It is sometimes claimed by proponents of gay marriage in the RCA that our Standards don’t say anything about the subject. For the most part this is true. The Three Forms of Unity were written at a time when no one was questioning the sinfulness of homosexuality. There was no reason to explicate a subject no one was talking about. Our Standards don’t say much about alien abductions either.

On closer inspection, however, our Standards do say something about homosexuality. The Heidelberg Catechism intends to condemn homosexuality in Question and Answer 87. It is true that Q/A 87 makes no explicit mention of homosexuality. The new joint CRC-RCA version is accurate: “No unchaste person, no idolater, adulterer, thief, no covetous person, no drunkard, slanderer, robber, or the like will inherit the kingdom of God.”  This is an obvious references to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. And yet, unlike Paul, the Catechism does not mention homosexuality. Is this because Ursinus wanted to be open and affirming? Or is something else at work?

Interestingly, the 1962 translation of the Catechism by Allen Miller and Eugene Osterhaven (longtime professor at Western Theological Seminary) includes “homosexual perversion” in the list of sins mentioned in Answer 87. Miller and Osterhaven understood that Answer 87 is a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Hence they included the full Corinthians text from the New English Bible in their translation.  Admittedly, this is poor translation practice, which is why the new CRC-RCA translation simply translates the German word unkeuscher with “unchaste.” But in keeping with their own stated translation purposes Osterhaven and Miller were trying to capture the authorial intent behind the text.  The translation is poor, but they were right about the meaning.

In summarizing 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Ursinus (Heidelberg’s chief author) does not include every sin in the vice list.  Most notably, he leaves out several terms related to sexual immorality.  This is certainly not because Ursinus and the reformers were ambiguous in their assessment of homosexuality.  The reason no explicit mention is made of homosexuality in Answer 87 is because it was considered inappropriate and obscene to even mention such deeds. This is why the Catechism includes the phrase “or the like” (the German text of the Catechism contains no ellipsis as in the old RCA edition). We are meant to fill in the blanks with the rest of the text, the part of the text not fit to be printed for all to see.  As Robert Gagnon, one of the world’s foremost scholars on homosexuality and a member of the PCUSA, points out, when Calvin comments on Romans 1:26-27, 1 Cor. 6:9, and Jude 7 in his commentaries he mentions homosexuality only obliquely, referring to the actions and desires as “monstrous,” “polluted,” “most filthy and detestable,” and “the most abominable.”  Gagnon also notes that as late as the early 20th century the standard edition of ancient Greek texts published by Harvard University Press “would routinely render Greek classical texts into Latin rather than English whenever coming across favorable discussions of homosexual practice.” To talk or write openly about homosexuality was, for many, simply impolite.

Furthermore, we must remember that Frederick’s first purpose in commissioning the Heidelberg Catechism was “that our youth may be trained.” The Catechism was meant first of all for children, and children, it was thought, should not be corrupted by exposure to such unnatural behavior.  Adults would have understood that Answer 87 forbids all the vices mentioned in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, including the ones left out or too unseemly to mention.

Clearly, Ursinus believed homosexual behavior to be a sin.  In his Commentary on the Catechism, he defines marriage as “a lawful and indissoluble union between one man and one woman, instituted by God for the propagation of the human race” (592). Just as importantly, he says with regard to the seventh commandment: “The first class or kind [of lust] are those which are contrary to nature, and from the devil—such as are even contrary to this our corrupt nature; not only because they are corrupt and spoil it of conformity with God, but also because this our corrupt nature shrinks from them and abhors them.  The lusts of which the Apostle Paul speaks in the first chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, are of this class, as the confounding of the sexes, also abuses of the female sex” (591). Not only do we see here an unmistakable rejection of homosexual behavior, we also see Ursinus’ reticence to talk of it in frank terms, referring to such behavior as “the confounding of the sexes” and “the lusts of which the Apostle Paul speaks in the first chapter of his Epistle to the Romans.”

