R. Scott Clark Opposes Homosexual Marriage

Homosexual MarriageThere was a time when I would not have posted this. There was a time when I would have assumed that people can easily search the Heidelblog to find out what I’ve actually written. Now, however, I have the impression that, for whatever reason, it’s no longer safe to assume that readers will conduct such searches or “consider the source,” as we used to say, when public claims are made about one. Now, I fear, readers will see a claim online and give it undeserved credibility  merely because it’s online and is not directly refuted. It’s not that it is difficult to find out what I have written on this subject but apparently it’s too difficult for at least one person, who ironically thinks he knows  what God knows (which would include the proposition “R. Scott Clark is opposed to homosexual marriage”) the way God knows it but apparently he doesn’t know how to search the archives of the HB. Funny thing that. One would think that intersection between the divine and human intellects would cover basic internet searches but I guess not.

So, as a service to any who might be confused: R. Scott Clark is opposed to homosexual marriage. He has indicated this fact many times in this space. There is even a category of posts on this topic which a reasonable Christian might have searched.

On January 10th of this year I wrote:

To my mind the best argument in the civil sphere against homosexual marriage is from God’s revelation of his law in nature. I’ve tried to sketch a case here and here. One of the arguments against homosexual marriage is that the same rationale can and will be used to justify even more aberrant behavior, social patterns and arrangements. If marriage is no longer defined by nature (at least potential procreation) but by consent, affection, and desire then the terms of marriage are malleable. One must simply show that consent and affection exists and the parties to the proposed union are irrelevant. The real argument concerns the legitimacy the relationship. Once that is conceded marriage will inevitably follow as society solemnizes what already exists.

In 2008 I wrote a lengthy piece, in this space, criticizing and rejecting homosexual marriage and there have been, as can be seen several other supporting posts arguing the same case from various angles.

No, I’m going to link to the person who made the allegation. He knows who he is and he reads the HB.

I certainly don’t know what God knows, the way he knows it. I’m a mere creature, a fallen image bearer being restored gradually by free grace but I do know what God’s Word says about about truth-telling and I know what the Reformed churches confess about the same:

112. What does the ninth Commandment require.

That I bear false witness against no one, wrest no one’s words, be no backbiter or slanderer, join in condemning no one unheard or rashly; but that on pain of God’s heavy wrath, I avoid all lying and deceit as the very works of the devil; and that in matters of judgment and justice and in all other affairs I love, speak honestly and confess the truth; also in so far as I can defend and promote my neighbor’s good name.

From the Westminster Larger Catechism:

Q. 144. What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?

A. The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.

 

Q. 145. What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbors, as well as our own, especially in public judicature; giving false evidence, suborning false witnesses, wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, outfacing and overbearing the truth; passing unjust sentence, calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the wicked; forgery, concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others; speaking the truth unseasonably, or maliciously to a wrong end, or perverting it to a wrong meaning, or in doubtful or equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of the truth or justice; speaking untruth, lying, slandering, backbiting, detracting, talebearing, whispering, scoffing, reviling, rash, harsh, and partial censuring; misconstructing intentions, words, and actions; flattering, vainglorious boasting, thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others; denying the gifts and graces of God; aggravating smaller faults; hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession; unnecessary discovering of infirmities; raising false rumors, receiving and countenancing evil reports, and stopping our ears against just defense; evil suspicion; envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any; endeavoring or desiring to impair it, rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy; scornful contempt, fond admiration; breach of lawful promises; neglecting such things as are of good report, and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering what we can in others, such things as procure an ill name.

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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15 comments

  1. Not enough – clearly you don’t hate gays enough. Amp up the rhetoric and they might believe you. And don’t ever support any notion that gays should have any rights in the civil realm.

    Ironic that self-righteous politically immersed Christians are so tone deaf to what it means to slander. I also wonder what they would do if they didn’t have so many issues and classes of people to be against.

  2. I found the blog comment to which you’re responding, which I won’t link to either.

    I responded over there saying that I believe you have been clear about your belief that a Two Kingdoms argument can be made against civil governments allowing homosexual marriage. You have been clear in your views against homosexual marriage, clear in ways I wish other Two Kingdoms people were. Maybe the person attacking you will listen to me when he won’t listen to Two Kingdoms people defending you.

    I think it’s obvious that a “natural law” argument can be made against homosexual marriage. I don’t happen to think that argument is sufficient in our current political environment, and I believe it will fail. But that doesn’t mean people who make that argument should be accused of believing the opposite position of what they say they believe.

  3. DTM: “I think it’s obvious that a “natural law” argument can be made against homosexual marriage. I don’t happen to think that argument is sufficient in our current political environment, and I believe it will fail. ”

    Does that mean an argument consisting of scriptures or their paraphrase IS sufficient to win the day? The brief submitted to the SCOTUS in support of Prop 8 has a pretty good natural law argument: http://presbyterianblues.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/prop-8-brief-and-its-natural-law-argument-with-a-cameo-from-the-president/

  4. @ Mikelmann — I don’t always succeed, but I do try to choose my words carefully.

    When I wrote that “I don’t happen to think that argument is sufficient in our current political environment, and I believe it will fail,” I meant to say that this is a battle not primarily for the courts but rather for the ballot box.

