Love, Marriage, and Faithfulness

December 3, 2017

Love, Marriage, and Faithfulness

by: B.Michael Bigg - Editor CETF

Love and marriage, love and marriage

Go together like a horse and carriage

This I tell you brother

You can't have one without the other

Love and marriage, love and marriage

It's an institute you can't disparage

Ask the local gentry 

And they will say it's elementary

Try, try, try to separate them

It's an illusion 

Try, try, try, and you will only come

To this conclusion

Love and marriage, love and marriage

Go together like a horse and carriage

Dad was told by mother

You can't have one without the other”

Love and Marriage (1955)

James Van Heusen & Sammy Cahn

Given the rate of divorce in the Western World, one could suggest that the song Love and Marriage is anything but correct. Today, however, we now contend with the proposed legalisation and legitimisation of Same-Sex Marriage in Australia and other countries around the world; and indeed, some countries and/or states have already approved and passed such laws.

I have contemplated writing a comprehensive article on Marriage, and even Pastor Philip Powell (Christian Witness Ministries) contemplated the same prior to his passing, but in order for such a work to address many of the questions asked by many in today’s pluralistic, secular, de-Christianised society, such an article would be a thesis. To really address the topic is somewhat daunting ... not because the basic theology is hard, but because of comments and questions following the, “Yeah, but what about this or that,” line which some have raised with me personally, or I have heard on TV, radio, print, and social media.

Marriage Can Lead to Love

There are such things as arranged marriages, or marriages not entered into because of love (which seems contrary to the common western reason to get married). Such marriages are even mentioned in the Bible (think Isaac and Rebekah; Jacob and Leah; King Saul’s original proposal of David marrying his daughter Merab), and arranged marriages are still common in some countries and societies today. Though such marriages may not start with love, such marriages CAN lead to love, though that is not necessarily guaranteed. For example, in Genesis 29, Jacob was married to two sisters, Rachel and Leah; Rachel Jacob loved, but Leah (who Jacob married first) he married because of the duplicity of his father-in-law who switched daughters on him when he was drunk. Concerning his relationship with the two women, the Bible records that Jacob “loved Rachel more than Leah” (Genesis 29:30), and that after giving birth to several children Leah hoped her husband would love her like he did her sister.

Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, "Because the LORD has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me." Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, "Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also." So she named him Simeon. She conceived again and bore a son and said, "Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." Therefore he was named Levi. (Genesis 29:32-34)

As a side issue, though the Bible records polygamous marriages (that is, men with multiple wives), the recording of those details is just that, a record of the facts. The Bible never encourages, recommends, or endorses polygamy.

Love Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Marriage

If you’ve ever seen images from pro-same-sex rallies, you no doubt have seen signs saying things like “Equal Love”, “Love = Love”, “All Love is Equal”, and/or “Love = Marriage”. But do they believe it?

Simply because two people love each other (romantically) it does NOT mean marriage is guaranteed, or that society would even allow them to get married. Don’t believe me? Then what about...

Ah, so society DOES put limits or caveats on what marriage is, and who can get married; nor, says society, does LOVE mean certain persons should necessarily get married, or be allowed to marry.

A Matter of Record

The New South Wales (Australia) Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages (and its predecessor organisation) has been doing its job since the mid nineteenth century, as “Compulsory civil registration began in 1856. In accordance with the governing Act, the NSW Government established a number of district registrars responsible for the compulsory registration of all births, deaths and marriages occurring in their district.” Prior to this, “From 1788 to 1856 the only birth, death or marriage records kept in NSW were the registers maintained by the established churches,” Unfortunately, however, during this time meticulous recordkeeping was lacking, and records included “inaccuracies and bad spelling.” Furthermore, “Distances to town centres, distrust of authority and lack of participation in formal church services contributed to the church registration system's inability to record adequately the details of all births, deaths and marriages that occurred in NSW.” So, “by 1825 the colony had developed to the extent that the lack of comprehensive birth, death and marriage records was causing concern. In an attempt to regulate and improve the system of church registration, eight acts of parliament were passed between 1825 and 1855.” The Registry’s websites notes that, “By the 1850s the colony had a patchwork of marriage laws that resulted in unregistered marriages. This kind of irregularity could undermine the legitimacy of children and disrupt the inheritance of property that seemed quite inappropriate to the self confident, self-governing community that NSW was hoping to become. A system that promised uniformity and certainty was adopted. The Marriage Act laid out the conditions for celebrating and registering a valid marriage, and for the first time those conditions applied equally to the Church of England and other denominations while the State became responsible for registering marriages.”

