There is such a broad range of people who identify themselves as Charismatic, it is hard to lump them all together. I have friends call themselves as "Charismatic Reformed" Christians. In practice, it seems to me their theology differs little from that of Martin Lloyd-Jones, since they never have any distinctively Charismatic features in the worship service of their church-- no tongues, prophecies, healings, etc. Their position is basically that God may give miraculous gifts in the present day, but that it is left to His sovereign will. On the other hand, there are those who believe Christians should actively 'seek' the extraordinary gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians, and if these are lacking in a church, something is wrong-- the church is quenching the Holy Spirit. It is this latter group I consider the most extreme, for they make no distinction at between what was normative in the apostolic era and what is normative today. Calvin speaks of 'traces or shades' of the apostolic gifts remaining in the church, though he clearly believes that revelatory gifts have ceased to be normative, now that the canon of Scripture is closed. We surely must guard against lumping together in the same box all who regard themselves as in some sense 'non-cessationist.' There are various views.
Washington Cathedral has clearly become a 'synagogue of Satan' where the gospel is denied and where evil is called good and good evil. Men like Hall should be recognized as for what they are-- wolves in sheep's clothing, emissaries of Satan dressed up like angels of light, whose purpose is to deceive and destroy the souls of men (and even their bodies, since the homosexual lifestyle is dangerously unhealthy, often characterized by high levels of promiscuity and casual sexual encounters that expose the practitioner to all manner of deadly diseases and even physical trauma through the grossly unnatural acts they perform). It may sound harsh to call Mr. Hall a 'wolf' or 'emissary of Satan,' but the Word of God of God calls us to 'expose' the works of evil and the workers of iniquity. God's Word is not unclear on this matter of God's design for human sexuality, nor will He be mocked.
It is so very clear that the agenda of President Obama-- I say, Obama, since he is the one who initiated and obviously supports these outrageously pagan, immoral, anti-Christian policies-- is to push all morally principled Christians out of the military, so that he will have a pagan, godless 'fighting force' that is totally devoted to advancing his Marxist agenda. It is hard to believe this is happening in the United States of America. Christians need to be willing to give their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to push back against the homofascist takeover of our country. We are a nation at war-- the problem is, many people's eyes are still closed to this terrible reality of the warfare being waged against our nation by those who despise its Constitutional form of government and its Judeo-Christian heritage and culture.
Paul's argument in Romans 1 is that God judged people for their rejection of the one true and living God by giving them over to a form of sexual behavior that is contrary to God's design. Because of a sinful exchange men made-- they exchanged the glory of God for an image in the form of corruptible birds,beasts, etc.-- God judged by handing them over to another "exchange"-- men exchanged the natural use of the woman and burned in their lust for one another. This language of 'exchange' shows that for Paul, it is the act of homosexual copulation itself that is a violation of the natural order and, therefore, under God's judgment. Moreover, it is an exceedingly unhealthy and dangerous form of conduct physically, for unless some type of prophylactic device is used male homosexual copulation will lead inevitably to disease and death. The perpetrator of such acts exposes himself to potentially fatal disease, and it is just as certain that no new life will ever be conceived through such deviant sexual activity. It leads to death for all involved, and never to life. Matthew Vines is a false prophet, therefore, who is twisting crystal clear Scriptural passages to deceive people. May the Word of God itself expose his hypocrisy and his lies.
God can establish a certain "law" (a designated pattern of behavior, conduct, motion, operation that created objects follow generally) without having His hands tied from setting aside that law at will. We can like this to traffic laws. The highway department places traffic signs that establish a designated pattern for the flow of traffic (laws), but a traffic cop can set aside that pattern at will in order to direct traffic to flow contrary to what the signs say. That's what I mean by 'law'-- a regular pattern of motion, etc., to which created objects generally conform in their ordinary operation. Such laws are descriptive, however, not prescriptive apart from God, who is free to set them aside at His pleasure whenever He chooses to do so. I have no problem with the terms law in this 'descriptive' sense. If you don't like that term, however, I won't argue with you over an issue of semantics. We both agree that God establishes regular patterns in the natural world that created objects generally follow-- for example, a beam of light generally travels at the same speed, but God can set aside that pattern at will. The existence of regularities makes the universe a livable place and bears witness to the wisdom of God. But natural 'laws' are subject to God's sovereign will.
By order, I mean evidence of design, purpose, rationality in the natural world, and that obviously includes "regularities" in nature that make it possible for us to function in the world, to develop technologies, etc. I know that if I want to go through a door, I have to turn the doorknob and push or pull. Unless the door is locked or stuck, it will open, as a general rule. Our experience of the world around us leads us to expect future regularity corresponding to past regularity. These regularities are often called laws, and I have no trouble with the concept of natural law, if we understand that term in the Christian sense of being descriptive, not prescriptive-- as describing what DOES occur in our experience, not what MUST occur because miracles are deemed impossible. Deists believe even God Himself cannot set aside so-called 'natural law" because they view the universe as a 'closed,' not an 'open' system. I believe the regularities we experience are evidence of a rational ordered mind behind the universe, but they are not evidence that the universe is 'closed' to God's miraculous activity, (which is what the Deist believes, and the secularist who embraces materialistic naturalism.) They have no warrant to regard natural laws as immutable. Only God is immutable.
