Monday, February 27, 2012

Meyers Park Baptist Church – Exemplar of Apostasy

I do not use apostasy casually. The word is a sober one, demanding only the most serious treatment. One should only use the word with the greatest care and always in an atmosphere of humility. After all, we are all sinners saved by grace. We all have a sinful bend and a heart unworthy of even our own trust. Apostasy comes about in a variety of ways. Sometimes people defect from the faith quickly. In first century Christianity, we find that some men in Galatia quickly defected from the true gospel. The apostle Paul was thaumazo, amazed at these men’s behavior. This word amazed means that Paul was exceptionally disturbed by the fact that these Galatian men had actually adopted a works-based system after having received the gospel of grace. Paul was marveled, or beside himself over this behavior. Hence, it follows that apostasy indeed occurs and that our response to it should be amazement. It equally follows that we do not have the luxury of sitting back on our backside and do nothing about it. This blog is not intended to be mean or nasty toward Meyers Park Baptist Church. On the contrary it is to provide you with one more example of why gay marriage will eventually be a reality and how to respond to those who take up the initiative’s cause.

Reverend H. Stephen Shoemaker serves as Senior Minister at Meyers Park Baptist. On Feb. 25th Meyers Park Baptist, under the leadership of Rev. Shoemaker held a rally opposing the NC initiative to outline the legal definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. I should mention that there was a huge crowd of 100 people. Since this number was reported by the media, we can probably assume that it is inflated. Rev. Shoemaker, in an attempt to warn every one that passing this law is equivalent of America becoming a theocracy, said that we should be disturbed by the religious majority forcing their interpretation of Scripture upon others by inserting their views into the civil codes. That being said, here is the premise that must obtain in order for Rev. Shoemaker’s argument to be sound. When the civil codes use interpretations of Scripture to shape and form their laws, this translates into theocratic rule. How do we answer Rev. Shoemaker’s argument?

In order to help you understand how liberals operate, I will state it two ways, both of which are accurate representations of the very same assertion. “We should be disturbed when the religious majority imposes their interpretations of Scripture on society by inserting them into the civil code.” That sounds oppressive, doesn’t it? It is probably intended to sound that way. Now, let frame it a bit differently. No one has ever accused liberals of playing fair. Try this construction on for size: “In order to avoid becoming a theocracy, law codes should not have any basis in the interpretation of Scripture.” Now that we have boiled this down to the sine qua non, we can respond to Rev. Shoemaker’s argument.

My response: Rev. Shoemaker, aren’t you relying on your own interpretation of Scripture in order to contend that it is unfair and unjust to forbid gay marriage? In addition, aren’t you trying to change the civil law code based on your own religious group’s interpretation of Scripture or God? Doesn’t this mean that you are just as guilty of creating a theocratic state as those you are warning others about? At this point Rev. Shoemaker should realize that his view is self-referentially defeating. He is guilty of the very thing he told the news media he worries about in others. Namely, he is imposing his own understanding and interpretation of Scripture and of God on the rest of the culture. The truth is that Rev. Shoemaker does not have a problem with a theocracy. He has a problem with a certain type of theocracy. He doesn’t want the conservative theocracy.

The fact is that all law code involves one’s interpretation of Scripture or God in one way or another. That is to say, there is no such thing as neutrality. Rev. Shoemaker should know better. Where does the law prohibiting polygamy find its basis? The whole idea of law finds it basis in God. God comes to us via revelation. Someone must interpret that revelation. In essence, what Rev. Shoemaker advocates is literally impossible. Without God’s revelation, there is no basis for civil law.

Rev. Shoemaker’s idea that outlawing gay marriage is religious oppression fails entirely as mentioned above. We could say that at best, Rev. Shoemaker merely wishes to exchange one type of oppression for another given his argument. Second, I have shown that it is literally impossible to achieve neutrality when forming civil codes because at their foundation, they betray some view of God and Scripture unavoidably. Why this view versus that view? Neutrality is a myth. Finally, every law code actually has their basis in God’s law. Without God’s law there is no basis for justice. The idea of justice is unsupportable unless God truly exists and unless He has revealed something of His nature to humanity.

This brings us to the question of God’s view of gay marriage. Scripture expressly condemns the homosexual choice along with all homosexual behavior beginning with the history of Sodom and Gomorrah. Romans 1 refers to homosexual behavior is impure and dishonorable and categorizes it as punishment from God upon those who refuse to honor God rightly. Again in 1 Cor. 6:9 Paul tells us that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God and places them in the same category as deceivers, fornicators, idolatry, drunks, and swindlers. Clearly one must have a totally unorthodox view of Scripture not to mention a radically postmodern approach to hermeneutics in order to arrive at any view other than the Bible’s outright condemnation of homosexuality. However, that is another subject for another time.

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