Christianity: Doctrine and Ethics

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I am a 1967 graduate of The Citadel (Distinguished Military Student, member of the Economic Honor Society, Dean's List), a 1975 graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div., magna cum laude, member of the Phi Alpha Chi academic honor society); I attended the Free University of Amsterdam and completed my History of Dogma there and then received a full scholarship from the Dutch government to transfer to the sister school in Kampen, Holland. In 1979 I graduated from the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches of Holland (Drs. with honors in Ethics). My New Testament minor was completed with Herman Ridderbos. I am also a 2001 Ph.D. graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (Systematic Theology) in Philly with a dissertation on the "unio mystica" in the theology of Dr. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). I am a former tank commander, and instructor in the US Army Armor School at Ft. Knox, KY. I have been happily married to my childhood sweetheart and best friend, Sally, for 43 years. We have 6 children, one of whom is with the Lord, and 14 wonderful grandchildren.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The PCA’s New Strategic Plan (III)

Creating a Perspective for Planning (III)

With this installment, we move forward with our examination of the “PCA Strategic Plan.” Section B (How Has the PCA’s Mission Developed So Far?) is ostensibly a mere analysis of how the PCA has fared over the last 30 years, although one can detect an agenda nestled among the descriptive words of this section. We are reminded that “The development of missional purpose begins with identifying the values we hold most dear.” (p. 3.) It is asserted that “Our values are well identified in the ‘motto’ of the PCA: Faithful to Scripture, True to the Reformed Faith, and Obedient to the Great Commission.” (Ibid.)

The notion is put forward that “the inerrancy of Scripture was the driving force of our founding and that the churches who initially came into the PCA immediately united in this value.” (Ibid.) This is truly a very good start. The report goes on to say, however, that “Determining what it meant to be true to the Reformed faith was not as unifying, and created significant debates among us for the next 30 years.” (Ibid.) This statement is disconcerting in a number of ways, even though it might very well be historically accurate.

First, how difficult is it to read historical analyses of the Reformation and what Reformed theology taught down through the ages? Bard Thompson’s book Liturgies of the Western Church was available in 1962, long before the PCA came into existence. Surely, someone among the PCA founders must have read and digested that work and could have been a guide to point the way to what it meant to be Reformed and to have a Reformed liturgy. By 1980, Hughes Oliphant Old’s Introduction to Reformed Worship was released so that if the PCA were floundering, a reading of this monograph would have pointed the PCA in the proper direction.

Apart from those works, Schaff’s History of the Christian Church, Vol. 8 would have proven to be indispensable for providing information to what the Reformation was all about among the Reformed. And, of course, there was always that little work by John Calvin called The Institutes of the Christian Religion that would have given the PCA a great deal of insight into what it meant to be true to the Reformed faith.

Second, one really does have to ask if the PCA could have been so clueless and rudderless at its inception. It is somewhat understandable that when congregations left the UPUSA (now the PCUSA) and the PCUS, many of them had not been taught for eons what it meant to be Presbyterian. I became a Christian in a liberal PCUS church in Knoxville, TN and never heard of the Westminster Standards until I went to seminary. It is conceivable that the man and woman in the pew were in the same boat with me. That glaring, egregious lack of teaching and understanding is understandable at some level, but that does not include the leadership. Granted many of the Presbyterian seminaries were clearly deficient in their curricula, but the astute and enterprising pastor would have been keen to introduce and teach the Westminster Standards, wouldn’t he? Apparently not.

Third, it seems plausible then that some who were in the PCA at the outset were less “P” than they were “CA.”

Fourth, while it is understandable that there were some debates back and forth about some of the finer points of what it meant to be Reformed, it is rather incomprehensible that knowing and understanding what it meant historically and currently to be Reformed “created significant debates.” Most of us are aware of the discussions and debates over, say, infra- and supralapsarianism, over double predestination, and some of the finer logistics of administering the Lord’s Supper,[1] but that does not seem to be the type of thing to which the Strategic Plan is referring.

Fifth, one really has to wonder if this Strategic Plan is going to be the “cure-all” for three decades of confusion about what it means to be Reformed. The report admits that the debates surrounding what it means to be Reformed “both clouded understanding of our mission and inhibited cooperative participation in it. While progress has been made in defining how we will hold each other accountable for being true to the Reformed faith, relational tensions wax and wane around this issue.” (Ibid.)