There is inescapable evidence, then, that the chief author of the Heidelberg Catechism thought homosexuality a sin (which should come as no surprise since every Reformer would have assumed as much). We also have good evidence that Christians of the sixteenth century, not to mention Ursinus himself, were embarrassed to openly name the act of same-sex intercourse.  We also have evidence in the words “or the like” that we are meant to fill in the blanks with the rest of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 referenced in Answer 87 (see also Q/A 109).  All of this leads to the strong conclusion that while Osterhaven and Miller may have been wrong, from the standpoint of translation philosophy, to insert words in the Catechism that weren’t there in the original, they were not wrong to think that the words they inserted (e.g., “homosexual perversion”) captured the spirit of the Catechism and the true authorial intent of the text. The “unchaste person” or “fornicator” in Answer 87 includes those engaged in same-sex behavior.

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136 thoughts on “Does the Heidelberg Catechism Have Anything to Say About Homosexuality?”

  1. DRT says:

    steve63, it is simply wrong for you to say that I won’t answer.

    I did answer. If you believe in meticulous predestination then god created both of them.

    If you don’t then it can either be god’s creation or our free will. Further, if you believe that god cannot be the author of evil, then you will obviously think that pedophelia is our free will. If you feel that homosexuality is evil, then you would say it is part of human free will. If you believe that homosexuality is not evil, then it can be either our free will or god’s creation, we can’t tell.

    That is is the answer to your question

  2. Countrytime Lemonade says:

    @ Steve63 –

    I will answer your questions later on. For now, I am busy with work. I can’t answer questions so quickly after they are asked. I will get to it sometime later today. I have no desire to “avoid” answering those questions, as DRT has also so ably pointed out that neither of us have been advancing that line of thinking.

    But it’s not difficult to answer. The key? Apply the foundational “law of love.” That will get you to where you need to be, for that is what undergirds God’s laws, determining “right” from “wrong.” Jesus Himself said so, as did the Apostle Paul in Romans 13:8-10, where he ends it writing “Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” But do read all three of those verses.

  3. JA says:

    DRT and CT, wonderful example of the heresy of antinomianism. Beautifully executed. You have shown very clearly that you rule scripture, scripture doesn’t rule you. The age of enlightenment and reason, shoving human reason into the Bible, makes you a little higher than God. That’s not very humble, which is what love is supposed to be. #1 love God, below that is #2 love of neighbor. If #1 is love neighbor, and below that is #2 love God, that’s not good because we cannot love like God in his goodness if our neighbor is in the #1 spot.

  4. DRT says:

    JA, for goodness sake, this is not kindergarten.

    Where is it that we did not tie our arguments to scripture? Where have we said that what we think is above scripture?

    The trouble with comments like yours is that you obviously think your interpretation of scripture is equivalent to god! And that is quite heretical.

    I ask again, where have we shown that we are above scripture?

  5. DRT says:

    Folks, I will continue to engage, but would you please at least address what I am actually saying instead of making stuff up. And if you are going to accuse me of heresy, like JA did, then at least provide evidence and not just a blanket accusation.

    We are seeking the truth of god here people, not trying to win an argument, or at least that is what I am trying to do.

  6. JA says:

    “Arguments like mine that I obviously think my interpretation of scripture is equivalent to god”- God wrote His Word, I read it. God said homosexuality is a sin, so it’s a sin. period. However, if I choose to go to Psychology Today and read about a wise scientist and his wise findings, and then try to fit those wise findings into God’s wisdom- then I am putting man’s wisdom above God’s because He didn’t give me enough of what I need to answer my questions. When I try to add my wisdom to God, where I don’t think he spoke or inferred the right thing,or I just don’t like what He said, then I may be above Him.

    You said before that you were looking for an answer to homosexuality for your kids from a place other than scripture. If you found an answer you liked, but it didn’t fit what scripture says, and then try to twist the meaning and intent of scripture to fit what you found in man’s wisdom… that just doesn’t make sense to me. Either scripture is your foundation for truth, or it isn’t.

