I’m Shocked That You’re Shocked

erskine-collegeErskine College is in the news this morning for articulating the biblical and historic Christian position on human sexuality: “We believe the Bible teaches that monogamous marriage between a man and a woman is God’s intended design for humanity and that sexual intimacy has its proper place only within the context of marriage.” Remarkably, there is a media “furor” (when is the media not in a furor anymore?) over it. The Reuters headline declares that Erskine is being “scrutinized” for its “biblical (in scare quotes) stance on homosexuality. Implicitly being scrutinized is a bad thing because it could lead to having the school’s accreditation threatened in the way Gordon College is being threatened by its regional accreditation agency. If school’s lose their regional accreditation their students are no longer eligible for Title IV federally-subsidized student loans. Loss of regional accreditation makes it more difficult for students to apply to graduate school. Loss of regional accreditation may lead to decreased enrollment.

No homosexual students have been asked to leave Erskine College but it has expressed its views and required members of the college to abide by them. How dare a historically Reformed and Presbyterian College re-assert what Scripture says and what Christians have believed for 2,000 years? After all, the culture has shifted dramatically in the last 40 years and every institution and person must now come along obediently.

Scripture Is Clear
There should be little doubt about what Scripture says about homosexuality. There was little question about it until the culture began to shift. When I read the literature in the mid 1980s it was clear that there were two basic approaches: those who were willing to acknowledge what Scripture says and those who sought to find a way to make Scripture say something that was more culturally acceptable. In the intervening years not much has changed. The pace of cultural acceptance of homosexuality increased with the advent of the internet and the urbanization/suburbanization of North America. As people become more disconnected from nature and from the very idea that there is such thing as nature, as social pressure to conform to the majority increases, it will only become more difficult to articulate the biblical view.

As Robert Gagnon, among others, has been demonstrating for years, the case for homosexuality from Scripture is beyond weak. The truth is that 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 condemn the “αρσενοκοιται” (arsenokoitai). The standard definition (Bauer, Arnt, Gingrich, Danker) is “a male who practices homosexuality, pederast, sodomite.” This is the way the word was understood in early Christian, post-canonical usage though it occurs in the same sense in the Sibylline Oracles (6th cent BC) ii.73. See Moulton and Milligan s.v. The biblical teaching on homosexuality is just as clear as its teaching on murder or theft or idolatry. For the moment, murder is still frowned upon so no one is coming under the dreaded “scrutiny” for opposing it. Erskine College is coming under, dun, dun, dun!, scrutiny. In 1 Corinthians 6:9 God says:

Or do you not know that the unjust (αδικοι) will not inherit the kingdom of God? Neither will you who deceive (πλανασθε) nor the sexually immoral (πορνοι) nor idolaters (ειδωλολατραι), nor adulterers (μοιχοι), nor the effeminate (μαλακοι), nor homosexuals (αρσενοκοιται).

Human beings, made in the image of God, who are impenitently unjust, who impenitently deceive, who are impenitently sexually immoral, effeminate, adulterers, or homosexual will not inherit the kingdom of God. God justifies sinners in Christ (Rom 4:5). Justified sinners will continue to struggle with sin but they acknowledge sin for what it is and they do not demand that their sin be accepted by society as normal. Deceiving is not normal and shouldn’t be socially acceptable. In fact it isn’t. Try to deceive a bank into giving you money that isn’t yours and see what happens. When you’re arrested and prosecuted there will be no “scrutiny” or outrage because people don’t want you stealing their money. The newspapers rejoice when a crooked business person or politician is exposed. It gives them something about which to write and it gives pundits an opportunity to posture as moralists. Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 70s, however, our culture has not wanted to hear much about the sin of sexual immorality. The majority decided that sex is a purely private thing—never mind the reality that tax dollars, public funds are given to Planned Parenthood in order to murder the unwanted children produced by ostensibly private sex. Adultery, of course, was normalized during the sexual revolution but still one has the sense that had Erskine College issued a statement rejecting adultery, no one would have cared. No, the mass media, opinion shapers, and the culture gatekeepers have decided that everyone, and they mean everyone is going to conform to the new social dictate: homosexuality is okay and don’t you dare say otherwise.