This is, at very best, exceedingly vague language. It is so vague one has to wonder if one has to be an “insider” or to have been in the PCA from day one before one can get a handle on what the report is attempting to say. It could very well be the case that even the “insiders” might be a little confused at this point. If the report is alluding to what was decided regarding the Federal Vision, to this point there does not seem to be a lot of “holding each other accountable” for being true to the Reformed faith.

Moreover, if the report is referring to some of the consummately “loopy” church plants that have been undertaken in the name of the PCA, the acceptance of full-on emergent church liturgies, and some established PCA congregations flying in the face of the Book of Church Order by having unordained, commissioned male and female deacons, then, yes, we can begin to understand. And if the report is pointing us to the autonomous manner in which MNA has planted churches in my particular Presbytery, parachuting “Assessment Center Approved” church planters in between established churches without any warning or communication, then matters do get clearer. Since the report traffics in such generalities, one is left to guess at what actually is meant.

The next sentence in the report causes one to scratch one’s head: “Thus, the next stage of PCA development likely relates to the last phrase of the motto. How do we mission together, and whether we can do mission together, is the key to our future.” (Ibid.) Apparently, the author or authors of the report see the motto of the PCA as a kind of tiered system rather than viewing the components as inner-related. Herman Bavinck taught me a long time ago that being faithful to Scripture meant that you were true to the Reformed faith and obedient to the Great Commission. Am I missing something here?

If we are faithful to the Word of God, should we not derive how we “do mission” from that source and formulate our principles from our “commitment to the inerrancy of Scripture as the driving force”? If we are convinced “Presbos,” our doctrine of missions should be derived from Scripture, true to the Reformed faith, and obedient to the Great Commission, which, as I recall, says something about missions, doesn’t it? I believe this is true, which is why I was more than just a little flummoxed when the author(s) (Clearly this document is historical in the sense that it was written by Anonymous VI. His or her parents must be very proud, whoever they are) asserts that if the PCA cannot unite in missional purpose (what does this mean and what will unity look like? Total conformity? Identity in all parts?), “then our future is likely incessant, inward-focused pettiness.” (Ibid.) Wow! Nobody wants to be such a bigot do they?

Actually, I’m a little peeved at the tendentious choice of words in the last quote. If Presbos want to sit down and have a scriptural, Reformed, and obedient view of missions, why must the discussions terminate in pettiness? It sounds as if everyone does not get onboard with this Strategic Plan’s every word that we’ll all turn into ecclesiastical navel-gazers. Somewhat sarcastically in a simple graph we’re informed that the PCA’s faithfulness to Scripture occurred in the first 30 seconds and being true to the Reformed faith was the next 30 years—although I thought the report had said that the PCA wasn’t clear on what this meant—and the next part moving forward is “How will we do mission?” or “What is our present mission/calling?”

My initial response to these questions is this: You mean we don’t know now? Do we have a clue? Return to page 1 for a moment. We are told there that our annual growth rate had been roughly 5-8% in the early stages and in recent years has dropped to around 2-3%. If the PCA were so confused about who it was then, how do we account for the initial growth rate? Was it dumb predestination/luck? I would also like to know if the recent decline is due to the fact that the PCA has been striving ardently to become a “big tent” church affiliation. Is it possible—just possible—that some of the decline is due to the fact that those looking for a Reformed church have become disgusted at what passes for Reformed worship and liturgy in some churches that call themselves PCA? I’m just askin’.

[1] W.F. Dankbaar, Communiegebruiken in de eeuw der Reformatie, (Groningen, Holland: Het Instituut voor Liturgiewetenschap, 19872).


Monday, May 24, 2010

The PCA’s New Strategic Plan (II)

Creating a Perspective for Planning (II)

As promised, I want to take several issues of Ethos and outline the PCA’s proposed “Strategic Plan.” My wife served on the National Board of the PCA’s Women in the Church and came home last year with a CD presentation that we listened to together. Most recently, the Stated Clerk of the PCA, Dr. Roy Taylor, presented the document to a session at Twin Lakes Fellowship in Jackson, MS. I was not impressed with the proposed document when I listened to the presentation on disc or when Dr. Taylor spoke about it. In fact, just the converse is true. I have serious concerns about it, which I will outline in this and subsequent issues.