    I agree, no need to engage further. Jesus left certain towns to move on to others, and that’s ok. I am praying for God to shed light on this issue for all sides.

    By the way, if you are not trying to win an argument, I am curious as to why you have the most post on Mr. DeYoung’s blog over a week’s time.

  7. JA says:

    At first it appeared to be a homosexuality issue, but it now appears to be more of a huge biblical doctrine issue. I find some of the comments very confusing to my faith, and the more I engage, the more confused on the whole subject I become. I think it’s too easy to get mad and put in comments before praying first. I have given into that temptation and now deeply regret it. I do not want to be a stumbling block to anyone, and am afraid I may have been. We are to be blessings and be humble, merciful. I did not do that DRT and CT when I compared your comments to antinomianism. I do find your comments and grounds for argument confusing, but it was not fair of me to say what I said. I do apologize. This is an issue for Kevin’s church and the RCA, not me. I do not have grounds to blurb in my opinion, I am not a member of their church or the RCA. I do sincerely apologize. I want to build up the body, not break it down. Sometimes the flesh gets the better of me, and that needs to continually die.

    God bless.

  8. DRT says:

    JA, I do wish you would actually read what other write, particularly me in this case because you saying things about me that are just not true.

    In your last post you seem to imply that I looked for justification for homosexuality outside of scripture, and having found it there I then had my answer. Right? Here is a direct copy of what I said:

    “Without going to the bible, I could not find any reason.

    Even while I thought that Leviticus and Paul taught that it was wrong I made the judgment that I would help promote and accept gays because I felt it conformed with the law of love and was more in keeping with the teachings of Jesus than any other position. I am still convinced of that.”

    What I said is that I did not find evidence against it outside of scripture and when I went to scripture I again found that scripture supported acceptance.

    Why do you insist on twisting what I say? This is very disturbing to me.

    And then you take the fact that I made a simple reference to that article and you somehow generalize that into how I take man’s wisdom over god’s. JA, please stop being so mean to me. I did not say anything like that!

  9. DRT says:

    …and thanks for the apology for calling me a heretic. I am glad you see that.

  10. Josh Blunt says:

    @JA – you were right on, and your heart is good. Don’t be shaken in your faith. The sheer amount of time that DRT and CTL are putting into arguing should be a testament to their spirit. “Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” I would advise everyone to let this go and shake the dust from our feet.

    @DRT
    I find it ironic that your first post on this blog was a promise to shake the dust from your feet and depart in protest to our positions. I wish you would have kept your word and spared us all this endless, unbiblical, and petty garbage. Read Phillippians 3:18-19 and pray about it; i will say a prayer for you and CTL. Don’t bother to respond – I won’t be reading it.

    @ADMINISTRATOR:
    I thought someone was going to pull the plug on Kevin’s behalf if this devolved into petty and ungodly quarreling? For the love of all that is good and holy, we’ve had enough. The worst decision I’ve made in the last week was to check the box for email updates on this!

  11. DRT says:

    Isn’t there anyone on this site that actually responds to and discusses what people say? Come on, there must be someone else who reads this who doesn’t simply quote some bible verse without explanation and say that anyone who disagrees with their conclusion is ungodly! Speak up! Is this the face of the Reformed church?

  12. DA says:

    Thank you, Josh! Well said!

    I have a couple friends at work who are atheists and we debate often! DRT and CTL’s argumentation method and biblical reasoning mirrors my atheist friends debate style and state of mind pretty closely. It has made me wonder all through the week if they are really atheists with an agenda of their own. They only know that for sure.

  13. DRT says:

    Bingo DA! I don’t know why it took you all so long to actually see through me all week! I was simply toying with all of you about this stuff. I am an atheist and I am just trying to corrupt the church, but you all are way to smart for that. Finally, someone sees through my charade.

