonomy,” and I think it is pertinent to this question of the Incarnation, along with a little Flintstoney eschatology thrown in.

“Jesus said that when He was lifted up on the cross, all men would stream to Him. He promised that through His death He would draw all men to Himself, and as Christians we believe He is keeping that promise. Quickened by the Spirit of God, the movement of the human race to Jesus Christ is entirely voluntary, and we don’t want to herd anyone toward Him through any coercive means whatsoever. The way Christ will come to be honored in the lives of others is through us honoring Christ in our lives. This will be implemented through Christians worshipping God faithfully on the Lord’s Day, baptizing our little children and educating them accordingly, and living faithfully in our respective communities as diligent Christian husbands, wives, students, children, mechanics, educators, and so on. The only place where we will make any kind of trouble at all is in our refusal to bow down to the current gods. But in every other respect we will be model citizens, driving faithfully on the right side of the road. Precisely because we will not honor Caesar as god, we will be the best subjects he ever had. Following the model set by the Lord Jesus, the only kind of dominion we want comes through giving ourselves away through sacrificial service in our communities, service that imitates Jesus Christ. So the only authority we have as Christians is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If that didn’t happen, you have nothing to worry about” (Blog and Mablog, 6/1/05).

And in the other post on “theonomy,” I said this. “So the world to which this salvation is being brought is a world in love with death. In Proverbs, Wisdom says that all who hate her love death. And those who hate sexual wisdom love sexual death. But the Christian answer to this is not the sword of the magistrate. Our weapons are not carnal, St. Paul says. Our weapon is the gospel of Jesus Christ, a message which brings death to the sin, and resurrection to the sinner. And yes, this includes the sin of homosexuality, and resurrection for the homosexual” (Blog and Mablog, 8/30/05).

The grace of God in the face of Christ, the grace of God in the gospel, is overwhelmingly kind. God the Father has looked down on our world filled with contentions, strife, lust, wars, hatreds, disobedience, greed, covetousness, dishonor, false worship, animosity, and pride. And what did He do? He sent His Son to die on the cross. And He did not do this to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. And so it shall be.

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