The first main heading is entitled “Creating a Perspective for Planning.” The introduction reminds us that the PCA is heading into its fourth decade. It strikes an ominous note at the outside stating that the numerical growth the PCA enjoyed from the beginning of its existence (approximately 5-8%/year) has diminished to between 2-3%. At this point in the presentation, I would have expected a rationale or guess-timate of why this phenomenon has occurred. Was it because the PCA was too traditional? Or, was it because some in the PCA had ventured out into a realm that was less Presbyterian and more like the myriad “community” churches springing up across the fruited plain? Is the decline due to too much liturgy and the application of the regulative principle or due to too little biblical liturgy? Is the decline caused by ignoring modern culture or becoming so much like it that there is little difference between the Church and the world?

None of these questions are addressed. Rather, we are given this statement: “Organizations that best fulfill their mission determine how to maintain their values while honestly facing challenges that could lead to long-term decline.” The tack is to speak in terms of a business-like organization (a modified version of the “S” curve also supplants answering the situation biblically). Is the PCA little more than an organization? Do we or should we operate on business principles when addressing an issue such as loss of membership? Should we bring in Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and Bill Hybels to teach us how to attract a crowd?

The purpose of the Strategic Plan is to help “the PCA identify its challenges, address them with strategies that are consistent with our biblical values, and build denominational support for implementing these strategies” (1). I am under the impression that the PCA is not a monolithic entity. Identifying challenges in, say, New York City, might look quite different from challenges in Lakeview, TX or where I pastor, in Yorba Linda, CA (No, not Rio Linda, Yorba Linda) near Anaheim. Simultaneously, it might seem to some like me that each local congregation along with its Teaching and Ruling Elders, Deacons, and Women in the Church Boards might be able to identify which challenges face them and how to solve them biblically and in a fashion that is pleasing to the Lord. I’m not all that keen on someone telling me what I already know, but this is a trend that has been generated at recent General Assemblies in the form of creating a “study committee.”

At least twice the proposal has been put forward, seconded, and thankfully defeated that we need study committees regarding the Westminster Standards. That has always struck me as more than just a little odd in a room full of theologians and seminary graduates. Moreover, doesn’t it seem more rational that we fully read and studied the Westminster Standards before we signed them? Am I truly so theologically inept that I need someone else to explain justification by faith to me before I can properly understand it? I certainly hope not!

At any rate, a sub-category of the Introduction is entitled “Charting Change.” What is suggested here is that “In order to bring about healthy change a church must develop a ‘holy discontent’ with some aspects of its present situation” (2). The paper goes on: “If people assume that everything is right…then there is no incentive to change.” (Ibid.) This is true, of course. The paper continues, “Apathy and immobility characterize the church because any change is presumed to be the enemy of present comfort.” (Ibid.) This sentence troubles me greatly for a number of reasons.

First, while it may be true that apathy and immobility can be deterrents to growth, by the second page the proposal has not constituted that this is the case in the PCA. Granted there may be some apathetic congregants in the PCA, this hardly constitutes a denomination-wide malady. I must admit that I am unsure about the precise definition and connation of the word “immobility.” Our church facilities tend to be generally immobile, but it seems the good folks who put this proposal together (does anyone know who put this together?) have something else in mind with “immobility” that is not explained. Before we move on to the next point, it’s important to analyze the words “present comfort.” Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that “present comfort” and “true biblical worship” coincide. If our worship is being conducted according to the Word of God and the rich Presbyterian and Reformed heritage that has been passed on to us, should we be chomping at the bit to change that? I’m just askin’.

Second, the antipathy to the “everything is right” crowd is a “everything is wrong” constituency. Frankly, I don’t know anyone from either group, but the crowd that met in smoke-filled rooms behind closed doors to hammer this proposal out must know quite a few. Or maybe they’re just using another business model and haven’t told us yet. It is precisely these vagaries that prevent me from getting a jump start on my “holy discontent.” Right now, I’m mired down in “holy confusion.” I understand that I should not be apathetic, immobile (may I move now?), cynical, or paralyzed.[1] Maybe the immobility stems from paralysis. I don’t know. I’m just sayin’.