  14. Countrytime Lemonade says:

    I am not bothered by the negative comments. At one point in my life, I would have been right where some of you are who have consigned mine and DRT’s points as yet another sad example of those who have capitulated to culture and been influenced in a wrong way. I understand that, and that’s why I’m not bothered. I’ve been there. I know your fears, your concerns, and your minds.

    My point is to raise greater awareness that this is not just a simple issue. Now some here would like to portray it as such, but it isn’t, and eventually life’s realities will settle in to different ones reading these posts and they will see that we weren’t so off-base all along. But as with most things in life, people only are willing to re-think things and even change when they HAVE to. Right now, many of you who are responding to this don’t have to. Many (not all) of you haven’t been forced to on a personal level, or a church level. And I understand that. It’s always safest to lob theological grenades at the other side from the safety of a foxhole.

    But what if that ‘enemy’ is your daughter, whom the church is about to put under discipline? Or your roommate in college who has become your best friend? Or your brother, or a youth member you were a church youth group leader for. Hard and fast statements, such as have been lobbed at DRT and myself, can be easy to make at someone like he or I. You don’t know us. But it’s a very different thing when you have to tell such things in the same tenor and tenacity to someone you’ve grown to love, who you have only known to be a young man who has such a tender heart for others around him and treats them with such kindness, only to have him disclose that he is gay. And you discover that he’s not some reprobate, but is one of the godliest young men you’ve ever known in youth group.

    And then you will hopefully come back to what you heard here and rethink things. Study things anew. And wonder, “Hmmm…perhaps I was too rigid and unwise earlier in my life.”

    I don’t expect anyone to change their minds on this issue overnight. It took me a number of years of studying this matter, and getting to know those who are gay. It took years of reflection and arguing back-and-forth with myself. I don’t expect anyone here to have a great epiphany just because of what I or DRT have written.

    But there are resources out there…they aren’t too difficult to find on the internet, for those who would like to study this issue more. And to look into it, not just from one side, but from both sides.

    I am confident, however, that the church more broadly will continue to ‘evolve’ on this matter. It will take a generation, maybe longer, but it will happen. Why, we’re already seeing it happen among the evangelical community, as younger members are questioning the traditional position, surveys are showing. Why? Because they are seeing that homosexuality is not this horrible wickedness that it had been portrayed to be. The “wicked gay people” are their friends, their roommates, their relatives, their favorite characters on TV who make them smile, who pray with them, who went on church work projects with them, who went to school with them. And the younger generation is questioning the traditional position because the traditional church has not given them a reason that resonates with their hearts as to WHY homosexuality is wrong. And I don’t believe it can. Which is why this issue not only isn’t going away, but will continue to “win over” more and more evangelical congregations and denominations to a more nuanced view towards homosexuality, consistent with the more nuanced view we already have towards heterosexuality.

    But such shifts take time. However, I am confident it will happen. In fact, it already is.

  15. DRT says:

    Well CTL, I admire your patience. I told myself to do that, alas I fail….

    Folks, I would have rather written the measured response that CTL wrote, whether you agree with the conclusion or not, the tone and temperament should be appreciated.

  16. Melody says:

    “But what if that ‘enemy’ is your daughter, whom the church is about to put under discipline? Or your roommate in college who has become your best friend? Or your brother, or a youth member you were a church youth group leader for. Hard and fast statements, such as have been lobbed at DRT and myself, can be easy to make at someone like he or I. You don’t know us. But it’s a very different thing when you have to tell such things in the same tenor and tenacity to someone you’ve grown to love, who you have only known to be a young man who has such a tender heart for others around him and treats them with such kindness, only to have him disclose that he is gay. And you discover that he’s not some reprobate, but is one of the godliest young men you’ve ever known in youth group.”

    I really don’t think you have any concept of what real love is, does or the incredible holiness of God. You have made everything, including God based on your best version of yourself. Someone that truly loves you, does not encourage you onto a destructive path of self-indulgence of lust. You don’t care anything about that individual if you are busy admiring yourself because you think you are being so much more understanding than the rest of the Christian world. It is all based on your measuring stick and has absolutely nothing to do with God’s word or His character. You are called to love God more than your brothers, your children or anyone else that you think by your standards is a really nice person.

