In the web uproar following my comments about sodomy being a far worse sin than slavery, we have noticed a few festive juxtapositions. I am merely a ten-year-old boy throwing a few pine cones at the homohive, and so it is understandable that I follow the subsequent behavior of the bees with some interest and attention. Some of the juxtapositions are striking contrasts between ideological foes, but most are simply representations of the fundamental incoherence that lies at the heart of their worldview. Let me begin with the latter.
1. Now when the adjectivally challenged launch into an attack on my moral probity, one frequently hears something like “you bleepity effing piece-of-bleepity blapping,” followed by the noun. But then it is the noun that provides the nice juxtaposition. I love it when that last noun, the thing that clinches their argument, is “hater.”
2. Another nice juxtaposition has to do with the sudden concern that the mob in front of Lot’s house (angel-rapers, let us call them) have for the reputation of moderate conservative Christians — e.g. the ones who don’t publish blog posts with cayenne pepper in them. Now these very nice Christian people have for a number of years been dismissed as brim-full-o-hate, and their carefully chosen words of love and moral concern are always dismissed as mere hypocrisy. People in this class are fined megabucks for politely declining to bake the cake. “No, thank you.” That’s just the worst, capable of causing over seventy forms of trauma in lesbians made out of rice paper.
Well, that is the worst until the actual worst shows up in the form of a blog post called Goan Duck Vindaloo in Hot-and-Sour Cayenne Confederate Surprise. And all of a sudden the homo-haters are calling up all and sundry respectable Christians to denounce me and my hate peppers. If they don’t denounce me, they might ruin their standing and well-established reputation as hypocritical bigots. Quite a sight, let me tell you.
3. I also was struck by the spectacle of an enormous outcry against the Confederate flag happening just a few days before the Obergefell decision, a decision that marked the most egregious assault on state sovereignty in a half century — and mind you, that’s saying something. If I were editing a movie script that had this particular juxtaposition in it, I would red pen it, and send it back to the boys in the basement with comments like “Heavy-handed. Too obvious. Lighten up, boys.” But then the celestial movie producer would overrule everybody with His divine stet. Turns out that He thinks that things are not obvious when nobody can see them.
4. Another striking juxtaposition was watching everybody go nuts over their lurid versions of what they thought I must be maintaining about slavery. The very idea of anybody “owning” anybody else is reprehensible and beyond unspeakable to them. There has been more than a little pearl clutching about it. But the juxtaposition is found in the fact that these are all the same people ardently supporting the right of society to come into a florist shop, a bakery, or a photographer’s business in order to force them to do work that they don’t want to do. Anybody have a name for that?
In short, they despise my views of 19th century slavery because I wanted to get rid of it without slaughtering 600,000 men, and they love their 21st forms of coerced labor. In short, they are like an ante bellum belle arguing that it isn’t really slavery if the slaves are being forced to mix mint juleps for the ball.
5. Last thing. This is the juxtaposition of two views that are in direct opposition — representing two views of humanity, two views of the world, two views of reality. This is not a contrast between those who want slavery and others who don’t. It is a contrast between different reasons for opposing slavery.
To the extent the secularists oppose slavery, they do so because they believe man is god, and that slavery is therefore sacrilege. Thus they argue that no man deserves to be owned (excepting of course the florists, bakers, et al.). Christian opposition to slavery is quite different. We are a fallen race, and are radically corrupt. It follows, therefore, that no man can ever really be trusted with ownership of another, and this is why Christians should always be laboring in the direction of maximum liberty. This will sometimes require establishing the preconditions of liberty first, but the Christian faith is necessarily the fountainhead of liberty for everyone — through reformation, not revolution.
So the secularists believe it is sacrilege for a man to be owned. We believe it is presumption and arrogance when a sinful man presumes to own. When the owner is perfect, as the Lord is perfect, then that problem disappears. “And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her” (Luke 1:38).
Not only does the problem disappear, but the Lord accepts our bondslavery to Him with His greater and more glorious purposes in mind. “Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God” (Gal. 4:7, NASB). We begin our tutelage with Him in conditions that are hard to distinguish from slavery — but it only seems that way because of the hardness of our hearts. As we spend time in His service, we begin to gain an understanding of His larger and most gracious purposes. He intends for us to rejoice in the glorious day of resurrection, the day of our adoption as sons and daughters.
Because the secularists will not tolerate the idea of anyone outside them owning them, they are therefore cut off from the hope of the gospel. This is because there is no possible salvation for those who refuse to be bought. The blood of Jesus buys. It purchases. That is what redemption means.
“Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6:16–18, NASB).
And so I would end with an invitation, extended to all my enemies, and I do it with all my heart. I will fight you with everything I have, but I also love you with everything I have. Stop calling other people haters. That acid taste in your mouth is the taste of your vituperation, not theirs. Turn away from all of it in repentance, and acknowledge that you are anything but free. You are a slave to your lusts, and your lusts will never adopt you as a son or daughter, and will never crown you with glory and honor. Your lusts have other plans for you. But if you abandon that slavery in repentance, and bend your neck to the Lord Jesus, you will discover that His invitation to you is gracious all the way through. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:29–30).