Third, acknowledging that both of these models (ER and EW) are incorrect, we must realize that “Healthy change occurs when problems are acknowledged—providing motivation for change—along with a realistic vision of what life can be when problems are addressed—providing hope for the future. It seems to me that recently we encountered someone pounding the drum for change that we could believe in. (I suppose change you cannot believe in must be a possibility as well.) Healthy change does not occur in a vacuum or on its own. Healthy change also does not occur automatically merely by pinpointing problems. The present presidential administration has delineated a number of problems, but the solutions that have been thus far implemented have been worse than the problems. And yet, the President continues to insist that universal health care will reduce the deficit (even though it has caused deficits to skyrocket in other countries), that his cap and trade will necessarily cause electricity rates to skyrocket), and that the redistribution of wealth (socialism, at best) is a good thing. At this stage, I’m wondering how we are to identify those “healthy changes” that will solve more problems than they create.

[1] The definition of the everything is wrong crowd is this: “Those who seek to bring about change by claiming the everything is wrong…create cynicism and paralysis.” (2.)


Thursday, May 20, 2010

The PCA’s New Strategic Plan (I)

Creating a Perspective for Planning

A couple of days ago on the way to my study in my car, an 18-wheeler that I was begin (about 100 yards) had a blowout on the 91 Freeway eastbound. I watched as pieces of the blown tire flew in all directions. From my vantage point, I could see that a huge chunk of tire was going to fall on my car or land just in front of me, so I pulled over on the shoulder until the debris settled. Fortunately, I had my medicinal marijuana with me. Hey, I live in Southern California!

I used this opening to point to what I consider to be a major “blown tire” in the PCA on a number of fronts. The PCA is struggling right now and apprehensions are high. Flooding in Nashville might be the least of the PCA’s delegates to the 38th General Assembly worries at the end of June. We will, no doubt, be dealing with the question of unordained deaconesses and probably with the so-called “PCA Strategic Plan.”

As an historical highlight I want to cite a matter that I dealt with in some detail in my upcoming biography on Dr. Herman Bavinck. Bavinck and Kuyper were good friends. Kuyper was, at times, speculative in his theology. More than once, Bavinck had to correct him and rein him in. Possibly one of the most notable occasions dealt with Kuyper’s teaching on presupposed regeneration of covenant children. To correct Kuyper’s views, Bavinck wrote a series of articles in the Dutch periodical, the Free Church (Vrije Kerk). Eventually, the articles appeared as a book entitled Roeping en Wedergeboorte (Calling and Regeneration). An English volume is available from Reformation Heritage Books bearing the title Save By Grace. My compliments to Nelson Kloosterman for an excellent job in translating this work and to Mark Beach for an equally excellent Introduction.

My point here is that because Kuyper was Bavinck’s friend, Bavinck was gentler than he should have been in correcting Kuyper’s error in his sacramentology. The net result of Bavinck’s irenics is that by 1944 the followers of Kuyper insisted that Kuyper’s old error be taught. In other words, Kuyper’s followers were more insistent than Kuyper and actually took Kuyper’s teaching to a new level. This is but one example. If we were to take the time, we could produce parallel after parallel in the history of the Church. From the time of the 1970s, we could point to what occurred in both the mainline Presbyterian Church as well as the theological demise of the Christian Reformed Church. In each case, there was a discernible pattern. In virtually each case, those wanting “more” insisted that they really didn’t want more.

Describing the attitude of those who wanted to see Holland and the Reformed Churches get out from under the yoke of the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism, the Arminians boasted of great improvements in their particular brand of theology and congratulated each other “on having gone beyond the ‘old dead orthodoxy’ and on having left behind many of its antiquated errors.”[1] This attitude is readily observable and discernible in our current context. What happened in Holland is that the church affiliation that both Bavinck and Kuyper worked so hard to effectuate, came to fruition in 1892. In 1944, it is easy to start to trace out that church’s demise to the point where neither man would ever recognize it today.

I must confess that I am not at all convinced that the question in the PCA surrounding unordained male and female deacons will end there. There are already those in the PCA wanting “more.” I received a very disturbing email today and the sender as well as the congregation in question will remain anonymous, because it is the contents that are the most important. What I am about to describe did not transpire in a local PCA congregation, but rather occurred at a meeting of a PCA Presbytery. At the end of this installment, I ask my fellow-PCA colleagues to ask themselves if what I describe is acceptable to you. Your answers are important to me because they might very well be barometers of whether I should remain in the PCA.