1 Timothy 1:9–10 is just as clear:

…lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine…. (ESV)

Homosexuality is one several sins Paul lists as examples of those things that are “lawless” (ἀνόμοις) and he basically marches quickly through the Ten Commandments. Each one of these offenses can be tied to a violation of the Decalogue. To be “lawless” is to be disobedient to God’s moral law. Sin is transgression of or want of conformity to the moral law (WSC 14; 1 John 3:4). God’s name is holy and it is not to be profaned (3rd commandment). Striking one’s parents is a violation of the 5th commandment. Murder is a violation of the 6th commandment. Sexual immorality, including homosexuality, is a violation of the 7th commandment. Enslaving, probably man stealing, is a violation of the 8th commandment. Lying and perjury are violations of the 9th commandment. If regional accrediting agencies are going to pressure Christian Colleges to conform to changing social norms on homosexuality (and homosexual marriage) what about lying and plagiarism? Will Christian Colleges face sanctions for enforcing policies against plagiarism? If not, why not? Why isn’t enforcement of policies against plagiarism arbitrary? After all, who is to say whose material it really was originally? Nothing is really original is it? You see how this line of reasoning goes. It is true that homosexuality is just one of the several gross sins listed here but it is one of them. Christians are not entitled to pick and choose from the moral law according to what a given culture demands.

Cultural Pressure
The surrounding culture has shifted, the remaining effects of Christianity on the culture are ebbing and most people don’t want to be at odds with the people in the office, their family, or the social circle. This is why the mainline churches such as the Presbyterian Church USA have abandoned much of historic Christian teaching. They recognized in the early 20th century that the culture was shifting and they shifted to keep up. Ironically, in so doing, they signed their death warrant and now they are losing congregations and members at an unsustainable rate. If the church is only saying that Oprah is saying, why go to church when Oprah says it so much better?

Online peer pressure and shaming has sped up the process. Where once one might have had a face-to-face conversation with a friend or a neighbor wherein one might have said, “Well, I still think that men having sex with other men (sodomy) is not natural and shouldn’t be approved or encouraged” today that sort of comment on Facebook or Twitter may bring a cascade of responses which can be intimidating, especially to those who are not used to public criticism or shaming.

Surely no one was surprised that Rob Bell recently announced that he does not care what Holy Scripture says about homosexuality? After all, he has the approval of Oprah. What more does a fellow need? Is anyone really surprised? Was his theology ever tied to Scripture? Further, the high-profile announcement by this emerging pope that “the church” is “moments away” from changing its view on homosexuality makes it sound as if we are all just neo-Pentecostalists, Romanists, or Mormons, that biblical doctrine shifts with the cultural winds. When the Mormons realized that they could no longer get away with denying the humanity of Africans, their “prophet” received a “revelation.” Before that they did the same  polygamy. Of course both the denial of the humanity of Africans and their affirmation of polygamy were gross errors but this is a religion founded by a con man. Rome gets competing “revelations” from council to council and  papacy to papacy. Vatican I says Modernity is heresy. Vatican II thinks Modernity is wonderful. Vatican II is in, it’s out, and now apparently it’s back in favor. The consequence of all this monkey business is that it creates the impression among the pagans (and even some Christians) that Christian opposition to homosexuality is not grounded in any real principle, that it is purely arbitrary, and that may be changed with sufficient social pressure. Hence the demand from the broader culture to conform to the status quo. They see reluctant Christian institutions such as Erskine as simply behind the times or stubborn. They assume that opposition to homosexuality may be changed through shaming.