The involvement of Governments in marriage was to formalise and record marriages that were for the most part being conducted at churches (in the Christianised world). Were, what we would call, common-law or de-facto marriages happening? Obviously. But, at any time did anyone in said societies regard homosexual “couples” as being married? No. Same-sex marriage, or marriage equality, is a modern day attempt to legitimise sin. Nothing more.

Where Marriage Began

You have probably heard the saying, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve”, and though this quip makes a point, it is worth actually spelling out the origins of marriage.

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Genesis 1:26-28

Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:18-24

With sinless, unfallen Adam, God didn’t make for him a suitable helper which was male. Surely an all-knowing God would know the best helper for Adam, and that helper was a woman. It was God who brought them together and it was God who said for them to be “fruitful and multiply”, something not possible if it had been Adam and Steve. It seems amazing that the obviousness of this needs to be pointed out.

When Jesus was confronted by the religious leaders of the day (concerning divorce), what was his response?

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?" And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?" He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery." Matthew 19:3-9

Notice how Jesus responds, “from the beginning made them male and female, and THE TWO shall become one flesh”, and it is these two, the man and the woman, who “God has joined together,” and the same incident is also recorded in the Gospel According to Mark.

In his First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul gives instruction concerning sexual immorality and burning with passion. Look closely at who Paul is talking to:

Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But this I say by way of concession, not of command. Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife. 1 Corinthians 7:1-11

Because of immoralities, that is, because of, and the potential for, fornication and adultery, “each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband,” and they are to be sexually faithful to each other. To the unmarried and widowed Paul says that they should marry, rather than “burn with passion” and be tempted to sin. So who does one marry? Let’s look at the Lord’s (not Paul’s) instruction in v10, “the wife should not leave her husband ... and that the husband should not divorce his wife.” So there is to be NO fornication and adultery by or among Christians, and married Christians are a man and a woman. Instructions are given for those that are married, and those that are married are: husband and wife, a man and a woman – in line with God’s original design. There are no “committed consenting relationships” except within the bounds of said marriage.

The Great Debate

There is no doubting that there are people on both sides of the same-sex marriage “debate” who are passionate and passionately opposed to the other. Whilst the Australian Coalition government and Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, have promised a “respectful debate” on marriage equality, those advocating for same-sex marriage seems to be holding the government to blame for the actions of individuals who might scrawl anti same-sex graffiti on people’s property. Well for starters, why is someone’s graffiti (when it comes to those opposing same-sex marriage) being included in the definition of “debate”; and if you want to start including the actions of every Tom, Dick, and Harry, (nor Tanya, Deborah, and Heather, for the super-sensitive gender inclusives) then what about abhorrent social-media comments attacking and denigrating those who disagree with same-sex marriage. Hypocrites!

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said, concerning this “debate,” that same-sex/marriage equality “will pass”. As far as Mr Shorten is concerned, the debate is over, there is no debate. In other words, those that oppose same-sex marriage will be ignored – so much for a debate! Indeed, Mr Shorten and the political Labor party do NOT want a national plebiscite; they want a pro-same-sex marriage parliament to decide, rather than the Australian population. After all, what would it say regarding the media’s statistics which suggest that the majority of Australians support same-sex marriage if the plebiscite failed? Is there a guarantee that the plebiscite would fail? Of course not. Either way, a plebiscite, or a non-binding postal vote, is not good for the country, but then neither is a change to the Australian constitution allowing same-sex marriage.

But it’s Natural

The argument of homosexuality being, somehow, natural, is sometimes defended by examples of “couplings” that have occurred in the animal kingdom. You may have heard the news stories of the “gay penguins” ... be it “Roy and Silo (born 1987) [which] are chinstrap penguins who were a same sex male pair in New York City's Central Park Zoo” and whose “inspired zoo keepers to give them an egg from another pair of penguins who could not hatch it, resulting in the couple raising a chick that was named Tango”. Or the 2014 BBC news story of the “same-sex penguin couple [who] are rearing a chick after it was abandoned by its parents at a zoo in Kent. Staff at Wingham Wildlife Park stepped in after the baby bird's mother had to leave the egg because the father refused to help her incubate it. The two male Humboldt penguins, Jumbs and Kermit, were given the egg, which hatched...”

