“A Letter to Advocates of Sodomy”

November 9th, 2012 Post by

Dear fellow citizen who promotes same-sex marriage,

I don’t expect to convince you of anything, since you do not see purpose or order in nature, and whenever it will be pointed out to you, you will deny this order because of anomalies or because you find it incredible that nature could refuse her blessings to extra-marital or perverted sex.

When I point out that marriage is for children, you will point out that some marriages don’t have children.  When I point out that nature obviously did not intend the acts of homosexuality, you will point to the anomalous behavior of animals to justify the behavior of human beings.

In doing this you worship a false god, whom some in yesteryears have called Chaos. This god allows the children of men to do with their bodies whatever they please as long as they assert that it makes them happy and does not immediately harm anyone. Some call this god Venus or Inanna or Ishtar or Astarte. Most don’t realize they are singing this god’s praises, but they’ve been writing some pretty popular hymns to him lately.

Professing to be wise so many have become fools, because they can’t see what every civilization since the dawn of man has seen, namely that, yes, sexual relations outside of marriage are contrary to nature, harm individuals, families, cities and countries, and when people choose to fulfill their desires solely for their own benefit and not to follow the course of nature in having children and raising them up, civilizations are destroyed beneath the selfish motives that drive men to use people sexually without understanding the purpose in it all, just as gluttons kill themselves by eating even though it should do the opposite, and sluggards become more lazy through sleep, even though it should revive them.

Homosexuality is the pinnacle of sexual depravity.  First there is sex for the purpose only of pleasure, and not for the sake of raising a family and serving one’s spouse.  From this grows the unwillingness on the part of fornicators to be the hypocrite in condemning others for deviating from nature’s purpose in sex.  This unwillingness to condemn what is wrong then is defended more and more until it becomes branded as a virtue, since it is defending people from the judgments of others.  Whatever then opposes this virtue becomes immoral and wrong.  That is the doctrinal development of this god and his dogma.

So, I will wait to see what your god will give to our civilization. He sure is a nice god, letting people do stuff that nature could never have intended. A god who exalts himself above the purpose of nature! Now THAT’s a powerful god. I wonderful if he’ll save us from AIDS, genital warts, infanticide, divorce, herpes, broken homes, and all the other things the behavior he condones increases.

Just so that you can understand my position well enough, I will not dissemble to gain your respect, since I don’t desire the respect of one who defends the perversion of nature. I do not respect the belief that homosexuality is beneficial to mankind. It is a foolish and harmful belief, just as teaching the normalcy of extra-marital sex is disrespectful to all that is good and true in society. Those who hold to this belief are now calling me and others bigoted and unreasonable for opposing what even the Greeks and Romans who practiced something similar were at least a little ashamed of.

History, reason, nature, and every decent philosopher from the beginning of time agree with me. The democracy of the dead votes me in and casts you out, no matter how loudly the crowds cry out for condemnation of those who would dare oppose their depravity.

Sincerely,
Mr. Mark Preus






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  1. Noreen Linke
    November 15th, 2012 at 18:53 | #1

    @Mark #48

    Mark, I think this has all been very plainly presented already, you just don’t have ears to hear. Please, I beg of you, for the sake of your soul, repent of it all. Believe the plain words of Scripture. Ask and trust our Lord to give you the will and the strength to refrain from indulging your sinful inclinations. May our Lord open your eyes and your ears to His Truth, and may He deliver you from the lies of the Evil One.

  2. Jim Hamilton
    November 15th, 2012 at 19:08 | #2

    @Mark #48

    “am I guilty of believing, in other words, that God can be too gracious?”

    You’re guilty of believing that God excuses your sin simply because you have. You’re guilty of believing that grace is a license to engage in willful sin.

    And I might add, perhaps to bluntly, two or more members of the same gender can’t be “married.” This is just pure fantasy. I understand that you believe that what you’re doing is right. I understand that you’ve remade the true God into one that supports your sinful behavior. But you’re in great danger, sir.

  3. jb
    November 15th, 2012 at 19:15 | #3

    When a theologian is asked to yield and make concessions in order that peace may at last be established in the Church, but refuses to do so even in a single point of doctrine, such an action looks to human reason like intolerable stubbornness, yea, like downright malice. That is the reason why such theologians are loved and praised by so few men during their lifetime. Most men rather revile them as disturbers of the peace, yea, as destroyers of the kingdom of God. They are regarded as men worthy of contempt. But in the end it becomes manifest that this very determined, inexorable tenacity in clinging to the pure teaching of the divine Word by no means tears down the Church; on the contrary, it is just this which, in the midst of greatest dissension, builds up the Church and ultimately brings about genuine peace.

