[*] Sic Semper Jus Divinum

This is a carry-over from the meta at Steve Hays' blog:

Coupla notes:

- If I have ever implied that JD has a bad relationship with the Gospel in the general sense (that is, that he's disconnected from the Gospel at the aggregate level, that he does not have faith), then my words were chosen poorly because I do not believe that is the case. However, it is important to understand that someone can have good faith and do bad things which do not promote the Gospel. When I asked "what is our relationship to the Gospel ..." I was asking about the relationship of a specific act to the Gospel message (as demonstrated by the example as I spelled it out), I was saying that DOMA does not take a right view of the Gospel and therefore makes a mess of defining marriage.

- I drew my text from DOMA, which is actually the law, not FMA, which is not actually the law. DOMA was the law as it was passed in 1996 in the earliest round of this broo-ha-ha, and it was seen as a big victory by the ECBs. It is also the basis for further lobbying on their part at the state level. DO you think DOMA did anything to actually defend the Christian view of marriage? Is it the defintion you would use or defend?

- Given the text you cite, and your confession that this amendment only recognizes marriage as a legal status, how can it be seen as a victory for the Christian view of marriage? Do you think this is the definition of marriage that people ought to abide by? If it is, you are going to find that you have just handed the keys to the car to homosexual lobby -- because there is no legal basis for restricting this legal status to just one man and one woman.

"Oh Cent," you say, "you're so stupid. This is a constitutional amendment. The courts can't tamper with it once it's adopted." No, they can not -- but the question this amendment completely begs is "what other kinds of unions are there besides marriage that states can adopt?" If this amendment is made part of the Constitution, other kinds of unions are right around the corner -- not by slipper slope reasoning, but by the fact that this amendment does not forbid making other kinds of unions like marriage: it only forbids "construing" (which is to say, interpreting or assuming in the legal sense) that other kinds of unions are like marriage.

- What inevitably happens in this discussion, JD, is that you start sticking words into my mouth. For example, when you change my statement My gripe is that the Gospel is not in their legislation at all into Hello?! What, now the law *is* the gospel? This is ridiculous, you have changed what I have said into something you are more comfortable arguing against.

All men make laws. Romans 2 says that when those without the Law demonstrate that they know something about the Law (by conscience or by moral duties), they remove the excuse that they didn't know any better. So when men (generic) make laws, they demonstrate that they have some awareness of God's decrees.

If all me make laws, what kind of laws should disciples of Christ make? For example, should we make laws about murder which plead about fairness or citizenship as the basis for the right of a person not to be killed in the street? Or should the disciple of Christ say, "All men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among them being life"? Ceratinly that is not how any law against murder is written in our country, but it is certainly how all laws against murder are framed in this country because this presupposition was in the basis of the Declaration of Independence.

"Cent, you nitwit," you may respond, "if the Declaration frames the murder laws, why not just admit it frames the marriage laws as well?" Because, in fact, it does not frame marriage at all. It advances broad general principles which do not cover all moral reasoning. It is the responsibility of the Christian political activist to advance the Gospel by making sure that moral precepts are demonstrated in the law from the right metaphysical and epistemological foundation.

In that way, your criticism of my statements simply overlooks the fact that just saying "murder is illegal" is not even remotely a Christian view of things -- and I can prove this by pointing you at the current rush to (again) outlaw the death penalty. If murder law was based on Biblical principles, the right of Government to execute the murderer would be unquestionable -- and would not be equated with murder but with justice. But our penal codes don't even come close to making that kind of distinction, and in that they fail to uphold the right (yes, it is a right) of the government to punish the evildoer.

So when you object to me for trying to equate the Gospel and the civil law (which I do not do), think about the impact having the actual Gospel -- that is, all of God's truth -- as the basis for the things that are and are not illegal (which is what I have been saying over and over and oner ...). The law with the Gospel in it is radically different than the law which does not intersect with the Gospel.

- When you confuse my assertion that the current acts which forbid Gay marriage are merely a club with which to beat Gays off of "marriage" with what Rome was doing, you are making an error of type -- by ignoring who you are defending and why. No one is denying that Paul affirmed that Roman authorities bore the ministry of the sword. The question is, "should Christians implementing laws make judgments by the standards and implement the same kinds of political reasoning as pagan Romans?"

The answer has to be "no". If our political philosophy -- which includes why things ought to be illegal, what the consequences of illegal behavior ought to be, and in what social realm behaviors ought to be defined and dealt with -- is no better than Roman Senators and Caesars, then you have won your argument and lost the point.

I am not calling for or advocating an abandonment of law: I am calling for a view of civil law which places the Gospel first. In that, an ECB ought to have more concern that the civil law is based on God's principles than some person who thinks he is a god who lives in Rome. If the ECBs are the same kind of people that the Roman rulers were, then they should just make laws like the Romans did: for pragmatic reasons as they saw fit, and through the guidance of general revelation rather than Scripture. But if the ECBs are not the same kind of people that the Roman rulers were, then they have something else they have to do besides lobby for pragmatic legal language.

- The definition of marriage is most certainly a function of the Gospel, if you read Eph 5. Marriage is not just about created function but about God's revelation of the Gospel in the roles man and woman have toward each other. If you were reading everything I have typed and not just snatching sentences out of context to score points, you would undoubtedly have seen me make this statement before.

- Last and not least: I have made an effort to avoid zinging you as we have discussed this because I consider you a smart person and a brother in Christ. However, if you're more interested in a street fight, I'm not interested. The reason for me "ignoring you" is that you fly off the handle -- I have the good taste to step back and cool off rather than to tell you, "it's ashame that you don't know the difference between the actual law and proposed constitutional amendment -- maybe if you brushed up on your current events you'd be someone worth discussing this with" or "Your Bible may end in Genesis, but the Bible the ECBs carry does not, and they (and you) might find Eph 5 useful in determining what God's plan for marriage is all about".

If you are interested in this being an exchange of ideas, I'm in -- and will do my best to keep up with you. If you are interested, however, in a flame war, you can look someplace else.