And we can’t forget the (not an isolated) story from 2008 in which, “A couple of gay penguins are attempting to steal eggs from straight birds in an effort to become "fathers" ... The two penguins have started placing stones at the feet of parents before waddling away with their eggs, in a bid to hide their theft.” Sort of amusing, one might say, but interestingly the article goes on to note, “the deception has been noticed by other penguins at the zoo, who have ostracised the gay couple from their group. Now keepers have decided to segregate the pair of three-year-old male birds to avoid disrupting the rest of the community during the hatching season.” Well! So much for natural.

But penguins aside, there are other stories we could reference which might be more closely related to us, meaning instances of homosexual unions in other mammal species. To prove that homosexuality is natural for humans, though, one need only get a group 100 homosexual men and place them on an isolated island with provisions, housing, clothing, etc., to survive. Similarly we do the same on another island with 100 homosexual women. IF after 100 years their populations have NATURALLY increased, then homosexuality would be regarded as natural. But do we really need to conduct such an exercise? Of course not! No one believes that the outcome of such an exercise is anything other than a population count of zero.

So, even from an evolutionary biological perspective, homosexuality is an aberration; it is a failure which results in those “branches” of the evolutionary tree being cut off. Evolution agrees with Biblical Christianity that homosexuality is wrong!

Justifying It

Australian comedian and lesbian Magda Szubanksi, on the television program, The Project, said,

“Look, it’s not just about matters of abstract issues like equality ... A friend of mine ... her partner, long term partner, had cancer ... She wanted to be in the room with her when she was having a painful treatment and the doctor said ‘next of kin only — parents, siblings, no spouses’ ...“She wasn’t allowed in and she had to stand outside and listen to the screams of the woman she loved, unable to even comfort her. Now, in whose universe is that fair? What God thinks that’s right?”

I’m not sure what to say when I hear this recount of what happened to this cancer patient. But to take a purely logical and rational approach, being married makes one a spouse, so if “no spouses” were allowed how would allowing same-sex marriage have made any difference? Personally I find it questionable that any doctor, or hospital, could enforce “no spouses” for next of kin ... even for those in de-facto relationships.

That being said, it would NOT require a change to the Australian Constitution allowing same-sex marriage for a hospital, any hospital, to allow what is in essence de-facto/common-law partners of a patients, whether they were heterosexual or homosexual, into a room to comfort the patient. Furthermore, there is no strict legal definition of next of kin in Australia, so when one goes into hospital for a procedure, it would only take a change of rules AT THAT HOSPTIAL (or at most by that State’s Health Department) to allow “homosexual partners” in the definition of a patient’s NOMINATED next of kin.

The story above is emotive, without a doubt, and one can feel for the patient – and those persons who love them, be they family or friends – but hospitals and those that run them set the rules. Are such stories and incidents justification for same-sex marriage amendments to the Australian Constitution? Hardly! And if we really wanted to push the issue, where was the push to have hospital policies changed to allow this ... or what, they had to wait to make it an Australian Constitutional issue? If that is the case then it makes it purely political, rather than being about the patients.

A Slippery Slope and a Can of Worms

If we are voting in favour of same-sex marriage under the guise of marriage equality, then what about marriage equality for all? Being an equitable multicultural country, why don’t we go and ensure that the whole love and marriage equity debate is applied equally to all cultures and belief systems. What about those cultures and beliefs for whom polygamy is acceptable, if not normal? Islam allows men to have up to four wives, Mormons can have multiple wives, and so too other cultures. If we are suddenly being “fair” then shouldn’t we embrace EVERYONE’S views on marriage? Aren’t we discriminating against those who love more than one “spouse” otherwise?

Latest trends in sexuality identity have some people saying there are “250 gender and sexual categories. These include the well-known LGBTI designations — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex — plus a bewildering array of other terminology. Apparently it is now possible to be genderqueer, demisexual, twospirit, asexual, pansexual, polyamorous, fluid, femme, gender-binary, gynephilic, SAAB, MSM/WSW, skoliosexual, agender, androsexual, bicurious, cisgender, demiromantic, down low, FtM/F2M and MtF/M2F” reported ex-politicians and pro same-sex marriage advocate Mark Latham.

So now the question is: Is the vote about the inclusion of “same-sex couples” in the definition of marriage, or is it about ANY two people getting married, in whatever gender fluid state the individuals say they are, at any point in time? Mr Latham’s report warns that “radicals have infiltrated our education system” and,

They are trying to convince young people of the possibilities of gender fluidity: that at any time, boys can be girls and girls can be boys.

Prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, Marxists tried to create political anxiety and rebellion through the economic system. Now they are trying to manipulate the identity and feelings of school students, to convince them nothing is fixed in this world, such as biological science.

They want young Australians to believe that “capitalist hegemony” is suppressing their true gender and sexuality — a new source of social unrest. We must resist this propaganda at any cost.

With a majority of parents saying they don’t want radical queer theory in the school curriculum via Safe Schools, why would we want it in the Marriage Act?

Marriage equality has become a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Interestingly, pro-same-sex marriage advocate Mr Latham says that he WON’T BE voting for it and that if “the public hasn’t approved marriage beyond heterosexual and homosexual couples, how can the Parliament proceed with a broad, ‘two people’ definition?”

Amateur Professional Organisations

The Sydney Morning Herald, on 19 August 2017, reported the joint statement by the New South Wales Law Society and Australian Medical Association (AMA) “expressing support for change to the Marriage Act”.

“NSW Bar Association president Arthur Moses, president of the Law Society of NSW Pauline Wright, and president of the NSW division of the Australian Medical Association Brad Frankum” said their, “organisations support the introduction of marriage equality laws and consider that legislation that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is fundamentally wrong”.

Mr Moses said of the statement that it is, “an extraordinary step for the medical and legal profession to speak with one voice on an issue”.

However some medics are resigning from the “Australian Medical Association, claiming its support for same-sex marriage ‘completely overlooks the best and largest studies that have documented considerable long-term adverse outcomes for children raised in same-sex marriages’”. Paediatrician Robert Hardwick said the “AMA’s position was ‘flawed, deceitful, unscholarly and unscientific’ and that they ‘have only referenced very poor quality, biased studies to back up their claims’”. Chris Middleton “a former president of AMA Tasmania, renounced his life membership in the national body’s roll of fellows because of a lack of consultation on the issue.”

It was revealed in the Sydney Morning Herald on 29 August 2017 that, “Fairfax Media understands the Law Society's governing body, the law council, was divided over support for the change. Fifteen of the council's 22 members were present for the vote on August 17 about whether to participate in the joint statement. Five members voted against it.” From the legal fraternity, “Sydney solicitor Robin Speed has picked a fight with the NSW Law Society for issuing a press release suggesting 29,000 solicitors supported same-sex marriage. Speed has given the Law Society a deadline of 4pm on September 8 to make it clear that the legal profession ‘is not in unison on the issue and may vote as they choose’, The Australian reported. He may take legal action. Mr Speed has, as a result of the statement, called for Ms Wright to resign immediately over the “false and misleading statement.”

Biblical “Scholarship”

With the predominance of the same-sex marriage debate in Australia today, the government funded public broadcaster the ABC, republished a news article on their website by Robyn Whitaker (of Trinity College, University of Divinity, Australia), which included “a summary of critical biblical scholarship on the issue” in which:

And this “Christian” lecturer says, “The Bible ... never condemns same-sex marriage, partly because it simply does not address the issue directly.”

... so this is the calibre of “faithful” Christian theologians at the University of Divinity, is it?

This kind of thinking mirrors that of liberal German theologians of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, that led to the demise of Biblical Christianity in Germany, with Bible believing pastors like Dietrich Bonhoeffer being murdered by the Nazis who rose to power in the spiritual void created by them. As if Biblical illiteracy isn’t prevalent enough among Christians already, we also have the doctrines of devils being espoused at theological institutions, or by their lecturers. Is this what’s being taught to the Christian leaders and pastors of tomorrow?

Consider the warning to Thyatira in Revelation.

"And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: 'I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them-- I place no other burden on you. Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.' Revelation 2:18-29

Another Robyn Whitaker article one can read online is, “Note to Margaret Court: the Bible isn’t meant to be read that literally”. The title says it all.