Institutions such as Erskine College and Gordon College are merely the vanguard. There will be others. The relentless pressure to conform will not ease. Some, perhaps most, Christians will likely capitulate. What then? Once, like the 2nd-century Gnostics and Marcionites, we’ve excised the offending portions of Scripture to suit our fancy, to get along with the new cultural majority,  how long before they come after the rest of the list?

The Treatise to Diognetus (ch. 5) from the mid-2nd century gives some instruction to those who would continue to adhere to the Christian faith in the face of opposition:

For Christians are not distinguished from the rest of humanity by country, language, or custom. For nowhere do they live in cities of their own, nor do they speak some unusual dialect, nor do they practice an eccentric way of life…For while they live in both Greek and barbarian cities, as each one’s lot was cast, and follow the local customs in dress and food and other aspects of life, at the same time they demonstrate the remarkable and admittedly unusual character of their own citizenship. The live in their own countries but only as nonresidents, they participate in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign country is their fatherland, and every fatherland is foreign. They marry like everyone else, and have children, but they do not expose their offspring. They share their food but not their wives. They are in the flesh, but they do not live according to the flesh. They live on earth but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws; indeed in their private lives they transcend the laws. They love everyone, and by everyone they are persecuted.

We will conform where we may. We will share everything except our wives. There are divinely imposed limits we cannot transgress. The pagan Romans could not understand why we would not say the words, “Caesar is Lord.” They could not understand why we wouldn’t just go through the motions. They did not care what we thought. They only cared about what we said and did. The neo-Pagans don’t care what we think about homosexuality or homosexual marriage but they insist that we cater and perform weddings. The Romans thought we were just being stubborn, that we were “haters of humanity.”  Now, as then, we must fear God more than man and expect opposition. Get used to it. It’s only beginning.

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  1. This has been long in coming. I don’t understand why this is so hard for many to accept and many are surprised. It was a huge compromise for Christian institutions to seek accreditation from the State for a variety of reasons, and now cry foul when the State expects these institutions to play by the new-found rules. Frankly, i’m surprised it has taken this long to begin happening! When you sup with the devil make sure you have a long spoon. Or you don’t sup with the devil. Now guess what will happen? All of those seminary degrees will be deemed worthless as far as graduate credentials go and the various seminaries will have to create their own doctoral programs and/or the European institutions that have traditionally accepted students from the States (Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, St. Andrews and etc.) will have to come to some agreement or those seeking foreign doctoral degrees are going to be out of “luck.”

    • Is it really accreditation from a State? I’m not sure but it seems accreditation is done by non-governmental agencies, and the state (national or local) has some say in the process associated with accreditation. That’s what I came away with when I noticed that Erskine’s accreditation comes from an agency that also deals with schools in Latin America. Perhaps your referring to the different accreditation dealing specifically with theological education?

      I don’t know the history of accreditation all that well, but its development seems benign here in the United States.

      • Alberto,

        Erskine is accredited by the regional accreditation agency (SACS). This is the same sort of body that accredits Gordon and that is reviewing Gordon’s status because of that school’s stance on homosexuality. In 1991 Middle States (another regional accreditation agency) tried to force WTS/P to appoint a female. WTS complained and won but the pressure from accreditors to conform is influential.

        I’ve served as the Academic Dean (1997-2001) and as Accreditation Liaison Officer, so I’ve some direct experience with the agencies. At their best they are only asking schools to fulfill the promises they make to students and to meet certain basic institutional (libraries and facilities) and educational standards. In that respect I’ve defended accreditation. When, however, the accreditors move beyond those duties and begin to impose ideological conformity as a test, they’ve moved beyond their proper function. There is reason to think that the Dept of Education, which recognizes the regional agencies, is pressuring them to pressure schools to conform ideologically.

