An apology

Discussion in 'The Commons' started by Lowly Layman, May 17, 2023.

  1. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    That all seems terribly convenient...and terribly unfair. Sinful second marriages are no longer sinful because they were done prior to the spouses joining the church; but sinful same-sex marriages remain sinful under the same situation?! It seems to me what's good for the goose is good for the gay (insert eye roll). And what about Christians who divorce and remarry after they became a part of the Church? Do churches turn them away and revile them the way they do members of the LGBTQ+ community? The answer of course is no.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2023
  2. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    From where I sit, all sin is forgiven. That dirty business was taken care of 2000 years ago for all time. All debts were paid on the cross.
     
  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    If you are relying on scripture to support the argument, it is perhaps worth noting the classic texts refer to man on man sex, and the ladies get a pass.
     
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  4. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Lesbianism is condemned in scripture as well.
     
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  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I agree: when a Christian divorces and remarries, unless they divorced because of the spouse's infidelity, they are sinning. But what makes this different from homosexual couples is, it's quite likely nobody knows about the circumstances surrounding the divorce (if they even know about the divorce at all in this highly mobile society where people come & go and no one really knows anyone else). The heterosexual couple isn't parading their sin in front of the whole church. And honestly, if a homosexual couple comes into a church and simply acts like they're good friends (no public kissing or hand-holding or showing themselves to be an intimate couple), no one in church should or is likely to have a problem with that!

    If only that is how they would always act!

    So the question is, why do so many homosexuals push the churches to "normalize" homosexual behavior? Why do they rub our noses in it? Why do they expect the church to give in and accept their wrongdoing as if it were fully proper? Why are some churches celebrating gayness with rainbow decorations as if it were the most wonderful and sensible thing in the world? If people start attending a local church and they act inappropriately, doesn't the rector have a duty to address the situation?

    You accuse churches of "reviling" members of the LGBTQ community; which churches, specifically, are doing this? I don't know of any (edit: I just remembered the Westboro Baptists, yikes!). Oh, there are some oddball non-denom congregations led by a self-anointed yahoo who hates people, but those are extreme outliers, not decent representative examples of Christianity. Please tone down the rhetoric. This "reviling" of people is largely a phantom problem.

    Frankly, it is entirely possible (and most appropriate) for a parish to treat all properly-behaving attendees with equal love and respect. Would you agree with that? Because that is what I'm advocating.

    On the other hand, if some attendees are being treated as special because they are gay, that's not right. If the parish is trying to show by its actions that homosexual behavior (which, you agreed, is sinful) is to be celebrated, that's not right. If the rector allows couples to set a bad example or to mislead parishioners regarding the appropriateness of an LGB sexual lifestyle, that's not right either. The keys lie in church attendees' proper behavior and in the church's response of equal, not singled-out-as-special, love and respect toward those properly-behaving people.

    Imagine if all the LGB people who wanted to attend church simply dressed the same as most other people (no rainbow attire to announce their sexual appetites), came in, sat down, worshiped with the rest of us, had coffee afterward with us, smiled a lot with us, and left. There would be no problems. No one even needs to know that they are L, G, or B. If we want to say that their bedroom activities are nobody's business but their own, then they should literally keep it 'their business' and neither advertise nor advocate around the churches. Why is that too much to ask?

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    Last edited: Jun 2, 2023
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  6. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    There have been some very loud and repressive non-affirming statements, as you acknowledge, and some of the impetus for a better response than don't ask - don't tell comes from that. Do we simply agree with Westboro with a silence that gives ascent, or do we somehow do better? I don't think that Homophobia is a viable Christian position. Each person, regardless of how they identify in any number of categories, is a person made in the image and after the likeness of God. Part of our role and challenge is to help people understand the true nature of their own being.
     
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  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely spot-on. :thumbsup:

    One of the most important aspects of a Christian's being is his identification with Christ. A Christian should see himself as having been buried with Christ in baptism and raised to new life with Him. The old man, slave to sin, has been taken out of the Christian and he now is freed to be able to choose rightly and to resist sin. He may still stumble from time to time, but the Christian's heart-desire is to love God, to please Him, and to strive to push away temptations. He has a new "true nature."

    When a man identifies as "gay" (i.e, a practicing homosexual), he is identifying with his old, unredeemed self. But in reality he has been born again and has a new self, a new nature. This is why it makes no sense for anyone to say they're a "gay Christian" or a "lesbian Christian." The two identifiers are diametrically opposed to one another.

    I think we in the church do a disservice if we do not help educate Christians who have this conflicting self-image, so they can come to terms with their new spiritual reality.
     
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  8. ByOldEyes

    ByOldEyes Member

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    Re: the remarriage question

    It seems that while remarriage is adultery if performed after divorcing a previous, non adulterous spouse, it also seems to be true that remarriage in this case is still real and valid marriage, even though it is marriage created in sin. The initial adulterous act should be repented of before receiving the sacraments, but generally, only Roman Catholics regard the remarriage as invalid and require an "annulment" of the prior marriage. The rest of the traditional Church generally requires repentance, but does not interpret Matthew 19, 1 Corinthians 7, etc. as regarding remarriages as automatically invalid and illegitimate. The focus is more on the initial act of unfaithfulness as opposed to the validity of the marriage.

    Homosexual "marriage" is never a real marriage, as man-man and woman-woman is invalid matter, akin to putting peanut butter and jelly or spaghettios on an altar and calling it a "eucharist." As such, converts in a homosexual "marriage" are actually unmarried, and as a result simply fornicating, which is not comparable to the situation of remarried converts.
     