    And he said to them, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.'” And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell.
    Exodus 32:27-28

    And you are worried about church discipline hurting someone’s feelings.

  17. Countrytime Lemonade says:

    @ Melody –

    You stated that I don’t seem to have any idea what true love is, and then essentially declared that true love is being concerned about that person’s soul in the presence of a holy God. To be sure, I DO know what true love is…Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself and went to the cross, who through His active and passive obedience fulfilled all the requirements of the Law and also bore the penalty of the Law for the sake of God’s elect, THAT is what true love is.

    And the reality is, I am freed up to love those who belong to Jesus, and therefore refuse to be haunted by constant worries that gay Christians are now somehow under the fierce judgment of God. My God is bigger than. The God of the Bible is bigger than that.

    Of course, that goes back to my earlier posts re: Romans 1. Perhaps you did not read those. It appears that you didn’t. Because if you did, you would know that I do not consider Romans 1 as speaking to those who are by faith found in Christ Jesus.

    I find it sad, actually, how so many comments on here are comments that blatantly call into question the faith of thousands of Christians. I didn’t realize that God had placed us in that position to judge one’s eternal state, particularly when the bulk of the lives of these gay Christians is so overwhelmingly positive and filled with the fruit of the Spirit. But, these folks are obviously deceiving themselves. And deceiving those of us around them. They sure have gotten good at deception, that’s all I can say, because I very much enjoy my Christian fellowship and conversations with them, and the chance to worship our Triune God side-by-side with them.

    I hope they enjoy their fellowship with God and the peace and joy that He is bringing them in this world. They obviously don’t realize that the eternal fires of hell are in store for them, where the Savior they love and worship in this world will turn on them and cast them in with the devils and their gnashing teeth.

  18. Melody says:

    You cannot claim to be transformed by Christ and continue in blatant sin. You cannot claim to love God above all else and compromise that. It’s not about acting hateful. It is about speaking the truth. We do it with all things and not just homosexuality.

    You were the one that used the example of church discipline feeling different when it involves someone that you care about. Well if that is the case then you have chosen that person over God.

    Would you accept a confessed murderer’s profession of faith? A prostitute’s? An embezzler? A pathological liar’s? All of those would be accepted and believed with the condition that the old life is given up. We look for change. Zacchaeus showed change. According to you the sin of homosexuality is exempt because they might be really loving people otherwise.

  19. DRT says:

    Melody, it is absolutely scary that you would pull out a story from Exodus of mass murder to hold up as the nature of god instead of all of the stories about Jesus. Jesus is the best image of god, not a mass murder scene from the old testament. It is simply frightening that a church could think that way.

  20. JA says:

    Humbly curious DRT, do you think the God of the Old Testament is not the same as the New Testament? Another question, asked in grace, do you believe in the Trinity? There are so many foundational questions that your comments raise. Jesus is the best image of God, not a mass murder scene from the OT, do you believe there is a hell? I sincerely encourage you to read some books on Theology- Packer’s “Knowing God” and Grudem’s “Systematic Theology” are great places to start. I personally do not believe one can argue parts and neglect the whole. Do you believe in the cannonization of scripture? Inerrancy of scripture? Origional sin? It goes on and on. I do not desire to argue any of this, but graciously suggest learning the full council of God.

  21. Countrytime Lemonade says:

    @ Melody –

    You started out by writing, “You cannot claim to be transformed by Christ and continue in blatant sin.” And I would agree IF you were aware that you were blatantly sinning. But what if you 1). were not convicted by the Holy Spirit that what you were doing was sinning and 2). believed the Bible was actually supportive of what you were doing?

