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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The UK Goes Pagan: EV News :: Redefining Marriage - Church Society Comment

. . . no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral. -- Article VII, Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

By Charlie J. Ray, M. Div.

It looks like the United Kingdom has crossed the line into paganism.  The UK just passed a law authorizing same sex marriage as the "immoral" law of the land.  This is indeed a sad day for the Christian religion as a whole and for Reformed Anglicanism in particular. 

The Church Society has released a statement on the issue calling for Evangelical ministers to preach on the issue of biblical views on marriage and sexual activity.  I am not sure I agree with this part of the statement, however: 
In each of these cases same or opposite sex attraction is an involuntary desire, not a lifestyle choice, heroically put aside for the sake of God and others.
Obviously, the sinful nature causes individuals to sin in thought, word, and deed and in things they leave undone that ought to have been done.  Simply because sexual immorality in the heart is not a "lifestyle choice" does not make premeditated sexual desires any less sinful.  Jesus said that to look on a woman with lust is to commit adultery in the mind (Proverbs 6:25; Matthew 5:28; James 1:15).  The same principle applies to homosexuality.  Those who meditate on evil acts, including homosexual acts, are sinning in the mind or the heart.  David rightly said, 

I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me. 4 A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness. (Psalm 101:3-4 NKJV)
Psalm 19 also forbids premeditation of evil acts and words:

 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14 NKJV)
Sin is more than simply breaking God's moral law by willful disobedience.  That's the Arminian and the semi-pelagian view.  No, sin is a disposition of the heart and mind, a total corruption of the divine image and likeness in man--which includes the rational mind, reason, and the will.  Man is corrupt through and through.  Simply saying that homosexuality is not "a lifestyle choice" is saying nothing meaningful since Scripture makes it clear that moral inability is no excuse for breaking God's absolute commands in the moral law (Ezekiel 18:20-23;Romans 3:10-23; 6:23).  The catch is that no one is able to stop sinning apart from God's supernatural intervention with his regeneration and irresistible grace (John 3:3-8; 6:37, 44, 65; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5-7).   Simply saying that homosexuals should remain celibate is not dealing with the proper exposition of the Scriptures, which clearly place the problem in the mind of the sinner, not in his or her actions alone:

 "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 "thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 "All these evil things come from within and defile a man." (Mark 7:21-23 NKJV)
Only God can change a homosexual or any other rebel into a Christian believer and only God can keep the Christian from falling away into gross sins:

"The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV)

"Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, 20 "that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. 21 "But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads," says the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 11:19-21 NKJ)
Sadly, the Arminian and semi-pelagian view so undermines God's absolute demands that self-righteousness is the default position of that theology.  Self-righteousness is the default position of atheists and unbelievers and false religion of all kinds.  Only the law/gospel distinction preserves true morality and shows the only way of salvation is by sovereign grace alone.  

Article XVII of the Thirty-nine Articles upholds the doctrine of double predestination and clearly shows that those who are born with a predisposition to lascivious and sinful behavior have been foreordained to reprobation:

. . . so for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation or into wretchlessness of most unclean living no less perilous than desperation.  (Article XVII).
This can be supported by several passages of Scripture in the Bible (Proverbs 16:4; Isaiah 46:10; Matthew 26:24; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; 1 Peter 2:8; Jude 1:4).  God is absolutely sovereign over even reprobation, yet no one who is a reprobate can say that God forced them to sin or rebel.  God never violates the will of man in saving the elect or damning the reprobate (James 1:16-18).  He simply turns the reprobate over to their own sinful inclinations of the heart and mind (Romans 1:18-32; James 1:13-15).

Although the United States will most likely follow the lead of the United Kingdom in approving of evil, the Christian is bound by God's written Word to stand against moral evil wherever it occurs, including in the realm of the state:

Article VII
Of the Old Testament
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and man. Wherefore they are not to be heard which feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.  (Thirty-nine Articles of Religion).

Click here to read the story:  EV News :: Redefining Marriage - Church Society Comment

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