    • Alberto,
      I don’t think the point is about the accrediting body being, itself, a State entity. The connection to the State is, as Dr. Clark points out, the availabilty of federal loan and grant money to students based on the accreditation status. In this way, the regional accreditation is a proxy for the State in judging the quality and social welfare value of the institution, thereby rationalizing public spending or subsidization. The same reasoning guarantees tax exempt ststus for churches based on their social value. It’s an enticing logic, but, as has been commented, a Faustian bargain. I would only add that no one put a gun to our heads to make these institutions play ball. It was voluntary.

      • Lance & Elyssa,

        The tax-exempt status of churches is one thing and Title IV funds are something else. I’ve argued that churches may well have to give up their tax-exempt status if the choice is between 501c3 status and fidelity to the Scriptures. Some have argued that churches, because they are churches, don’t even need 501c3 status but that is a debated point, the truth or falsity of which one does not want to discover in court or before some agency panel.

        Still, to the degree churches paying taxes constitutes “entanglement” between church and state, it is arguably a problem in light of the 1st Amendment. Should the state really be collecting taxes from congregations? That seems problematic.

        I don’t understand the argument that churches are licensed or subsidized in the current arrangement. Churches certainly are not licensed. If they want to retain their tax-exempt status they are restricted from partisan political speech. That is not exactly the same thing as a license.

        Where did any of the Apostles engage in partisan political speech or political speech of any kind?

        It would help to distinguish between grants and loans. A grant is a gift. A loan is not. To be sure, the loan is made on favorable terms (e.g., deferred interest, lower interest rate) than would be available without federal subsidies, but students do (or should) repay student loans. I think the federal government should get out of the education business altogether and have argued many times in this space that Machen was right to oppose the formation of a Dept of Education. Nothing the Dept of Ed has done since the 1970s has improved my opinion. There’s a case to be made that declining educational performance is at least indirectly tied the Dept of Ed.

        Student loans are necessary. When I went through university costs were proportionally much lower. Tuition was $25 per credit hour when I began in 1979. In today’s dollars, that would be $56.00 per credit. Tuition for this academic year at UNL is $216 per credit for the college of arts & sciences. That’s an increase of over 800% The Dept of Ed has helped those costs to rise. Social & economic pressure to go to college have also helped drive up costs. The market demand remains high for undergraduate degrees. I worked my way through university. I could not have done so without student loans–the interest rate then was much higher than it is today. There are private student loans but they’re much harder to get.

        Were it up to me, the whole system would be re-structured. Arguably there should not be publicly-funded schools but it seems unlikely that system is going to be unplugged anytime soon. Charter schools are a hopeful development, a sort of grass-roots rebellion against the educational status quo.

        As to accreditation, it may be that private, Christian schools will have to opt out of the current system and form their own accreditation agencies but I doubt that we are there yet. This is still the United States. There is still a 1st Amendment and, as citizens, we have the obligation and right to speak up in defense of constitutional liberties.

    • Dr. Clark,

      You brought up an important point: Machen’s opposition to the Department of Education. It seems to me that WTS/WSCAL have parted ways with Machen by participating in federal loans and grants funded by Title IV which is administered by the Department of Education. He at least had a principled objection to federal aid. Oddly enough, schools like the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary are more in line with Machen’s views than WTS/WSCAL (see “Why does SBTS choose not to accept federal aid?” at http://goo.gl/bxXS3x). The federal regulations that are attached to student aid programs are only part of the the price of being on the dole of the state. Schools that participate in Title IV are not innocence bystanders but culprits for the high cost/low quality in education. As long as they receive payment for tuition, room & board, and fees via Title IV loans and grants, they will continue to have incentive to increase their costs. Like the housing bubble, the availability of cheap credit is what drives up the cost of education. Like the housing bubble, the student loan bubble will come crashing down.