In an 8 August 2017 comment piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, Whitaker said,

“Once I would have appealed to the Bible and argued theologically about God's creation to claim marriage could only ever be between a man and a woman ... Facts and rational argument don't change minds though. People do. So while Christians needs to grapple intellectually with their theology, traditions, and biblical interpretation, we also need to listen to the experiences of others. My views shifted when I met Rachel (not her real name). Rachel was a parishioner who became a friend. As a lesbian Christian woman she patiently entered conversation with me as I sought to understand her sexuality and her own faith journey ... It wasn't until I lived in the US that I could really imagine what marriage equality could look like. When New Jersey legalised same-sex marriage in 2013, I witnessed first hand the joyous celebrations that spontaneously erupted and the long lines at the registry office for couples who had waited for so long. I had the pleasure of attending the church wedding of two female friends and witness the Episcopal priest invoke the fullness of God's blessing and utter the ancient prayers of the church over them... I am now a supporter of marriage equality, not despite my faith but precisely because my Christian faith demands that I treat others with compassion, justice, and love. I believe that love and marriage are God's gifts to us. Why would we not want those gifts to be available to every consenting adult”

It is certainly true that “facts and rational argument don’t” always “change minds” and “People do”. But, as Paul says to the Corinthians,

Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’ Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.”

1 Corinthians 15:33

Rather than having one’s mind changed by the current trends of morality, or rather debauchery, by some people in today’s society, perhaps, one should listen to God’s Word instead:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. Titus 2:11-15

Amazingly, in the same article, Whitaker does note that, “Opponents would have you believe that the proposed bill takes away religious freedom. It doesn't. At least, not in the current form.”

Yes ... not in its “current” form. Good thing all things stay the same, right!

Do you still think that your “religious” freedoms and opinions are going to be safe from scrutiny in the future? That Christianity won’t be labelled as “fringe”, “occultish”, etc., such that the Bible’s teachings will be allowed under freedom of expression? If the Australian Constitution is changed to recognise same-sex marriage, then what does it say about any view which is regarded as dissenting?

Perhaps a 24 August 2017 article in The Australian might make you think.

Religious rights threat in state discrimination laws

The states will come under pressure to overhaul their anti-discrimination laws if Australians vote yes to same-sex marriage, amid a mounting push to protect the rights of people and companies to act according to their religious beliefs.

In an unexpected consequence of moves to protect opponents of same-sex marriage from the threat of legal action, it has emerged that state-based laws would need to be strengthened — or overridden by the commonwealth — for such protections to be effective.

Advocates say the issue is most urgent in Tasmania, where several Christians have already fallen foul of the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act, including Catholic Archbishop Julian Porteous, who was taken to a tribunal in 2015 for advocating traditional marriage.

Some Coalition MPs and church leaders have begun lobbying for religious freedoms to be legislated alongside same-sex marriage, warning that individuals, businesses, schools, charities and hospitals will be vulnerable to legal action if the Yes campaign succeeds....

University of Newcastle associate professor Neil Foster said the states, particularly Tasmania, should be planning changes to their anti-discrimination laws ahead of the same-sex marriage postal vote. He said the issue of legal protection for religious beliefs had barely been examined during the debate....

University of Sydney law professor Patrick Parkinson said he favoured new federal laws that would override “crazy” situations such as that in Tasmania, where it was illegal to “offend, humiliate, intimidate, insult or ridicule” on the basis of one of 14 listed attributes. Under a complaint in Tasmania last month, two Christian preachers were accused of offending gays and atheists...

Professor Parkinson warned that Australia would see cases similar to those overseas where people had lost jobs for advocating traditional marriage or had been sued for refusing to provide goods or services to a same-sex wedding.

And yet Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten (or rather “future prime minister” as Kyle Sandilands called him) in a KIIS radio show interview said,

“Some people in some churches are concerned that somehow it is going to affect their religious freedom — it is not. All of the other laws which cover Australians (from discrimination) none of that changes.”

Supposedly, Mr Shorten, believes in God, and says that he “doesn’t think God doesn’t want me to vote Yes for marriage equality.” So the “future” pro-same-sex marriage Prime Minister of Australia Bill Shorten (who has a Bachelor of Laws), says you have nothing to worry about concerning religious freedoms, whilst actual lawyers disagree with him, and actual cases in Tasmania have ALREADY proven such assurances to be worthless.

Guarantees of religious freedom will mean nothing in a police state where pro-homosexual anti-Christians make the rules ... they will say it’s fine for you to go worship in your church, but don’t dare preach or speak out against homosexuality, or dare call it a sin. And what will you do Christian parent when they say your beliefs are “harmful” to your kids and threaten to take them away? To whom will you turn in that circumstance to help defend you when the law says homosexuality is normal and lawful? Think this is fanciful and far fetched ... then consider cases and rulings against Christian parents, would-be foster parents, and even some business owners, in other Western nations which have legislated in favour of same-sex marriage and whose example we seem eager to follow.