    C. F. W. Walther

  4. Karl Pierson
    November 15th, 2012 at 19:16 | #4

    @Rev. Paul T. McCain #8
    Mr. McCain, I don’t know how to say this, so I’m just going to say it … I hope that’s okay … The Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin. Now, I don’t know how to ask this, so I’m just going to ask it … I hope that’s okay … How would you explain to Mark (the homosexual, not the pastor) that homosexuality is a sin? Thanks.

  5. Jim Hamilton
    November 15th, 2012 at 21:20 | #5

    I just want to make something clear. I don’t believe that I am somehow superior to or less sinful than Mark. God knows, I am a mess. I sin daily and desperately want to be better. I don’t hate Mark or wish him ill in any way. In fact, just the opposite is true. I want Mark, and every person who is captive to sin, to come to repentance and faith. I’m not arrogant or proud. I’m a poor, miserable sinner. May God make me truly humble and bring all people trapped in the prison of sin to repentance.

  6. Mark
    November 15th, 2012 at 23:20 | #6

    Pastor Ted Crandall :

    Noreen Linke :Mark has engaged in some very civilized, polite conversation.

    For more examples of the same, see:
    Genesis 3:1
    Genesis 3:4-5
    Job 1:7
    Matthew 4:3
    Matthew 4:6
    Matthew 4:9
    Very civilized and polite — he even quotes Scripture!

    Pastor, this is very cynical of you and therefore particularly unbecoming. Unbecoming, too, is your implicit assumption that a facile ad hominem amounts to preaching the Law. While I’m not sure if ad hominems are explicitly addressed in scripture, I find the following commentary on the 8th commandment germane. I’m sure you’ll recognize its source:

    “We should so fear and love God as not deceitfully to belie, betray, slander, nor raise injurious reports against our neighbor, but apologize for him, speak well of him, and put the most charitable construction on all his actions.”

    In your comments so far, I go from being a faux Christian in need of repentance to a mere functionary of the “Homosexual Lobby” to an incarnation of the devil himself. Now that you’ve successfully dehumanized me, I cannot imagine that you have much more use for me than as a target of either violence or ridicule. It is difficult to imagine that such behavior is much of a credit to what I would like to believe is an otherwise exemplary ministry.

  7. mbw
    November 16th, 2012 at 08:36 | #7

    @Mark #48

    > am I guilty of believing, in other words, that God can be too gracious?

    IF you are celibate (but I am not sure you’re saying that), you are still
    - creating the appearance of the opposite to your neighbors
    - asserting a false definition of marriage (lying about God’s Word)
    - and saying that the above wrongs are rights

    Saying something is not wrong is not relying on God’s grace. It is denying sin, which blocks repentance and faith (the two go together and are inseparable).

  8. Abby
    November 16th, 2012 at 10:17 | #8

    Mark, since you do not hold to Sola Scriptura — are you a proponent of Universalism?

  9. Mark
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:42 | #9

    @Abby #8

    Abby, this is an interesting question and the answer is bound not to be quite as straightforward as either you (or I) might like. I believe there is much that’s edifying to be found in discussions of an apocatastasis, particularly from folks like St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Gregory of Nazianzus. I certainly hope and pray for it (see the work of Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar in this regard). I would not, however, teach it or present it as dogmatic or binding on any conscience to believe. I therefore cannot say I’m a proponent. An Orthodox theologian (I forget if it’s Lossky or Bishop Ware) once wrote something along these lines regarding the apocatastasis: those who deny it are like stubborn oxen, those who preach it are like braying donkeys; while it is best to be neither an ox, nor a donkey, one must nonetheless remember that both the ox and donkey were present at the manger of the Lord.

    That’s the best I can do with your question, Abby! If you’re asking about a broader question of authority with regard to scriptural interpretation we can certainly talk about that if you like.

  10. Abby
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:49 | #10

    Mark, can you define “apocatastasis” for me?

    “. . .those who deny it are like stubborn oxen, those who preach it are like braying donkeys; while it is best to be neither an ox, nor a donkey, one must nonetheless remember that both the ox and donkey were present at the manger of the Lord.” That is a nice dance around the subject!

  11. Jim Hamilton
    November 16th, 2012 at 12:13 | #11

    @Mark #9

    “Abby, this is an interesting question and the answer is bound not to be quite as straightforward as either you (or I) might like.”

    Just plain false. The answer is absolutely plain and unequivical. There is one God. He is Father, Son, and Spirit. The only way to obtain forgivieness of sins and everlasting life is to believe in Him and His precious Gospel.