      • Tyler,

        When Machen founded WTS he and others supported the entire operation out of their own pockets. The world has changed since then. I realize that other schools do not participate in Title IV. Those institutions are typically rather larger than my school. SBTS is part of a denomination that is no fewer than 6 million members and nominally 16-18 million members. Theologically, it is rather closer to the 60 million American evangelicals than we are, who are serving the tiny NAPARC world. Those realities can’t ignored.

        Schools such as mine may be forced out of Title IV but if that happens it means that freedom of thought/speech has been severely curtailed in the USA. If that happens then we’ll have to find a new way to fund theological education.

        I agree that Title IV has helped to fuel the enormous (800%) rise in tuition at the undergraduate level, which has risen much faster than it has at graduate theological institutions. Most such institutions have a very low overhead. In the case of graduate theological education, students do not have help from parents and thus the cost of education falls on their shoulders. So, whatever we do has to account for the differences between undergraduate education and graduate theological education in the NAPARC world.

        Are you offering to help our development department to raise funds? 🙂

  2. So what would the early church have thought of asking Rome for preaching licences or to subsidize tuition at a Christian college? Keep in mind, only your license issued through the state keeps you from denying homosexual marriage officiation, and only a hand outstretched for subsidies and pagan “clout” has one complaining over accreditation. As Paul sent promotional letters on behalf of Onesimus and Epaphroditus, did he also appeal to Caesar to licence, subsidize, or accredit their training or mission? What has light to do with this darkness, Scott? Providentially, we have been placed in a nation that does NOT compel the Church to collude with the State. What should we mere Plebes think of our leaders who have voluntarily colluded? When 80% of the average church’s budget services real estate purchase, interest, and maintenance, while enjoying tax-exempt status on said holdings, why should we entertain complaints that our young people can’t afford to enroll in a Christian college without federally subsidized loans? Because tuition is prohibitive? If free market forces are in play, doesn’t a customer have some say in cost and valuation of these educational services? Can we not value our institutions apart from the regional accreditation scam? Apparently not, if it’s the federal teet we’re after. So be it then. Let’s not call this voluntary subjugation persecution. In the US, the State didn’t steal the church, her ministers sold her.

    In Christ and Love,

    Lance and Elyssa

    • “What has light to do with this darkness, Scott? Providentially, we have been placed in a nation that does NOT compel the Church to collude with the State. What should we mere Plebes think of our leaders who have voluntarily colluded? When 80% of the average church’s budget services real estate purchase, interest, and maintenance, while enjoying tax-exempt status on said holdings, why should we entertain complaints that our young people can’t afford to enroll in a Christian college without federally subsidized loans?”

      These concerns need further examination. I for one, find it extraordinarily preposterous that students wishing to gain advanced degrees have to go into debt to attend our seminaries. Now the Lutherans, I believe, subsidize their students to avoid this. Correct me if I am wrong. It ought to be scandalous to expect students to pay such fees and then expect them to first get their MDiv and then allow them to get the ThM. I don’t know what else to say so I won’t. Frankly, I think the MDiv program is a waste of time and the whole system should be done away with and perhaps we should start training ministers at the church level or at the very least the Presbytery level. Seriously now how badly damaged will the Reformed churches be if we go rid of the seminary system altogether. The church in China seems none the worse for having a the lack of centralized facilities of graduate studies in theological studies. There will come a time when all bets are off the government goes after the seminaries and the churches and make a “seminary or graduate program” impossible.

      • Richard,

        I’ve heard this plan for years and responded to it repeatedly. E.g. here:


        We tried the presbyterial model in the 19th century and it didn’t work. That’s why Princeton was built. Yes, Princeton didn’t remain orthodox but the principal reason for that was the desire to be part of a “national presbyterian church” i.e., the desire to remain culturally “relevant” and “influential.” There are confessional Reformed seminaries that are willing to be marginalized for the sake of truth and principal. Arguably, Machen’s little experiment lasted longer than old Princeton.

        Students are going into debt because undergraduate institutions have raised tuition 800% since the late 70s. Students come to us broke. That’s not the fault of the seminaries. Listen brother, sem profs have to eat too. Food doesn’t magically fall out of the sky.