There was a “worship” service at the Presbytery meeting that, according to the email, had a woman “liturgist,” who lead in all the prayers. One has to wonder if, at a meeting of Presbytery, no men could be found to perform such ecclesiastical tasks. In addition, there was a candle front and center. The music was provided by a praise band (was Jennifer Knapp there?), mostly led by a woman. Was someone trying to make a statement? According to the emailer, there was a general charismatic nature to the singing, including clapping hands, raising hands, and dancing in place. The front of the worship folder was adorned with a quote from N.T. Wright. As a former student of Dr. Herman Ridderbos and as one that has read large chunks of both authors, I still cannot quite understand why a PCA theologian would prefer to read Wright over Ridderbos. But I digress.

I will not comment on the remainder of the “worship service” and “sermon,” since I have not had the opportunity to listen to it. If it is available online, I will definitely listen to it and comment at a later date. I will mention, however, that the email contained information to the fact that the Lord's Supper was available to all present and a place was available to those who wished to celebrate by intinction. This, presumably, was for the young children present at the Presbytery meeting. The sender commented that on the back of the worship folder of the host church for the Presbytery meeting that he noticed that a woman was listed as “chair” of the deacons and that there were several other women serving under the title of “Deacon.” Is this just a “typo”? I don’t think so. How many PCA churches are engaged in this type of thing right now? I’m not sure, but the very fact that nothing much has come of this thus far is enough cause for deep concern.

In the next installment, we’ll begin to examine the 2010 Strategic Planning document, which, by way of introduction, looks to be one of the most PC documents the PCA has published since it started refusing to call illegal aliens illegal aliens and choose, rather, to call them undocumented workers. That’s about as astute as calling a drug dealer an undocumented pharmacist.

[1] Samuel Miller, “Introductory Essay” in Thomas Scott, The Articles of the Synod of Dort, (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1993), p. 16.


Friday, May 07, 2010

The New Evangelical Left (XXVI)

Change is in the Wind

Throughout America, change is in the wind, often without the promised hope that was supposed to work in tandem with the promised change. World financial speculators are edgy about the world economy and solid economists at home share the concern of their fellow-economists abroad. There is some unfounded optimism among the people, however, and every time the DOW or NASDAQ increase, people say, “See! The economy is coming back!” Not really. The market will vacillate, posting both gains and loses. Those peaks and valleys are no true signs of economic recovery.

There are mega-shifts or changes occurring in our legislative branch as well, where bill after bill is passed without being read, and where if you have participated in a Tea Party rally, you might be considered a terrorist, or at least dangerous, and if you’re a law abiding citizen in favor of Arizona’s new illegal alien law, you’re a racist. By the way, if you take the time to read the Arizona law, it reads very much like the federal law that is not being enforced. As far as having to produce “papers,” U.S. citizens are required to do that all the time. Every time I fly, I have to produce my driver’s license as a form of valid I.D. If I travel abroad, I am required to have my “papers” on me at all times. Usually, that means my passport.

Well, that’s the world and what do you expect from a pagan society? Should we expect the same thing from a Christian society, however? I would answer, “Definitely not.” And yet there are paradigm shifts taking place within the walls of the Church with blinding rapidity. Of course, these are not new issues or doctrines; they are rather the old, old ones, restacked and warmed up again. For example, Jennifer Knapp, four-time Dove Award “Christian” singer was interviewed recently on Larry King Dead. She let the world know that she has been in a lesbian relationship for eight years and that she’s determined that it’s okay, because, well, she’s in love and, moreover, Christians have simply misread the texts in the Old and New Testaments that ostensibly speak to this ethical issue. I see.