    By the way, does anyone get the feeling that Mark is really just amusing himself at our expense? Clearly, he has no intention of repenting of his ongoing and willful sin.

    Mark: as I said above and repeatedly, you’re not going to be able to fool God with silly, pretentious babbling. I urge you to sincerely repent and believe the Gospel, sir.

  12. Mark
    November 16th, 2012 at 12:13 | #12

    @Abby #10

    Apocatastasis just means “universal restoration.”

    Re: the oxen/donkey simile, you’re right–it is a dance around the subject! The problem the dance is trying to exoise is the tension between a) not presuming anything regarding God’s mercy (such as an affirmation of the apocatastasis); and b) understanding that the operation of that mercy cannot be limited (and a denial of the apocatastasis would impose a limitation on the operation of mercy).

    For really lovely theological paradoxes, it’s hard to beat Eastern Orthodox theologians–if nothing else, they have a real understanding of- and respect for our inability to completely understand the mysteries of God’s grace.

  13. Abby
    November 16th, 2012 at 12:28 | #13

    Mark @12: “. . . it’s hard to beat Eastern Orthodox theologians–if nothing else, they have a real understanding of- and respect for our inability to completely understand the mysteries of God’s grace.” But they don’t believe in full “justification by grace.” They only believe it starts you off. Then you need to earn it. The rest of the way to God is your own trip up the ladder of sanctification.

    I could never keep up with you regarding a dialog about “Scripture Alone.” Your challenge reminded me of this: Matthew 21:23-27

    And regarding “hell” — Jesus spoke of it more than anyone in the Bible. One instance: Luke 16:19-31

    Have you ever taken the Bible, only the Bible, and read it and asked God to reveal to you if this is His Word alone? And is it His Word that is sufficient and complete all by itself?

    I pray that you would do that. Because you sound like you truly repent of your sin. But you also seek to justify it as well by trying to satisfy yourself with other “words” so that you can continue to dance around the subject. I really fear that your repentance is still somewhat superficial. You are still in the “far country” and not ready to come home yet.

    When I read your initial response. I cried for you. I truly feel for you in my heart. And I have prayed for you too. God loves you. He is waiting.

  14. Mark
    November 16th, 2012 at 14:00 | #14

    Jim Hamilton :
    @Mark #9
    Just plain false. The answer is absolutely plain and unequivical. There is one God. He is Father, Son, and Spirit. The only way to obtain forgivieness of sins and everlasting life is to believe in Him and His precious Gospel.

    Mr. Hamilton, your response doesn’t actually answer the question Abby posed, though. It answers a different question: What is the absolutely sure way to believe in order to be saved? The universal restoration is a topic of much speculative theology. That is not to say that such speculations are idle or unedifying–only that the “conclusions” they reach are speculative and cannot be binding on one’s conscience in any way like what we know to be true (which is therefore not speculative) must be binding on our conscience.

    Jim Hamilton :
    By the way, does anyone get the feeling that Mark is really just amusing himself at our expense? Clearly, he has no intention of repenting of his ongoing and willful sin.

    If you think that I find being in this forum amusing given what some of my brothers and sisters here have written about me, my relationship and my faith, then you must think me more depraved than I could have originally imagined. If you think I’m here at your expense, then you’ve not actually been reading what I’ve written. I’m here to learn, principally. But I’m also here to witness to this idea: that I do not need to be against you, nor do I need to construe you as being against me.

    You write that I have no intention of repenting. I acknowledge I’m a sinner and cannot free myself. I acknowledge that I have sinned in thought, word and deed, by what I have done and by what I have left undone. I have not loved God with my whole heart and I have not loved my neighbor as myself. I have done all these things by my fault, by my own fault, by my own most grievous fault. I am truly sorry and humbly repent and pray that God would have mercy on me for the sake of his Son, Jesus Christ.

    My brothers and sisters here have been clear, however, that the forgiveness of God is denied me because of a sin or sins everyone is convinced I’ve committed, but few have actually accused me of when I’ve asked them to be specific (including you, friend @Jim Hamilton #39 ). I would think that the Law is not only a sledgehammer, but can be a scalpel, too. Perhaps I’m wrong. But the general inability to articulate just what it is I’m actually doing does not lend any real credence to either the accusation of sin or the expressions of concern that I repent.