        Yes, changes need to be made. Churches could help a lot by supporting students going to seminary, even if those students are not going to serve them directly after seminary. There are inherent problems, however. Many students come to sem as financial free agents. Some of this is because they’re just discovering the Reformation and are in-between evangelicalism and the NAPARC world. Some of this is because the NAPARC world is very small and itself underfunded and probably over-served proportionally by seminaries—there are at least 12 seminaries to serve 500,000 people. Further, most seminaries serving NAPARC don’t have endowments upon endowments as Princeton does. Every day we go to work it’s an act of faith that God will provide for us this semester and this year. So far, for 18 years that I’ve been a sem prof (and for the years before that I was the pastor of a small congregation and then a student), the Lord has provided.

        Finally, and you should appreciate this, the church has NEVER thought that your plan is a good idea. We’ve always thought a formally educated ministry was the way to go, going back to the catechetical schools of the ancient church, the cathedral schools of the early medieval period, and the universities of the High Medieval, Reformation, and post-Reformation (orthodoxy) periods. Most of our Reformed pastors were trained in state-funded and ecclesiastically sanctioned/supervised universities. There were small seminaries/theological colleges but the disestablishment of the church in the new world created new problems. The radical individualism of the new world in the 19th century created new problems. As I mentioned above the crisis of liberalism created new problems. The answer is certainly not going back to a system that was tried and abandoned (ministers training other ministers) for the reasons I explain in the posts above.

        We need more creative answers. Part of it begins with believers and churches learning to value an educated ministry, a counter-cultural value that runs against the grain of the radically egalitarian American culture and spirit since the early 19th century.

  3. Dr. Clark,

    I would disagree with your statement that “The neo-Pagans don’t care what we think about homosexuality or homosexual marriage….” They sure seem to care, so I always try to stay quiet on these matter in public or in private with unbelievers. I guess I shouldn’t feel comfortable around certain Christians either.

    I would also lay the blame at the feet of professing Christians of different types. Those who defend homosexuality in general, and those who say it’s evil (they don’t always seem to make it known) but due to this, that, or the other, homosexual marriage should be legitimized by the state. They add to this when Christians argue that the state should force other Christians to accept a homosexual wedding on their premises, or something similar. Many now get the impression that the rejection of homosexual relationships flows from what is not essentially Christian; since they see some affirm homosexuality in some form, it therefore follows in their mind that a rejection of homosexuality is not an essential part of Christian teaching. Americans put more weight to determine what is Christian by what an individual says, and not their church or denomination.

    • Alberto,

      Let me clarify:

      Those (whoever they are) who insisting on conformity are like the ancient Romans insofar as they don’t care as much about what goes on in our intellect as much as what comes out of our mouths. They are determined to force us to conform to the new norm: marriage is an expression of affection and not a reflection of nature. It’s the fruit of the subjectivism of the age.

      Yes, that Christians are capitulating to the spirit of the age makes the Christian witness to the faith more confusing but it does not make the Scriptures confusing. They are clear. Pagans are still capable of reading texts and even they can tell what Paul says.

    • Those (whoever they are) who insisting on conformity are like the ancient Romans insofar as they don’t care as much about what goes on in our intellect as much as what comes out of our mouths.

      I think rather they are quite cognizant of what Christians think about homosexuality and want to rub their noses in it by forcing us to deny what they know we truly believe. This is after all – Geo. Orwell’s 1984 not with standing – a nation that has federal “hate” crime laws on the books. We are not talking about a pro forma nominal belief in communism that prevailed before the crash of the Sov. Union in 1989, i.e. everybody was one, but they all knew it was bogus and everybody went along with the charade. Rather these folks are true believers.

      They are determined to force us to conform to the new norm: marriage is an expression of affection and not a reflection of nature. It’s the fruit of the subjectivism of the age.