Go ahead and compromise now, but where will you draw the line when you’ve already compromised once?

Faithfulness

The faithfulness I want to talk about in this article is not marital fidelity, but rather what we could otherwise call Gospel Allegiance.

In Spain (18 Aug 2017) there was the terrorist attack where people were run down by a truck – a very sad and despicable thing. In response to the attack, pro-same-sex-marriage advocate and Presbyterian raised, Roman Catholic convert, Prime Minister of Australian, Malcolm Turnbull, urged us to “pray” for the victims and families. Then you get atheist commentators who say things like, “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families”. Really! Who are these atheists praying to? What trite, vain rubbish these comments and platitudes are. And then there is Roman Catholic raised, Anglican convert, Australian Federal Opposition-Leader Bill Shorten, who advocates marriage equality, and who said (in a 2014 speech to the Australian Christian Lobby), “for Australians of faith, religion is a base to build upon in public life,” and that he is “a Christian and a supporter of marriage equality under the law”. How do you spell contradiction and hypocrisy? In the words of Forrest Gump: “Stupid is as stupid does.”

One wonders if and when “christians” like Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten pray the Lord’s Prayer, whether they omit, ignore, or otherwise roll their eyes at the words! Let’s consider just one line of it, namely,

Thy will be done in earth, as in heaven

Now I am NOT saying that I expect Malcolm or Bill to be perfect (they are politicians after all, and) ... we all sin and we all can go to God and REPENT; but are the words of the Lord’s Prayer not specific and meaningful? What will one say to God about one’s prayer life and use of the Lord’s Prayer if you are merely repeating the words like a parrot and don’t consider their meaning? Aren’t we going to be judged for every idle word (Matthew 12:36)? Is it not taking the Lord’s name in vain (making it be empty, meaningless, and worthless) to pray to God with words we don’t mean, especially GOD’S OWN WORDS?

What does it say about your heart and attitude towards God when you OPENLY advocate for and defend what God calls wrong, immoral, and sinful, or to quote the King James Bible “an abomination”? What does it say about YOU and your SUPPOSED Christian faith? FOOL!

For the choir director. A Psalm of David. 

The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God."

They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds;

There is no one who does good. 

 

The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men

To see if there are any who understand,

Who seek after God.  

They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;

There is no one who does good,

not even one.  

Do all the workers of wickedness not know,

Who eat up my people as they eat bread,

And do not call upon the Lord?  

There they are in great dread,

For God is with the righteous generation.  

You would put to shame the counsel of the afflicted,

But the LORD is his refuge.  

Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!

When the LORD restores His captive people,

Jacob will rejoice,

Israel will be glad.

Psalm 14:1-7

The King James Version of the Bible puts “there is” in verse 1 in italics, indicating that the words are not explicitly in the text of the Hebrew, though implied. So what has the FOOL said? The fool says, “No, God”. It certainly seems that way at least. “No God we will NOT: believe your way, defend your commands, or otherwise support what you have said. No God, you are wrong,” they say.

We need to remember that there was no theoretical or theological atheism in ancient times as there is in today’s society. What the psalmist alludes to is practical atheism: living as if God does not exist. As Rolf A. Jacobson says, “the psalm’s accusatory finger points not only at nonbelievers, but also at every believer whose daily life is shaped by anything less than total conformity to God’s will;” and as Craig C. Broyles points out, “The term fool in the Hebrew Bible denotes not a silly person but one who ignores realities. The prime reality a fool denies is God.” Craigie and Tate elaborate further by saying, “The fool is opposed to God, threatens the life of the righteous, and thus evokes both lament and prayer for deliverance from those whose lives he [or she] affects ... the fool is defined by the absence of lovingkindness, which in turn is the principle characteristic of the covenant: he [or she] lives as if there were no covenant, and thus as if there were no God ... Hence the description of fools is of a moral nature; they are ‘perverse, they do horrible deeds’ (the Hebrew implies deeds which are an abomination in the eyes of God) and do no good”.

Now, if one is saying that the Bible is wrong, God’s Word is wrong, that God is wrong, then HOW can one ever REPENT before God? How can one turn from one’s sins if you don’t believe they are sins? You can’t. Plain and simple!