    What it does do is speak to what I’ve noticed in the world beyond these forums to be an unexamined confusion between a) same-sex attracted folks; b) homosexuals considered as a political category (which tends to represent “stuff we don’t like”); and c) sodomia perfecta which is a very clearly and specifically defined sin. In this confusion, what actually is definitively sin (c) gets caught up in a self-reflexive haze of what we’d like sin to be given who we think we are (b), and that haze is pawned off wholesale onto a group of folks (a), regardless of their guilt in the commission of the actual specific sin (c). I offer this as an observation of a pattern of behavior that I have seen at work in the world and in which I have, to my shame, also engaged (though in other contexts and with other sins).

    I wish to state that I recognize that my desire not to defend myself against you may look like a refusal to repent–you’ve expected that I should attack you and attempt to justify myself, and my refusal to do so must mean that I’m too far gone in my sin to actually hear or be sufficiently wounded by the Law. This seems to upset you (for a number of very understandable reasons) and subsequently alters the tone of your comments to me. I apologize for any upset. Friend, I just don’t think that me justifying myself or attacking you will get either of us anywhere. But I will try to listen as best I can to what you have to say to me.

    Jim Hamilton :
    Mark: as I said above and repeatedly, you’re not going to be able to fool God with silly, pretentious babbling. I urge you to sincerely repent and believe the Gospel, sir.

    I’m not trying to fool God or you. To the best of my ability, I’m answering questions posed to me. I’ve stated multiple times that I’m not interested in justifying myself. I’m not interested in being against you.

    However, I’m beginning to fear that my virtual presence here among my brothers and sisters is proving to be a skandalon to this community. I apologize deeply for that and will remove myself from these forums before long.

  15. Mark
    November 16th, 2012 at 16:27 | #15

    Abby :
    But they don’t believe in full “justification by grace.” They only believe it starts you off. Then you need to earn it. The rest of the way to God is your own trip up the ladder of sanctification.

    I don’t think that’s quite accurate regarding the Orthodox view. Orthodox don’t believe that we can earn grace, but affirm that God’s grace enables us to respond to God’s will with a hearty, “Yes!” which further opens us to receive the grace God desires to give us in order to sanctify us and make us able to do the work he would have us do while continually conforming us to the image of His Son, a process which “ends” in theosis. We can cooperate with grace, we can get in the way of grace, but we certainly cannot earn grace. (Even when Roman Catholics speak of merit–as in “the merit of the saints”–what they generally mean by that is the visible and lived shape grace exhibited by and in a particular life.) The difference with Lutheran thought (insofar as I understand it) is that in the Orthodox way of thinking (and in the Roman Catholic way of thinking) grace perfects and heals a wounded nature and enables it to participate in the life of God; i.e., grace does not replace or cover over a nature that is total depraved and therefore impervious to healing.

    Abby :
    I could never keep up with you regarding a dialog about “Scripture Alone.” Your challenge reminded me of this: Matthew 21:23-27

    Sometimes, though, things are just complicated. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just the way some things are.

    Abby :
    Have you ever taken the Bible, only the Bible, and read it and asked God to reveal to you if this is His Word alone? And is it His Word that is sufficient and complete all by itself?

    I think if I were to just take the Bible alone to begin with, then I would be well along on the sola scriptura path! Scripture has the primacy, but Tradition and Reason bear revelation, too. (I’m not so much invoking Richard Hooker, by the way, so much as I’m referencing the Oxford Movement.) Moreover, I have to confess to the following: where Rome and Constantinople agree on dogma and doctrine, I’m bound to weight that agreement incredibly heavily in terms of authoritativeness when I’m struggling with a particular dogmatic, doctrinal or scriptural point.

    Abby :
    When I read your initial response. I cried for you. I truly feel for you in my heart. And I have prayed for you too. God loves you. He is waiting.

    This is an incredibly beautiful and humbling thing to say. The prayer of the righteous availeth much, and I believe with St. Catherine of Sienna that the gift of tears is a powerful form of holy prayer. As it says in a prayer in the 1559 Prayer Book (quoting the Book of Wisdom): “I…am a feeble person, of a short time, and too young to the understanding of Thy judgments and laws.” To that, I would add a recognition that my heard is too fat and too hard, and that the good that I would do that I do not, but that the evil that I would not, that I do. If I cannot weep sufficiently for my sins (and who can?), I am grateful for the tears of a sister that I pray may, by grace, soften my own hard-heartedness and make of my heart fertile ground fit to receive the seed of the Gospel.

    Thank you, Abby.

  16. mbw
    November 16th, 2012 at 21:17 | #16

    @Mark #12

    > apocatastasis

    You know you are posting in a forum where a number of world class Lutheran theologians hang out, who are trained in Hebrew, Greek, and often Latin?