      Agreed, but it is also part and parcel of the triumph of the French Revolution’s understanding of equality, i.e, egalite or equal outcome, rather than the American and constitutional understanding of equality opportunity/equality before the law.
      (So the insidious morphing of genuine civil rights into the egalitarianism of affirmative action, the latter of which MLK affirmed, no?)

      But in that egalitarianism is a revolt against nature, it can’t help but be pro ssm. Everybody is a victim of their environment/misunderstanding and happiness/personal fulfillment is guaranteed by the State, rather than freedom to pursue the same. A free cellphone, education, healthcare and marriage is a “constitutional” right that the State must provide in order that nobody is discriminated against. Ergo homosexuals have a right to get “married”, if not define what kind of marriage it will be. Dabney’s racism aside, once Jacobinism is admitted, feminism – and homosexual rights – are a fait accompli.

    • I would also lay the blame at the feet of professing Christians of different types

      Well, if evangelicals are confused about the creation ordinance entailed in the 4th commandment, maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised with the world which balks at the creation ordinance contained in the 7th.

      IOW no fault divorce is not an argument to add insult to injury and legalize ssm, but the larger Christian church does bear some complicity in the current state of affairs. To whom much is given much is required. And the reformed church? Has she borne witness to the whole counsel of God? Or has she become more evangelical in order to get along?

  4. If the college is reliably providing instruction and assessment, I’m not sure where accreditation comes into question. If Erskine or any other HEI started having different educational standards for students based on (perceived) differences in sexual behaviors or “preferences,” or if the school was arbitrary or capricious in enacting or enforcing rules and standards, then there would be a huge problem and there would be a case for examining and possibly removing accreditation – or for that matter, the approval by the State to operate and offer degrees.

    If a person applies to attend, or work at any HEI, or any business for that matter, he or she should expect to be expected to commit to and abide by certain community standards. Where I attend, there is a (difficult to enforce) “no smoking” rule, as well as rules about academic integrity, and even implicit / explicit expectations about how to dress for work (that vary between the type of work one does). The rules in place where one works and studies will reflect its values and culture, and they should be clear going in – even easy to anticipate based on what kind of institution it is. I am glad that Erskine has openly stated where it stands on this matter. I’m glad that at least some Christian institutions base their rules and standards consistently upon the only infallible rule of faith and practice – the Bible.

  5. Please stop getting divorced. Please throw the adulterers who divorce then remarry other people out of church for their blatantly unrepentant lifestyle choice.

    • Jesus did make provision for divorce in the case of adultery.

      Matthew 19:3-12
      And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
      The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

      Rightly ordered churches do discipline those who divorce without grounds. In other words, they discipline heterosexual sinners.

      • BB,

        1. Note the comment policy re pseudonyms.

        2. Are you omniscient? How could you possibly know that it never happens? Yes, professing Christians are disciplined for divorcing without grounds. Are churches perfectly consistent? No. There are stages to discipline. Reformed congregations do not practice “the ban.” That’s an Anabaptist notion. If someone is involved in sin and is penitent, they confess it and repent of it. The discipline process goes one way. If they are impenitent then it goes another per Matt 18. Even if it goes all the way to excommunication that isn’t expelling someone from the congregation but it does remove them from participating in the Lord’s Table or from being regarded as a member or even as a believer. It’s good if they continue to attend since we want them to hear the law, by which they come to know the greatness of their sin and misery, and the gospel, by which they come to know how to be delivered by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone from judgment.

  6. Excellent case. One perfection that I would humbly offer in regard to the effeminate (μαλακοι). In “After Paul Left Corinth” Bruce Winter makes a compelling argument that the μαλακοι were the “females” in the homosexual act whereas the αρσενοκοιται were the “males”. So that both terms together describe all those involved in the act. In other, your case is even stronger that the Bible condemns those who practice those acts.

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