    I do not believe this is a battle that will be won or lost judicially. It will be won or lost politically. If most Americans believe homosexuality is wrong, for whatever reason, the Supreme Court will have great trouble being able to make a radical revisiting of centuries of marriage law work. On the other hand, if the political and cultural consensus changes, “wax nose” constitutional scholars will find ways to do with homosexual marriage what they did decades ago with abortion, and did more recently with anti-sodomy criminal laws.

    I’m not saying natural law arguments are useless. In a secular court setting they may be quite useful, especially in some of our more radical federal circuits.

    What I’m saying is that in the long run, this battle won’t be won with natural law arguments because the average American thinks in terms of right or wrong, moral or immoral, good or bad, etc., and arguments which may appeal to legally-trained judges won’t work with the average voter.

    The average American voter needs to be convinced that keeping two men or two women from marrying each other is the right thing to do, and while it may “discriminate,” the discrimination is entirely appropriate because the behavior being discriminated against is positively evil, on top of being disgusting and unhealthy, and is associated with remarkably high rates of promiscuity and pedophilia.

    Arguments like “them parts don’t fit,” “those guys hate God or twist His Word,” and “they have big medical bills for fixing their bottoms” work better with “Joe Six Pack” than a carefully reasoned legal argument.

  5. DTM,we’ll have to see whether this is going to be a matter for the courts or the people (the legislatures). If Prop 8 fails at the SCOTUS that will be a strong – possibly conclusive – signal that it will be a matter for the courts. If Prop 8 is upheld there is at least some decision-making left to popular vote. As a matter of constitutional philosophy I think it ought to be given to the people.

    FYI, in Iowa this determination has already been made – the Court has settled the matter in favor of gay mariage.

  6. We’ll see what happens.

    Even if SCOTUS goes the wrong way, which President Obama’s re-election made more likely, I think the abortion precedent shows the power of angry voters to make it very difficult to make a court decision work when lots of people really object to it.

    Personally I think Northwest Iowa, Pella, and lots of other conservative parts of the state ought to consider a “secede from Des Moines” plan. (I don’t mean literally, of course; geography makes that unreasonable.) Iowa is generally a conservative and traditional state; the state court decision on homosexuality was, at best, an outlier among rural Midwestern states. It takes longer to get rid of bad judges than to get rid of bad legislators, and there are good reasons for that, but it’s awfully frustrating to see black-robed judges ignore the will of the people on highly controversial matters when the law is not clear.

  7. DTM, I don’t even know what to say about your thought that the popular will has somehow made it hard for abortion rights to “work.” It seems to me that abortions have been quite available. I do think that Roe v. Wade damaged the institution of the court, and upholding Prop 8 will tend to undo or at least not exacerbate that damage.

    We’re both reading the tea leaves to some degree, so I’ll just have to say I read them differently. I think the momentum of the popular will is towards approval of something, be it gay marriage or gay civil unions. Probably not in the Southeast. Talk to a few twenty- somethings about the topic – George Will might be right that opposition is literally dieing. Iowa just had a chance to remove one of the judges who voted for gay marriage but decided to retain him.

    • I do agree that America is an increasingly polarized nation. But as far as abortion is concerned, I’d point to a recent Time Magazine article in which pro-choice people are worried that abortion is less available now than at any time since 1973, and worry that the American mindset has changed on whether “fetuses” are human. Sometimes it’s easy to say, “Woe is me” and not realize the other side of the fence may feel the momentum is on our side rather than their side.

      Of course, since we are not charismatic we cannot claim predictive powers to discern the future. My guess is that we’re going to be seeing some major cultural shifts over the next two generations, some of which will be due to increasingly radical individualism and some of which will be due to immigration and demographic changes.

      I’m not one of the people who thinks immigration is a bad thing. Maybe it’s because my ancestors were attacked by American nativists in the 1800s who hated their “foreign values” — values which modern Italian politicians like Rick Santorum were quite successful at convincing Iowans and other midwestern and southern evangelical Protestants were quite compatible with, rather than contrary to, American’s Judeo-Christian heritage. Or maybe it’s just because I see liberal white people aborting themselves out of existence while culturally conservative immigrants are flooding into America and having larger-than-average families.

      Time will tell America’s future. I’m seriously worried but not despondent. As a Calvinist, I don’t think God wants me cursing the darkness, but rather trusting that He rules and overrules the evil plans of wicked men.

      After all, God is in charge, not us, and we need to be grateful for that.

  8. Just the fact that the words gay marriage is being used in this thread shows how much the devil has defiled this culture.

  9. David, do you mean to suggest that when those words weren’t common place “the culture” (i.e. the human condition) was less defiled? That would be a strange view of redemptive history, given the fact that the human condition has been just as defiled as it was the day it was sent packing east of Eden.

  10. Zrim

    There are surely levels of defilement. It was Israel’s pervasive fall into gross sin that brought about the exile. The iniquity of the Amorites had to reach its zenith before judgement fell. God’s ‘giving up’ is a giving over to greater sin. Depravity is capable of degrees.

    Ezek 8:6 (ESV)
    And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel are committing here, to drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see still greater abominations.”

  11. John, my point wasn’t that there aren’t gradations in how defilement may be manifest. It was that what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again, there is nothing new under the sun. I wonder how well that is grasped by those who suggest the world is spiraling into hell because of what they read in the headlines or what particular words have entered the collective vocabulary. I also wonder about the suggestion that the devil is behind it all when when man is the prime culprit, at least in the Calvinist scheme.

  12. The devil is behind it when it involves a spirit of collective deception and temptation. Willing fallen nature is a given.

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