The Gospel, the Good News, is the Good News of the Kingdom of God. It is the Good News of the Kingdom Where God Rules and Reigns. It is the Good News of God who Is King. To believe the Gospel, to obey the Gospel, IS to give God YOUR allegiance. To openly and wilfully reject God’s standards IS to reject God. All humans are fools, it is only when we have God’s Wisdom, having positively responded to His Gospel, do we stop being fools.

To believe the Gospel IS to give God your allegiance, and indeed God EXPECTS your allegiance. What is the “gospel” one believes or preaches otherwise? “God save me from those things that ‘I’ believe should be regarded as sins.” Don’t worry, you just need to repent of those things “you” don’t feel comfortable doing; you know, the ones “you” feel guilty about. The rest, don’t worry about; if “you” are okay with them then God will be okay with them. Yeah, right, that must be what the saints of yesteryear were prepared to lay down their lives for. In the first century it was the practice and expectation in Roman society that once a year you had to go to the local temple and declare that Caesar is Lord. True Christians refused, and many perished for saying that not Caesar, but rather, Jesus Christ is Lord. History indeed repeats itself, and we seem to be heading back towards that idea; they want us to say that the pro-same sex current or future Prime Minister is Lord, and what he says is what we should agree with and believe.

Any Christian who advocates for same-sex marriage is NOT a Christian. They can’t be. You can’t in one breathe say, “Jesus Christ is LORD/MASTER/KING,” whilst saying, “We don’t have to obey him and can pick and choose what we want to believe, and decide what morals suit us; and we are also justified supporting, defending, and enabling those that enjoy sinning and who don’t recognise your authority God, let alone your existence.”

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:16-32

To side with same-sex marriage is to fulfil Psalm 2.

Why are the nations in an uproar

And the peoples devising a vain thing?

The kings of the earth take their stand

And the rulers take counsel together

Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,  

"Let us tear their fetters apart

And cast away their cords from us!"

Psalm 2:1-3

Acts chapter four records the incident of Peter and John appearing before the Sanhedrin (Jewish Council) and after they had been released they raised their voices to God, which included quoting from Psalm 2. Notice the anglicised/translated Greek words (in the New Testament) used for the (Old Testament) Hebrew.

And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, "O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, 'WHY DID THE GENTILES RAGE, AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS?  26 'THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND, AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST.' Acts 4:24-26

Tell me Christian, do you take a stand AGAINST the Lord and Christ? Do you deny Christ? No, no, not deny “Jesus”, but deny Christ. Deny the Messiah, deny the Christ, deny the King, deny His rule, deny His reign, deny His kingship and lordship? We’re not talking about “sinning” here; we are talking about open rebellion against God and His Word. Go ahead “christian” tell me “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil 2:11), make me believe it; make the world believe you believe it.

No doubt actual churches, denominations, pastors, priests, or others in church leadership will advise or recommend that members of their congregations vote in favour of the constitutional change. Those that make such pronouncements are nothing but hirelings at best, or wolves in sheep’s clothing at worse.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 2 Peter 2:1-3

Criticism and Marital Responsibility

Critics of anti-same-sex marriage advocates have pointed out the hypocrisy in laws allowing a couple (how inebriated or affect by other substances aside) to marry several hours after meeting in places like Nevada, USA, and then get an annulment/divorce a day/week/month later (even though they’ve consummated the marriage). Or what about criticism hurled at anti-same-sex marriage advocates who are Christians and who have been married and divorced: “Hypocrite,” they cry.

There is no disputing that both scenarios are disappointing, not ideal, and NOT supported by God. God doesn’t support divorce; a marriage covenant is for life – or at least it is supposed to be. That being said, what are the circumstances of the divorce? Do they matter? Who walked away from whom? Was infidelity involved? Was there mental, physical, or sexual abuse? What about the kids, did one party walk away to protect them? (Make no mistake, I am NOT for divorce, but I will support an abused spouse flee their abuser ... their safety and protection, their life, trumps their abuser’s marital rights). Did the Christian’s non-Christian husband or wife leave them? Sometimes circumstances DO matter in this fallen world.

But what about divorce for no other reason than the couple weren’t “in love” anymore? It happens, there is no doubting that. Modern Western societies and countries make provisions for divorce; and though a Christian couple do get divorced, it is NOT a reflection on the truth of Christianity, God, or His Word. Is it a blight on Christianity? Yes. Does it invalidate Christianity? No. Does it invalidate God’s definition of marriage? No. All it does is show that Christians are ANYTHING but perfect (though God would call us to be more like Christ and be more perfect). My sins and imperfection are mine, just as yours are yours, they don’t, however, disprove God’s truths, nor nullify His standards.