The Protestant Reformers like Calvin and Luther believed in natural law, which they equated with creational law. The fact Roman Catholics affirm the concept of natural law does not in itself make that concept unbiblical; by that standard, we would have to declare the doctrine of the Trinity or the virgin birth unbiblical, for they affirm those doctrines. There is nothing in Psalm 19 to say the heavens declare the glory of God only to the saved; the declarative power of the heavens is by no means limited only to the saved, but to the unsaved as well, as the context makes clear. Moreover, I never said "a man blind from birth cannot know God and is thus not accountable to him." That is putting words in my mouth. I said that a blind man cannot see the heavens and thus the testimony of the heavens does not reach him. But the heavens are not the only feature of creation that bears witness to the existence and glory of God. A blind man has other senses through which the testimony of creation to God's existence reaches him-- the sense of hearing, by which the sound of music or bird song can reach his ears-- as well as his own intelligence and conscience and mere existence, which are all in themselves an infallible, irrefutable testimony to the man of God's existence.
Actually, Paul says that "God's invisible attributes are clearly SEEN, being understand through the things that are made. . ." The "things that are made" include such things as the visible heavens, according to Psalm 19. "The heavens declare the glory of God. . ." To a blind man, the heavens declare nothing, because he cannot see them. But to someone who has eyes and who sees the heavens, they do declare God's glory. How? By "showing" God's handiwork through the sense of sight. You cannot look at the heavens and not realize that they were made by a God of glory. The atmosphere does exhibit order, in fact, insofar as it contains the exact quantity of components to sustain life on our planet, in connection with other 'fine-tuned' features of the earth-- such its distance from the sun. All these features exhibit order-- and I stand by my claim that the two dictionary definitions of 'order' I gave are objective, clear, and easy to understand. How God reveals His moral standards to men through creation is not explained in Scripture, but it isn't hard to see how people through the light of reason and conscience would simply "know" that God's purpose for sex is heterosexual, simply by observing the self-evident design of the reproductive organs.
Are you denying the reality of general revelation? You seem to be denying that God reveals anything about Himself through the creation and through the avenue of our rational minds. Are you saying unbelievers literally know nothing about God? My view is that they do know certain things about God they cannot deny, because God reveals Himself and His moral standards to all men through the creation itself-- or do you not believe Paul when he says that unbelievers "KNOW God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death. . ."? (Rom. 1:32). Unbelievers are without excuse precisely because, as rational creatures endowed with intelligent minds and confronted with a created universe that speaks plainly about God's existence, they cannot innocently deny that revelation. Are you saying unbelievers possess no knowledge of God through the creation? That would be an unbiblical position, for Romans 1 says they do. That's why they are without excuse. Moreover, I gave you a useful, non-subjective definition of "order"; in fact, I gave you two such definitions. Yet you claim I did not give you any such a definition! I have no idea where you are coming from, what point you are trying to make, or why you deny that I have given you a definition for "order."
We all know what order is, even if we have trouble defining it. One dictionary defines order as "a condition in which every part or piece is in its right place." Another definition says that order is "a condition in which there is a methodical, proper, or harmonious arrangement of things." Language exhibits order. Just take the words of any sentence and rearrange them arbitrarily, and the sentence will no longer "make sense." Put each word in its proper place, and the entire sentence will then communicates a meaningful message. The universe exhibits such order-- take the DNA molecule-- the proteins in that molecule are arranged in a way that 'makes sense' thus exhibiting rationality and order in the material universe. I cannot take seriously, therefore, anyone who denies order in the universe, for one can only make that denial by putting words in an orderly arrangement. If one says, "There is no proof of order in the universe," such a statement can be made only by putting words in a certain order, which shows that the speaker believe he is living in the same orderly universe as his hearers. People are 'without excuse,' therefore, who deny God as the source of the order they cannot help but observe and which they cannot even deny, except by forming an orderly sentence.
Neil, Why do you equate an ordered, rational universe with a universe that is uniform in all times and in all places? I do not make that equation at all. An orderly, rational universe is simply one that demonstrates order and rationality in its design and function, and I take it as a self-evident truth of general revelation and a clear affirmation of Scripture that the universe God created is orderly and rational in that sense. Thus, we do not only learn that God exists from the Bible, but from the creation itself, which speaks loudly and clearly to every human being about the existence of God, EVEN APART FROM THE BIBLE. That's why all idolaters are without excuse-- even those who have never had any access to the Bible. The universe itself testifies to the certain existence of a rational Creator by virtue of its rational design. Now, as far as uniformity goes, although the universe exhibits a measure of uniformity, insofar as we experience it, we know that uniformity is contingent, not absolute-- dependent at every moment on the sovereign will of God, who orders all things. The universe is not a closed system, but one that lies totally open to the will of the sovereign, miracle-working God of the universe at all times and in all places.