Over at The Christian Post, you’ll find that during her CNN interview Ms. Knapp “pointed out that believers rely on a text that is not in the original language.” Huh? Ms. Knapp went on to say that “scholars have questioned the interpretation of the original Greek words that have been translated to homosexuality.” I see. Which scholars are we talking about? Jim Wallis? Brian McLaren? Rob Bell? The long and short of Ms. Knapp’s excursion into Bible translation and interpretation is that she is convinced that homosexuality is not a sin. Did I mention she’s a homosexual? We might put Ms. Knapp into that corpus of individuals who call themselves Christians, but who are also crass relativists. She quipped, “In the long run I don’t have the greatest deal of problems with it because I’m not the only person in the universe that has ever looked at a different interpretation. We have advocates on both sides. It doesn’t make the truth any less truth or love less love.” Profound. Truly profound. Just like so many others in modern evangelism, it really is all about Ms. Knapp. It probably never crossed Ms. Knapp’s partially sanctified mind (if, in fact, she is a true believer, which, given her attitude is in dubio) that both sides cannot be right. And, yes, it does make the truth less truth if people like Knapp try to turn God’s Word into a wax nose to suit her sexual predilections. Her reference to love reminds one of Joseph Fletcher’s Situation Ethics, where he, like Ms. Knapp, failed to give a definition of biblical love that was workable and did justice to the biblical texts. Knapp attempted an end run around the issue when she opined that she was not there to justify homosexuality, but to talk about her personal choice and path.

Without being certain what an impersonal choice and path might look like, her implication is clear, is it not? This is something that works for Ms. Knapp. It might not be right for you, but it is right for her. Got it? Clear? Ironically, Knapp was on with King and Ted Haggard. Remember him? Apparently, he too has a wide stance. The journalist of the article writes, “Throughout the show, Haggard took a vague middle ground and refused to answer questions directly. He refused to give a clear answer when asked if homosexuality is a sin and whether it is a choice or not. The disgraced former megachurch pastor said both sides have valid points and that the most important thing is for people to have a personal relationship with God.” Right. What a surprise!

This approach passes for clarity in the modern Church, especially among those who want to call themselves Christians, while living like pagans. The results of the homosexuality question among Christians are just in: Knapp is in favor of homosexuality and Ted Haggard cannot make up his mind. One might think that if God were opposed to homosexual relationships that his Word might convict someone, somewhere along the line, of sin, but that’s a bad word. So this is where modern Christianity finds itself in the 21st century. In a quasi-cyclical fashion, the issue of male and female homosexuality, once thought dead, settled, laid to rest, is making a comeback in the midst of evangelical circles. Both good ole Bri and Jim Wallis have had their fingers in the pie in resurrecting this ethical dilemma. Let me say this: There are no new texts to look at on this matter. In both testaments there are specific words that mean specific things and whose meanings are clear. Scholars and pastors have examined the texts and the words.

One such scholar, the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen, writes concerning what God has revealed in Scripture, “The commandments of God revealed in Scripture are necessary to Christian morality, unquestionable in their requirement, relevant to every age, allowing no extrascriptural exceptions, and perpetually binding.”[1] If Ms. Knapp wants to disregard the clear and unequivocal teachings of the Old Testament, like so many in evangelism today, that is too bad. But to accommodate her hermeneutic, I’d ask her to examine Jude 7.[2] Note that is it precisely—precisely—the “unnaturalness” of the sins practiced by both young and old in those cities (cf. Gen. 19:4) that is emphasized as the reason and cause of divine wrath. The words “sexual immorality” actually mean that they indulged in “gross immorality” (ekporneuein), which “is an intensive, denoting extravagant lust.”[3] Can you discern the word “porn” in the Greek word?

Will or does this make any difference to Ms. Knapp and to those who think like her? Probably not. In fact, I’m convinced that I could cite scholar after scholar and it would not make one whit of difference to Ms. Knapp. During the show, another of her interlocutors was Pastor Bob Botsford of Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego, CA. At one point in the show, Knapp said to Botsford, “I have spiritual leadership in my life. The pastoral counsel of those who are dear to me, who understand the Scripture as sacred text and you are not that man in my life.” I see. It must be nice to be sequestered and cloistered to such an extent that no one who is a Christian can come to you with the Word of God open in their hand and talk to you about God’s absolute truth. It is revealing that the article ends with these words: “Knapp will release her new album in May. The album will not be marketed to a strictly Christian audience as her past works had been.” Interesting. I’ll bet it won’t be. She’s branching out into the secular market and given her popularity and people like Rob Bell’s and Brian McLaren’s insouciant attitude towards what Scripture clearly says about this ethical issue, soon the modern evangelical Church will first thoughtfully consider and then condone this sin too.

[1] Greg L. Bahnsen, Homosexuality. A Biblical View, (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1978), p. 27.

[2] …just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

[3] Bahnsen, Homosexuality, 35.