It is one thing to fall short of the mark, fail to meet God’s standard, to sin personally in one’s life, but it is another thing entirely to deliberately and wilfully side with the enemy of God.

Parental Responsibility

Tell me Christian parent, what will you tell your children if you vote in favour of same-sex marriage? How will you justify voting against what God says is right and wrong? How will you defend Christianity or the integrity of God’s Word in the future? You’ve already told them that either the Bible can’t be believed and trusted, or that it’s okay to disagree with God if you think YOUR opinion and ideas trumps what God says. Whatever happened to, “let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Romans 3:4)?

What do you say to an unbelieving member of family, or unbelieving child, you are trying to reach with the Gospel? What good is your Gospel when you tell friends or family that they need to repent? “Repent?” they’ll say, “You approved of, voted in favour of, the legalisation of homosexual marriage. You supported the justification of homosexual relationships. You ‘repented’ of what God says is right, you turned and went in the opposite direction to what the Bible says. Why should we believe the Bible when you don’t?”

Perhaps one believes that “denying Christ” is merely means denying His existence, as opposed to rejecting His teachings and standards.

"A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household! Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  31 "So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. Matthew 10:24-40

“Christian” how will you stand before God when you supported, advocated for, or justified a sinful lifestyle to your children? Who is being humbled? What if by your actions your child comes to reject the truth of the Gospel? Instead of you persuading the sinner to bow down to God, you have bowed down to them?

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:1-6

When the serpent whispers, “... has God said” (Gen 3:1), whose voice will it sound like?

It was God who acted in Love, giving Himself for our salvation. We owe Him EVERYTHING, including our fealty - our loyalty. It is God who created marriage, it is God who sets the rules, and he clearly and plainly says that it is a man and a woman. Love and marriage do go together, but they only go together one way: God’s way.

An Ironic Future

Finally, as an afterthought, there is an irony of the same-sex marriage debate if the Lord tarries and His return is many years/decades away: In Australia and the West we see the ongoing demographic change with the rise of Atheism and Islam, and no one seems to consider the future.

Traditional western societies today have a consumerist “me” outlook, and this has led to selfish attitudes and trend of having a good life with perhaps one token child. Birth rates in western countries are generally 1.8 or less, some barely even 1.0. That means for every couple (2 people) they are only having 1.8 children (on average), which means that the birth rates are NOT even sufficient to sustain/maintain the current population; and modern children are being indoctrinated through the education system following the theology of atheist professors like Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion).

Meanwhile, Islamic immigration in the West has boomed, and these Muslims are having four, five, six or more children. If you look at the religious demographic in Australia every five years, published from the Australian Bureau of Statistics survey results, you can SEE the change. It won’t happen in the next five, ten, or even twenty years, but when 51% of Australia is Islamic then rest assured Sharia (Islamic Law) will become the Australian Constitution; and when that happens the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, intersex, queer) community, or whatever is left of them, will yearn for, and reminisce of, the days they were “discriminated against” and denied same-sex marriage, as opposed to the sword that will be at their necks. When they’re being thrown from buildings, or beheaded, then they will wish for, PRAY FOR, the time when they were “persecuted” by Christians.

But today, secularists, atheists, and the LGBTIQ’ers will openly mock and denigrate Biblical Christianity whilst speaking out against any and all criticism of Islam; failing to see their own future. No, no, “Islam is a religion of peace,” the western secularist says, all the while a sword is being sharpened to demand their submission. Rather than repent and bend their knee to the God of the Bible willingly, now, and admit their sins and turning from them, their, their children’s, their grandchildren’s, or their great grandchildren’s punishment will be to agree with Islam at the point of a sword that homosexuality is wrong. No doubt someone will be offended by this, but fools always love their folly.

How will you vote? How will you stand? How will you show and reveal what you truly believe about God and the Bible. Is the Bible God’s Word, or is it just a nice book to pick out of it the bits that make you feel warm and fuzzy? Do you truly believe in God, or do you just like the idea of a god? How you vote will show what you really believe!

Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,  2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.  3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.  4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;  5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.  6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God. 1 Peter 4:1-6

Echad Ministries

“Hear O’Israel, Yahweh our God, Yahweh is One (Heb. Echad)”

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