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  9. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    To quote Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, vol. 1:

    “By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband: under whose wing, protection, and cover, she performs every thing.”
    Blackstone was clear earlier in the same chapter of the Commentaries that marriages contracted in contravention of biblical or ecclesiastical law were not void ab initio, but only by judicial decree. Within such parameters, a distinction asserted between a “real” legal fiction and an imaginary legal fiction would appear to be meaningless, including for the example under consideration.

    The issue is thus not marriage itself but rather whether the Church should consider itself bound by all 1st century attitudes endorsed in the NT or only by some of them, and if the latter, what the specific criteria are that separate the obligatory from the non-obligatory items. Given that the Church manifestly does not continue to enforce everything considered a norm in the NT writings today, this is not at all an easy knot to untie.
     
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  10. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Excellent point, and very well put.
     
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  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I think what @ByOldEyes meant by his post was, homosexual "marriage" is never a real marriage in God's eyes. (Legal standing is a different matter, owing to modern legal innovations.) The Bible reveals the will of God concerning marriage.

    I understand that some matters spoken of in the Bible could be merely societal by their nature. Paul writes about segregated worship, for example. The key is that we don't see enough mention elsewhere to indicate that segregated worship was a great moral issue or a command of God, but we do see sufficient references in both OT and NT which tell us that:
    1. marriage, by God's design and intent, was to be between male and female;
    2. sexual activity is a normal and reasonably anticipated consequence of marriage; and
    3. homosexual activity (a reasonably anticipated consequence of homosexual "marriage", if such were even possible) is morally forbidden;
    4. therefore, homosexual "marriage" is morally repugnant to God and is not a mere societal issue.

    Re-characterizing the matter as a societal one is an error largely based on modernist philosophy (Hegel's and possibly others'), which in turn was based on an incomplete understanding of what the Bible teaches.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2023
  12. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I do not know what this means. A triangle that is known by God is still just a triangle. In other words, it does not gain any new properties by virtue of being the object of knowledge of an omniscient being. The same goes for marriage. In Greek terms, marriage is nomos, not phusis. Marriage isn’t a thing that exists “out there” in nature for us to discover; it is rather a legal fiction, invented in order to consider two persons a combined individual, because doing so creates added benefits for society, among other good effects. Marriage as such is real precisely as a legal fiction, with rights and obligations assigned to the subsumed individuals in order to provide the institution with real world effects that the individuals involved otherwise would not be expected to cause. It has no reality of its own apart from the actions of the individuals who have contracted between themselves to live out those obligations. God’s knowledge of these real world effects and their contractual basis does not make them any more or less real, in other words.
     
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  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Well, this is the basis of the problem. Anyone who regards marriage as just a legal fiction, without spiritual import or divine intent, is not going to agree with the teachings of orthodox Christianity on the subject of marriage. It is an insurmountable impasse.

    Is that really the TEC's stance on marriage? If so, I had no idea.
     
  14. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, I’m afraid the only accurate part of this summary of what I stated above is the mere repetition of the phrase “legal fiction,” which you appear to be interpreting as a pejorative. Legal fictions abound in civil society. Marriage is a legal fiction. Adoption is a legal fiction. A corporation is a legal fiction. The doctrine of justification also metaphorically expresses a legal fiction if it is understood exclusively in a forensic sense. Being a legal fiction is not equivalent to being unreal. The quotation from Blackstone simply shows that in the English common law as it was understood in the 18th century, a marriage that contravened biblical law (as it was applied ecclesiastically), but fulfilled the other criteria Blackstone listed, was a “real” marriage unless or until it was judicially nullified, but not before.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2023
  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Your earlier comment appeared to boil marriage down to a "legal fiction" of which God is quite simply aware. That is a far cry from the mainstream, orthodox understanding of marriage as a joining (more than just physically and legally) of two people in accordance with His desire, plan, and purpose for those two lives to become united. Perhaps you'd like to restate your position more clearly?
     
  16. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I believe my earlier statement suffices for the purpose of this discussion. Anyone who wants to take a deeper dive can look at the rite of marriage in the various editions of the Prayer Book, or consult representative jurists (as I have done in the case of Blackstone).
     
  17. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    How relevant this is depends, I suppose, on the extent one realizes that everyone was considered male in ancient and medieval thought (cf. Aristotle, Aquinas, etc.). Consider the implications.
     
  18. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Not a bad idea to look inside the Prayer Book. :clap: Here's a bit from the 2019 BCP:

    The covenantal union of man and woman in marriage signifies
    the communion between Christ, the heavenly bridegroom, and
    the Church, his holy bride
    (ephesians 5:32). While all do not
    marry, Holy Matrimony symbolizes the union all Christians share
    with their Lord.
    In Holy Matrimony, God establishes and blesses the covenant
    between husband and wife, and joins them to live together in a
    communion of love, faithfulness, and peace within the fellowship
    of Christ and his Church. God enables all married people to grow
    in love, wisdom, and godliness through a common life patterned
    on the sacrificial love of Christ...

    Dearly beloved: We have gathered together in the presence of
    God to witness and bless the joining together of this man and
    this woman in Holy Matrimony.
    Almighty God established the bond and covenant of marriage
    in creation as a sign of the mystical union between Christ and
    his Church. Our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of
    life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of
    Galilee, and it is commended by Holy Scripture to be held in
    honor among all people.
    The union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind
    was ordained by God
    ...
     
  19. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Here is the 1662:

    First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
    Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body.
    Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.
    And:

    Then shall the Minister speak unto the people.
    FORASMUCH as N. and N. have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have given and pledged their troth either to other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving of a Ring, and by joining of hands; I pronounce that they be Man and Wife together, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.​
     
  20. ByOldEyes

    ByOldEyes Member

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    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2023