    Obviously you believe that same-sex thoughts and actions are sinning. You better not sin against your conscience, then, and engage in such thoughts and relationships (assuming you were a sexual minority person). But for many gay Christians, they have not been convicted that what they are doing is a sin, and in fact have found that their relationship with God greatly improved when they were honest with themselves as to who they were and thankful to God for the opportunity to have an intimate loving relationship with someone of the same-sex. Would you still say that such a person is still apart from Christ and under God’s judgment?

    If so, what do you do with the millions of Christians who have divorced their spouse on unbiblical grounds, gotten remarried to someone else, and are a part of our churches? They are sad that their first marriages didn’t work out, but they don’t believe they sinned and are now in a state of perpetual adultery. Would you still say that such a person is apart from Christ and under God’s judgment? To be consistent, I hope you would, because as you wrote, “You cannot claim to be transformed by Christ and continue in blatant sin.” And yet that’s exactly what is happening in this second very-common situation.

    Or what of those who violate the 4th Commandment week after week? Who do not keep the Sabbath day holy, but instead in good conscience go out to eat at a local restaurant after church, making a “manservant” and “maidservant” work. And yet confront them about their sin and they don’t believe they are sinning. They go out to eat in good conscience on the Lord’s Day. It’s obvious to me that they are sinning…God’s Word is VERY clear about how His day is to be spent. MUCH more clear than an issue like homosexuality. And yet they are living their entire lives in disobedience to God’s law. And, as you stated (and many others on here too, either directly or indirectly), “You cannot claim to be transformed by Christ and continue in blatant sin.”

    What’s the correlation between all three examples? In the perspective of many in the church, what they are doing is willful sinning against God and violating His clear commands. But if you ask them, they do not believe they are, but in fact are at peace with God as they worship Him week after week. And the amazing thing is all three could be sitting as couples in your church pew, but only the first one would be put under church discipline for blatantly sinning and told he and his partner are going to hell. The first a gay couple, the second a 2nd-marriage straight couple, and the third a 4th-Commandment breaking straight couple.

    The bewildering thing is you probably don’t even see the inconsistency and double-standard. What would be even more ironic is if, Melody, you are actually that 2nd or 3rd couple in this scenario. Chances are, at least one of those posters on this blog who have attacked DRT’s and mine position, in fact, are such a couple.

  22. Countrytime Lemonade says:

    @ JA –

    Though your questions were aimed at DRT, I thought I’d take a moment to answer them, as I trust there are those reading my posts who probably think I’m some lost wayward soul who has no firm foundation.

    You asked, “Humbly curious DRT, do you think the God of the Old Testament is not the same as the New Testament? Another question, asked in grace, do you believe in the Trinity?…do you believe there is a hell? Do you believe in the cannonization of scripture? Inerrancy of scripture? Origional sin?”

    I believe in the Trinity, and that the God of the O.T. is the God of the N.T. I confess and believe the truths found in the 3 Ecumenical Creeds (Apostles, Nicene, Athanasian, and in fact don’t just say it but make a practice of regularly reading all 3). I confess and believe the truths found in the 3 Forms of Unity (Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dort, Belgic Confession).

    I believe that God’s Word is the inspired inerrant Word of God, without error and completely trustworthy. I believe there is a heaven and a hell, and that one day after Jesus’ return there will be a new heaven and new earth, as well as an eternal lake of fire.

    And since I believe in what is taught in the Three Forms of Unity, I obviously believe in original sin, actual sin, predestination, Divine Election and Reprobation, etc. I believe in a literal 6 day creation. I believe in miracles and that Jesus bodily arose from the dead. On and on.

    I do not know how DRT would answer your questions, but I for one will stand toe-to-toe with you or anyone about the foundational issues of the faith and be an even stronger defender of them than I suspect even you.

    I just needed to state that lest I be too-easily pigeon-holed and dismissed. I almost feel like the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:4-7 (read it and you’ll see).

