Est. May 2008

06 April, 2015

A Quick Fisk

to fisk: to refute or criticize (a journalistic article or blog) point by point
In our local paper today, just in time for Easter, a letter to the Editor tries to browbeat Christians over the Indiana RFA.

Here's the letter:
Regarding the Indiana law that implicitly allows "Christians" to deny services to gay couples, my answer is "because that is what Jesus would do," right?

Did Jesus refuse to heal homosexuals? In fact, the Son of God himself did not utter one word about homosexuality in his 33 years on Earth, nor do the Ten Commandments address the issue. They both, however, had a lot to say about adultery and rich people.

Jesus explicitly proclaimed that very, very few wealthy people would ever see the Pearly Gates (eye of the needle parable), and he came to the rescue of a woman who was about to receive the death penalty for adultery (Old Testament Law).

Polling suggests that 60% of men and 40% of women commit adultery at some point in their marriages. Considering that 78% of people in America identify as Christians, that infers that there are a lot of Christians out there committing adultery!

Therefore, Christians should hold true to their beliefs and also refuse services to adulterers and wealthy people. It's only fair!
Let the fisking begin.

Regarding the Indiana law that implicitly allows "Christians" to deny services to gay couples, my answer is "because that is what Jesus would do," right?

Well, the writer is off to a great start.  Can't you just feel the snide leaking off that sentence?

Did Jesus refuse to heal homosexuals?

Well, we don't know, do we?  After all, there's no mention of it specifically in the Gospels.

In fact, the Son of God himself did not utter one word about homosexuality in his 33 years on Earth, nor do the Ten Commandments address the issue.

So, absence of evidence is evidence of absence?  In that case, the answer to the above question is 'No, Jesus never healed a homosexual, since there's an absence of evidence in the Bible that He did'.

Of course, Jesus never mentioned homosexuality.  That's because He didn't have to.  Jesus' audience was Jewish.  The Jews were well-acquainted with Mosaic Law.  Mosaic Law called homosexuality 'an abomination' (Leviticus 18:22).  Therefore, Jews were unlikely to engage in homosexual behavior, because they knew it was unlawful.

Now, because homosexual behavior was an unacceptable sexual practice, and adultery was an unacceptable sexual practice, the Seventh Commandment covered it.  So it was in the Ten Commandments.  And since the Commandments were given by God, and since Jesus was god incarnate on earth, He actually did say something about it – just, as stipulated, not while He was on earth, and because He had no need to.

They both, however, had a lot to say about adultery and rich people.

Yes, because adultery and the greed of the rich were fairly common, whereas homosexual behavior was not. 

Jesus explicitly proclaimed that very, very few wealthy people would ever see the Pearly Gates (eye of the needle parable) …

No.  Jesus was speaking about those rich people who put their faith and trust in their wealth.  This statement (not parable, sorry), comes immediately on the heels of the story of the rich young ruler, and it is an example of this clinging to wealth as well as lying.

The rich young ruler was unwilling to part with his wealth, because he'd placed his faith and trust in it – this is why he was 'very sad' when Jesus told him he would have to dispose of everything he had.  This disposal of everything was a common theme regarding Jesus' followers – He demanded they dispose of earthly things before they followed Him (see Matthew 10:37-39 and 16:24-26; Luke 9:23-27 and 57-62); if you weren't willing to do so, you weren't willing to become one of His disciples.

And, as an aside, if God hated rich people, why would He then have made Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Solomon, among others, rich?  And why would he have restored Job's wealth double (Job 42:10-17)?

As to the lying, the rich young ruler tells Jesus that he's 'kept all these [commandments] from birth'.  That was impossible, since no man or woman could possibly keep God's commandments every moment of every day f every week of every year. 

… and he came to the rescue of a woman who was about to receive the death penalty for adultery (Old Testament Law).

Yes, He did.  But He also warned her; the last verse of the passage (John 8:3-11) reads, ' … go, and from now on sin no more.'  He doesn't tell her she's not sinful; He tells her she is, but to avoid sinning from that point on.

Jesus does something similar with the crippled man He healed at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:5-14).  When they meet in the Temple after the healing, Jesus says to him, '… sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.'

Jesus saved the woman by confronting the hypocrisy of the men who would stone her for adultery.  Some commentators have proposed that there may have been men in the crowd who'd 'helped' in her sinning – for them, Jesus' words, 'He who is without sin, cast the first stone', would have cut like a knife.

Polling suggests that 60% of men and 40% of women commit adultery at some point in their marriages. Considering that 78% of people in America identify as Christians, that infers that there are a lot of Christians out there committing adultery!

This is because the church allows them to do so, just as the church allows abortion, divorce, remarriage, homosexuality, and other things labeled as 'sin' in the Bible.  It's because, for the most part, many denominations have dispensed with Scriptural teaching, and members of those church have rarely-to-never opened a Bible on their own – they depend on their pastor, preacher, or teacher to give them 'the goods' on the Bible.  And if that pastor, preacher, or teacher has been corrupted by society – be it in an urge to be more 'relevant', less 'confrontational', more 'inclusive', or whichever excuse they prefer to spout – and refuses to use Scripture rightly, you end up with Christians-in-name-only who, like their leaders, smorgasbord Christianity, taking what they like and leaving what they don't.  Those folks, along with their churches, make up the majority of that 78% figure up there, which ends up making them the 'mouthpiece for Christianity'.

Mouthpiece for false Christianity is more like it.

Therefore, Christians should hold true to their beliefs and also refuse services to adulterers and wealthy people. It's only fair!

Once again, we see the hysterical 'refuse service' meme.  These bakers and photographers and others aren't refusing service in general – they're refusing service which would force them to participate in, and therefore endorse by their participation, something anti-Scriptural.  If you're asked to bake a wedding cake, you are participating in that marriage; if you are asked to photograph a wedding, you are participating in that wedding. If you're asked to host a wedding, you are participating in that wedding.  And in each case, your participation indicates approval and endorsement, whether you want it to or not.

Now, as far as refusing service to the wealthy, nowhere in Scripture does it say that wealth is a bad thing – in fact, God provides wealth to people.  What's wrong is placing your faith and trust in that wealth, and turning it into a locus of worship – a god, if you will.  In order to follow Jesus, you have to be willing to give it all up, give it all away, and focus on Him.

As for adulterers, I would concede the point to the writer if the writer could give insight into how, exactly, a baker or florist or photographer or the like could ascertain whether the couple – or person – before them is actually an adulterer, without subjecting those people to an interrogation?  Being an adulterer or adulteress isn't as obvious as being homosexual, particularly if you enter the business as a couple.  And it's really obvious when the homosexual couple asks for a wedding cake with their names on it.

First, though, what has to happen is that Christian pastors, preachers, and teachers need to pony up and start doing the job they're supposed to do.  They need to teach Scripture.  They need to preach Scripture.  They need to adhere to Scripture themselves, and demand adherence from their flocks.  They need to call out sin as sin and condemn it, then offer the salvation provided by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  They also have to demand behavioral changes in their flock, and not look aside while members continue in their sin.

God expected – no, He demanded – behavioral change.  So did Jesus.  So did Paul, and Peter, and James, and John, and Jude, and the author of Hebrews.

We ought not be different.

Oh, and would Jesus have healed a homosexual?  I'm sure He would have.  And I'm just as sure He would have followed the healing with a warning against continuing in sin.

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