Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm a political heretic - for a theological reason.

"Trust not in princes, they are but mortal"

Well, I got the e-mail from the LCMS President (whose name I will not publicly misspell this morning) encouraging us pastors to promote amendments which define marriage as between one man and one wife.

Okay - first off. Gay marriage, unions, what have you is wrong. That being said. . . yes, I know we are a democracy, and we ought to vote our conscious as citizens - and that is fine. But will a law or amendment "save marriage"? Will it save the family.

We have this idea that things like this are crumbling from above. . . that it's all these external pressures and that if we elect the right person or pass the right law, things will be better.

So let me ask a theological question. Do people sin because they don't know or don't have good law? Or more specifically - do the folks in our parish, who are taught scripture, fall into sin because of what the government does? No. People sin because people sin - and the Law doesn't solve that.

Or let me organize my (surely unpopular) thoughts in a different way. At Sem we would talk about the hammer of the law - law in preaching which directly applies to the hearer. We would also talk about the "mirror of existence" - the fact that the world is evil and that this makes it harder for Christian. Which one more directly impacts the hearer - the hammer. Primarily I must struggle against my own sin, my own wicked desires.

We spend so much time trying to polish up the mirror of existence that we can end up ignoring preaching the Law in it's firmness to ourselves. If only we pass a law. . . what. . . people will stop being gay. . .and stop you from destroying your family by your sin? Um. . . we have a huge divorce rate. . . would defining marriage fix that? Come to think of it. . . there are laws against adultery - has that gotten under control?

Here is my advice. Vote your conscious. Try to pass good laws. But don't pretend that politics is the epic struggle to save Christianity. We are not American "Evangelicals" - we don't believe that Christians are made by decisions, and certainly not decisions in a booth in November. It's simply laws, they are simply politicians. They come and go - the Word endures.

Remember this, if you become fearful of where the country is headed. The Church survived, even thrived under Nero - if this country falls into a moral morass. . . Built on the Rock, the Church doth Stand!


Rev. Larry Beane said...

Dear Eric:

I agree with you. I think American Lutherans are far too trusting in politicians and parties to do the Lord's work. No matter what the state says, marriage is what it is.

But on the other hand, there is the very real prospect of homosexual "marriage" being normed by statute leading to some consequences like having school children subjected to textbook illustrations of "married" homosexuals, of being forced to use the term "married" to describe this estate in classroom discussions and the like - which will even be the case for very young children (even pre-kindergarten). If "gay marriage" becomes the law of the land, we will have no leg to stand on to complain when Little Bobby's kindergarten teacher introduces his "husband" to the class and gives him a big old kiss on the mouth.

There is also the looming specter of political pressure for churches to "marry" homosexuals (which is happening in Scandinavia). I foresee the LCMS losing its tax exempt status down the road for refusing to "marry" homosexual couples - unless we voluntarily capitulate the issue ourselves in order to be hip, cool, and emergent.

We may even run into discrimination lawsuits if our Christians schools refuse to hire homosexuals, or having hired them unawares, express any discomfort at the faculty Christmas party when our new teacher, Miss Jones, shows up with her fiancee, who is another woman.

So, while I don't think it's the end of the world if homosexual "marriage" gets state recognition, I do see it confusing the definition of marriage for our children, and giving Christian parents just one more obstacle to teaching their children what is right and wrong, and potential legal problems for churches in upholding scripture.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Could things get ugly. Yes. But, if the schools end up persisting in teaching falsehood we will just have to either be expressly clear at home, or support private schools/home schooling and quit living off of the government teat.

And as for the rest - if we lose our tax exempt status. . . yes, that would stink, but so be it. We can put our money where our mouth is.

A storm may come -- but if the storm comes, it comes. God will still be God, and Christ will have still died for us - Lord have mercy!