  23. Melody says:

    It was as I thought DRT, you do not comprehend the holiness of God or the power of the Holy Spirit. You have a lot of head knowledge and I’m imagine you may even appear like a Christ follower to those that know you in real life but those two things betray you to be a imitator and not the real deal.

    As for Countrytime, you cannot justify one sin with another. That is a slippery trick of Satan. It seems to be what the two of you fall back on when all other arguments fail. DRT said he would shake his sandals which was a lie. I have weaknesses in sin but lying isn’t one of them. I am done with this conversation with you and will not converse those bent on deception. I hope that JA will do the same. I will pray for his protection from you.

  24. Countrytime Lemonade says:

    @ Melody –

    You wrote, “you cannot justify one sin with another.” Oh, so you do see all three scenarios as sinning? Well, I appreciate your consistency on that. But then I would like you to extend that consistency to a willingness to declare to all those in your church who are going out to eat at a restaurant on Sunday that unless they stop doing so and change, they are going to hell. Would you do that, please? They need to be warned. Their souls are in danger. I’m only asking for consistency.

    Or please warn every 2nd-marriage people in your church or family or denomination, who had an unbiblical divorce that preceded it, that unless they divorce their 2nd wife and get back together with their first wife (that’s what repentance is, after all, not only acknowledging the wrong but making the necessary changes), that they are headed for eternal destruction. I’m only asking for consistency.

    And perhaps you DO do such a thing. In that sense, I applaud you, Melody, for your willingness to be consistent and principled. Of course, I would hope for the same consistency and principled-thinking and actions by others on this blog message board, too. That’s what happens when faith no longer is that which justifies a person, and sanctification holds no weight.

    In reading many of the reactions to DRT’s and my posts by those on here, I frankly would be embarrassed if I were Kevin DeYoung, that I had attracted such a crowd of blog followers that too often have demonstrated a great lack of grace, kindness, and temperance. Thankfully there have been exceptions to that statement, but sadly they are exceptions.

    I have had the privilege to hear Rev. DeYoung speak on different occasions. However, I do hope for his sake that his church in Lansing is not dominated by voices and temperments such as these that have been found on here as of late. If so, that is a SURE recipe for conflict and burnout for any pastor.

  25. DRT says:

    JA, I am a Trinitarian who believes that god in the old testament is the same as the one in the new. I affirm the creeds, and believe there is a hell, though I wonder how many will actually be there and what it will really be like.

    You say, “I do not believe that one can argue parts and neglect the whole” Actually, that is one of the primary points I am making in my arguments. I firmly believe that our best representation of god is his incarnation on this earth, and that is Jesus. That is the pinnacle of the story. Jesus himself testifies to that.

    But I am not a Calvinist because I think the logical extension of Calvinism makes god the author of evil. I am not interested in debating that, but if you want to see my position I firmly agree with Roger Olson.

    Regardless of that, we would pretty much agree on all issues of doctrine except free will vs. meticulous predestination. And I don’t think that is really relevant here.

    I have extensively studied Calvinism, Roman Catholicism, Arminianism, some of the Eastern Orthodox church, emergent church, and atheism. Have you studied all of those? Do you make your decision of what to believe based solely on what church your family happened to be in, or do you try and understand the various traditions and decide which one makes sense?

    Incidentally, I have also spent many years studying Buddhism, and Jungian psychology.

    After all of that, I affirm Jesus is Lord, and my Lord. Messiah, Amen!

    You see, we don’t have to be afraid of defending god against other ways of thought. God can stand on his own and we can think through all of the implications. Faith is not a matter of believing some off the wall thing because god told you to do that. You should shun things that are irrational. Do you think god is irrational? I don’t. The more I have studied other religions, the bible, and the various traditions within Christianity the more I affirm that the good news really is that God has been faithful to us and has shown us the way, and Jesus is the way.

  26. DRT says:

    Melody, do you fear god? And I am not talking the nuanced bible way of fearing god, I mean are you afraid of god? And if you are, is that why you follow him?

