Okay, I will acknowledge that the title of this blog is too long and will be critiqued as provocative. But, more to the point, I am convinced it is true and if anything, understated in its content. Let’s begin with two things; the essence of the recent New Jersey Law and Gov. Christie’s statement upon signing, endorsing and promoting it, followed by an observation.
1. The law prohibits any and all efforts at heterosexual behavioral transformation for self-identified homosexuals, bisexuals and transgendered minors or in other words attempts at changing professed sexual orientation by professional counsellors is now illegal.
2. Recognizing the obvious, that this state law is ultimately an aggressive invasion of parental rights, church sovereignty and religious liberty, Gov. Christie responded by first pontificating as true, the popular but non-scientific and anti-Biblical mantra, that homosexuality is a sexual practice genetically determined. After propounding the mythological “born that way” talking point designed to culturally normalize homosexual behavior, he simultaneously acknowledged that both he and the law were in conflict with the doctrinal position of his church (Roman Catholic) as to the sinfulness of homosexual practice. To remedy this problem he then proclaimed that in effect God has lied in both His Word and through His church as he assured his constituents that “homosexuality is not a sin.”
While acknowledging the difficulties of faithfully, compassionately and graciously ministering the Gospel to those entangled in sexual addictions and the challenge of addressing the culturally promoted and encouraged confusion about sexual orientation, the ramifications and implications of this latest expansion of government intrusion into the sanctity of the family, the sovereignty of the Church and an all-out and anti-constitutional assault upon the First Amendment must be considered. Beyond that, what does the Christian and the church do in addition to prayer to rightly respond to this intrusion? This challenge is compounded in that such initiatives have been defended by the arrogant and unconscionable blasphemy of a state legislature and a state Governor declaring the consistent doctrine of sexuality as good and right only within the context of a monogamous heterosexual marital relationship and sexuality practiced outside of such a relationship as sinful and destructive is now pronounced as at best, an error and in reality, a lie. This position is found in all of the major religions in the world. In other words the position on sexuality demonstrably foundational to society, consistently taught in God’s Word and even affirmed beyond Christianity in the major religions of the world has now been exposed as a multi-century blunder of bigotry, according to the Governor of the State of New Jersey.
Therefore, if a New Jersey parent is confronted by the ever increasingly culturally encouraged and predictable adolescent enhanced sexual confusion of their child they may do a number of things but there are some specific things they might have done in the past that they now can no longer do in the present. They will not be able to tell their child that homosexuality is wrong and sinful since such statements will inevitably be considered a charge of child abuse. This also means they cannot tell them, from God’s Word, that homosexuality is a sin and seek Gospel transformational therapy. That of course means they cannot, in the context of addressing the issue, share the Gospel of saving grace which promises to all who believe and repent both the blessing of forgiveness of sin as well as the transforming power of God’s grace bringing victory over the practice of sin. This comprehensive Gospel promise includes sexual sins, whether mono-sexual, heterosexual, homosexual or poly-sexual. Both of the above mentioned Gospel promises of pardon and transformation in God’s Word are repeatedly offered and affirmed. Here is just one instance.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
I. Corinthians 6:9ff
Note clearly, along with eight other representative lifestyle sins, homosexuality is declared as an act of transgressing the Law of God or in a word – sin. The Bible also warns that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). But also note that God has loved sinners to provide a way of salvation from both the guilt and practice of sin. In other words, the One who cannot embrace sin has embraced sinners by sending His Son to the Cross to die for our sins (including sexual sins) so that we can be forgiven – “but you were washed you were SANCTIFIED, you were JUSTIFIED in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And amazingly, this same God of grace and glory also sends the Holy Spirit to sinners so they are not only delivered from the penalty and position of sin by redeeming grace but also delivered from the power and practice of sin by transforming grace – “such WERE some of you.”
New Jersey, in opposition, has now declared acceptable what God has declared unacceptable. They, the State and Governor Christie, have pronounced God a liar, the Word of God errant, deceptive and destructive and the church complicit. Furthermore, Jesus dying for the sin of homosexuality and homosexuals (in fact for all the sins of all of His people) is at best an act of Divine ignorance and the promise of transformation and liberation from sexual addictions not only false but an evil delusion. And if parents announce such Biblical truths they are soon likely to be found culpable for discrimination, hate speech, etc.
What are the ramifications? The sanctity of the family and the sovereignty of the church have simultaneously been violated. In addition, the First Amendment, guaranteeing to individuals, families and the church “the free exercise of religion,” has been trampled by a blasphemous defaming of God and His Word through the religion of State-ism and its secular, politically correct morality, enforced by the ever increasing, invasive, powerful and arrogant expansion of the State.
So, what will churches and, even more pointedly, preachers of the Word of God in New Jersey now do? And what do we do as it inevitably spreads to other states with the predictable threats and charges of hate speech and criminality to those who affirm heterosexual, monogamous marriage as the singular sphere of virtuous sexuality? What will they/we do when teaching Gospel-blessed Biblical sexuality to our parishioners in general and our covenant children in particular results in being our being “dragged to the court?” What will they/we do with our Christian Counseling ministries? As of now in New Jersey if you, from the pulpit, in discipleship or a Counseling Center identify homosexuality a sin and offer forgiveness and transforming discipleship to teenagers you can and likely will be prosecuted. So will you/we compromise by “adjusted teaching” thus denying the authority of Christ, His Word and the Gospel or will you/we succumb to the less obvious sin of a strategic but guilty silence. Satan has brought the battle to us as he has done, buttressed by the power of the State, for 2,000 years. We, in the west have, in God’s kind Providence, been living in a cultural bubble that, without a Gospel Awakening, is about to burst. Our forbearers met the test of Rome with the courage and humility of grace. They refused to compromise and instead proclaimed “the whole counsel of God.” Even upon the penalty of death they would not say “Caesar is lord.” On the contrary, they established the earliest confession of the church and the Christian by proclaiming “Jesus is Lord.”
So now the question has been put to us. Is New Jersey lord? Is Gov. Christie lord? Since a state legislature and Governor (please note the one Democratic-controlled and the other Republican- an arena for bi-partisanship has finally been found) have now, with unadorned blasphemy and the unconstitutional dismissal of the First Amendment and therefore, the “free exercise of religion,” declared themselves as the definers of sin and righteousness in opposition to God and His Word – not to mention the givers of a new law above the Law of the nation, i.e. the Constitution. We now must decide as those who have gone before us did…is Jesus Lord or is the State lord?
To unashamedly paraphrase Martin Luther – wherever Satan brings the battle to bear upon the Church if we do not meet it with a courageous humility of grace and truth, everything else we do is in reality cowardice.