Science without God is self-contradictory, for all scientific endeavor proceeds on assumptions about the ordered, rational character of the world that can only be justified on theistic grounds. There is nothing about science that would require or lead to the denial of God's existence; on the contrary, science demands the acknowledgment of God's existence in order to justify its most basic presuppositions about the character of the universe. Once you acknowledge God as the Creator and Sustainer of creation who gives the world its order, however, you thereby destroy the materialistic philosophy that underlies so much of the "pseudo-science" that parades as science in our day.
This judge should is not only a disgrace to his profession, but a threat to our nation by attacking the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of all Americans. He obviously feels he has the authority to criminalize any viewpoint or any moral value system that run contrary to his own warped worldview. Mr. Lively has committed no crime; but Judge Ponsor has acted in criminal disregard of the Constitution. He has abused the power of the judiciary, and should be removed at once from the bench. Our nation does not need any more Constitution-trampling, freedom-hating judges like this one. We have enough troubles as it is.
If a godly respect for people requires us to "think and speak respectfully of other religions and their followers, and to avoid ridiculing and denigrating their convictions and practices," then the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, and Jesus all failed miserably to show godly respect to people-- for they brought the sharpest rebuke against all religions based on a denial of truth. The prophets repeatedly "denigrated and ridiculed" the insanity of idol worship, and Jesus uttered scathing criticism of the Pharisees for their religion of man-made traditions which they used as a cloak to hide their hypocrisy and to turn people away from Christ. The fact is, no true Christian can "speak well" of any religion based on the denial of Christ's Person and saving work. Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and other religions that deny Christ as the only Savior must be "exposed" as the paths of darkness they are, not commended as wonderful religious systems worthy of praise and respect. Political correctness should play no part in the way that Christians deal with people of other religions. Though we should always respect people as people, we must speak the truth in love concerning the need for people to turn from false religious systems to Christ alone for salvation.
No government has a right to curtail free speech regarding biblical truth. Whether or not our government labels speech about biblical marriage "hate speech" should have no effect whatsoever on what Christians do. After all, we are called to martyrdom-- for the Greek word for witness is 'martyrion' from which we get the word 'martyr.' Anyone who suffers loss of property, employment, liberty, or life itself in bearing witness to God's truth is a martyr; and that is the universal calling of Christ's church-- to bear witness to the truth, even at the cost of personal suffering. We are called to remind human governments they are not God, that there are limits to their authority; and we are to show ourselves willing to suffer temporal penalties for disobeying unjust laws that would compel us to violate God's law. So there can be no compromise on this issue-- the church can never muzzle itself and refuse to speak out publicly against sin and moral depravity because the government orders us to be silent. Although we are to be always respectful to those in charge, our motto must be, "Christ is Lord-- not Caesar." To that we must be witness-- by word and by deed.
I think without any hesitation we should identity those who support this legislation, which prohibits vocal, outspoken, Bible-believing Christians from having any place at all in the "public square" (through establishing business, running for office, etc.)as radical Communists who hate the U.S. Constitution and who are attempting to annul it by treasonous disregard for it. I mean that in all seriousness. Anyone who supports legislation like this is a God-hating Marxist revolutionary who hates the very idea of the United States of America as our founding fathers conceived it-- that is, as a constitutional republic founded on the recognition of unalienable God-given rights and inviolable divine law-- "the laws of nature and nature's God"-- as the foundation of all just civil law.
The comparison of changing attitudes on slavery and apartheid with changing attitudes on homosexuality is bogus. Neither the Bible nor reason or common sense support the idea that people with less melanin in their skin have a natural right to enslave people with more melanin in their. Neither does the Bible, reason, or common sense support the idea that it is sinful or wrong for people with different racial features to marry each other. Moses married a Cushite woman who was undoubtedly darker skinned than himself. By contrast, the Bible, reason and common sense all unite in declaring that it is contrary to God's design for human sexuality for two males or females to unite in a sexual union. There is no natural way for two males to join themselves to each other in a sexual union that does not involve a deviant use of bodily organs that frustrates God's design for human sexuality. God's purpose in creating sex is to bond the two halves of humanity together (the male and the female) in a way that naturally leads to the propagation and upbringing of a new generation of humanity within the context of a loving, covenantal union of a man and a wife, the ideal context for raising children. To try to 'erase' gender differences is wicked rebellion against God.
"If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. and if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." (Matt. 5:27-30) "Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders. . .will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you WERE. But you were washed. . ." (1 Cor. 6:11). "Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (Galatians 5:24) "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." (2 Cor. 11:14-15)
I wander if any of these Fuller students advocating a 'liberal' sexual ethic that makes rooms for homosexuals to indulge the desires of their flesh have read these texts lately, and pondered their meaning? What do they think it means to be a "new creation" in Christ, with the "old things" passed away?