    I am not afraid of god. I feel god is good, and god is love. By getting closer to god I hope that I can be molded to be more like him, more loving, more gracious. I pray to god everyday to take me and mold me to be what he needs me to be.

    I have a very good idea of god’s holiness. But I think you have a bit of a mixed up version of that. You, no doubt, think holiness is something to fear, to get away from.

  27. DRT says:

    Melody also referred to this “you have head knowledge” comment and I would like to share some insight about that.

    Starting about 10 years ago I was going to a new church. Over the years the Pastor would routinely stand up in front of the congregation and say something to the effect of “this is not a head knowledge thing, it is about knowing god in your heart!” To which everyone would aknowledge that they do have a relationship with god in their heart, and then all the people would also think, “I know exactly who Pastor so and so is talking about, it is these people or those people who just have head knowledge. I am so glad the Pastor recognizes that I have heart knowledge”. And, of course, everyone is thinking the same thing about everyone else. The sociopath pastor found a way to get everyone on his side and divide them against each other.

    I admit, I fell for it too. There were groups of people in the Church who are reformed, and it was quite obvious to me that they are approaching this only as head knowledge without internalizing the love of god. Then one day, one of the reformed folks said to me pretty much the same thing you did. He accused me of being the one with head knowledge and I should listen to the Pastor more and get heart knowledge like he has.

    My eyes were opened and I could then see.

    You see, pretty much everyone who professes to be a Christian (deists are the exception) believes that they have heart knowledge of what god is like and of course it is wrong to just have head knowledge. But the issue is not whether someone has head or heart knowledge, the issue is what that knowledge is.

    That is why we are discussing these matters.

    So, Melody, you gave me a pretty good chuckle when you said that because I think the exact same thing about you.

  28. JA says:

    Then it all makes sense DRT. Your friend Roger Olson detests the Young, Restless and Reformed. The Marine Corps always says, bottom line up front. Sandals off, dirt kicked off, done.

  29. DRT says:

    JA, why do you insist on adding insult and emotion to every exchange? Saying RO “detests” is quite strong language and totally inappropriate.

    And I did give you all plenty of fodder to make ridiculous claims, but was hoping that you all would take that as a peace offering to actually engage in the discussion instead of taking pot shots based on quotes out of context.

    So, exactly what does the fact that I agree theologically with RO on a variety of issues have to do with “detesting” YRR or similar? Perhaps you take on the emotion of everyone you agree with, right?

    Is there any chance we can make this an actual rational conversation over time?

  30. Eric Michael Washington says:

    Is this in the appendix of The Good News We Almost Forgot?

  31. Tom Eggebeen says:

    Does it make any difference that the Bible translation (ESV) offered here is defective, driven by ideology rather than translational honesty, or humility? http://koinoniarevolution.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/when-politics-distorts-the-bible/

    Eugene Osterhaven, one of my favorite professors, nevertheless failed to honor the HC with his insertion, going beyond what the HC said. Whatever the HC may have intended, we don’t know, and to aver that such things couldn’t be mentioned in politie company is a piece of sophistry beyond comprehension by anyone who purports to be Reformed, devoted to Scripture and accuracy of translation.

    We can do better, and, please, Robert Gagnon is not a world-leader expert on homosexuality. He’s an ideologue – that’s all!

  32. Tom Eggebeen says:

    I returned to this site again today … occurred to me – Osterhaven (whom I knew rather well), the translator, might better have added, “heterosexual perversion” – e.g. rape, verbal and physical spousal abuse and child molestation, along with the usual suspects of adultery and fornication. Yes, plenty of hetero-perversion, and, yes, homosexuals can be perverse, too … and, like heteros, faithful and loving and kind, and even celibate. It’s not orientation, but behavior, and it seems to me if there’s a group afflicted with lots of bad behavior, and often inflicting that behavior on others, it’s heterosexual males and their victims which are legion, I fear.

  33. Tom Eggebeen says:

    P.S. the PCUSA approved the new Heidelberg translation.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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