    Do you think the reason they are not engaging you is your own vast knowledge?

  17. Abby
    November 16th, 2012 at 22:29 | #17

    Mark, I am familiar with Orthodoxy. Not learned, just familiar. I attend a church occasionally. My brother-in-law is Orthodox and brings me his church bulletin every week. The back page is a “teaching” page for the parishoners, because it is only within the last 4 years that they put out their own Study Bible and the priests are now leading Bible classes which were non-existent before. I read Timothy Ware many years ago, but could not quote him now as my books are in “storage.” I know that we are at odds on Justification. I wish I could lay my hands on the quote, but it is something like “We do not believe in the forensic once-for-all justification by faith.” Here is a short definition from their website:
    http://www.antiochian.org/1123705678 and also on Santification: http://www.antiochian.org/1123705723

    They do consider us [Lutherans] to be closer to them than the Roman Catholic Church. A priest asked me what I was, and I told him LCMS and he said, “No problem, we are sister churches!” They even asked me to lead a children’s Sunday School class once long ago. Which astounded me at the time because they didn’t even know me that well. For all they knew I would teach the kids to be Lutheran!

    I know I would never be able to give up Justification. Ever. It is too clear in the Bible in many places. I read the whole New Testament last year and the light truly turned on. I could never question grace as a pure gift again. I respect them. But they still do consider us heterodox.

    I wish and pray for God to bless your heart and mind.

  18. Abby
    November 16th, 2012 at 22:42 | #18

    Mark, “I think if I were to just take the Bible alone to begin with, then I would be well along on the sola scriptura path! Scripture has the primacy, but Tradition and Reason bear revelation, too.”

    You sound like you’re afraid to let God talk to you alone.

  19. Jim Hamilton
    November 17th, 2012 at 05:49 | #19

    @Mark #14

    “My brothers and sisters here have been clear, however, that the forgiveness of God is denied me because of a sin or sins everyone is convinced I’ve committed, but few have actually accused me of when I’ve asked them to be specific (including you, friend @Jim Hamilton #39 ).”

    I’ll put this plainly: homosexual sex is a sin. If you are doing that, you are sinning. God’s grace cannot exist in a heart that is given over to willful, ongoing, unrepented sin. The fact that you claim to be married to a man and intend to bring a child into your home strongly suggests that you do not consider your homosexual lifestyle a sin and feel justified in your conduct. Therefore, you are in great danger of God’s judgment. Good luck to you!

  20. November 17th, 2012 at 09:15 | #20

    Mark :I cannot imagine that you have much more use for me than as a target of either violence or ridicule.

    Ah yes, now it’s time to play the bully card…

    Before I leave this discussion, I plead with you again to study Pastor Eckstein’s book, “Bearing Their Burden.” I can help set you free.

    Titus 3:10-11

  21. mbw
    November 17th, 2012 at 10:30 | #21

    @Mark #14

    > a sin or sins everyone is convinced I’ve committed, but few have actually accused me of when I’ve asked them to be specific

    IF you are celibate (but I am not sure you’re saying that), you are still
    - creating the appearance of the opposite to your neighbors
    - asserting a false definition of marriage (lying about God’s Word)
    - and saying that the above wrongs are rights

    Saying something is not wrong is not relying on God’s grace. It is denying sin, which blocks repentance and faith (the two go together and are inseparable).

  22. Abby
    November 17th, 2012 at 12:44 | #22

    Mark, I would like to address one more thing. You have a “dream” of setting up a family. Of bringing a child into the lives of you and your partner. How do you know that when that child grows up, he/she will not be convinced of the wrongness of your household? Even though they have to endure it through their whole childhood, they will be deeply conflicted. And when grown may in fact turn to reject you? This is not a supposition. I grew up in a home deeply divided morally. I had to endure it–for all of my life, in fact. I tried and tried to love my parents. But the deep conflict could not be resolved. Finally, in the last 15 years of my parent’s life, I gave up. I couldn’t do it anymore. For the last 15 years there was no contact. And the parent died. And I did not weep. I hoped and prayed for my parent to change, to be sorry, to come to God. But the attitude was always the same, my parent was right and we were supposed to accept it. I dream about how my family could have been different. And the damage that was caused among all the siblings is uncalculable. Is that really, in the end, what you want to see happen to your family? There can be no good but God’s good.

    If you are afraid to talk to God alone, just remember Aslan talking to Edward. After that Aslan went to the stone table to take Edward’s punishment — to fulfill the requirements of the law. This satisfied the Devil immensely. Until the big surprise when Aslan rose from the dead. Becoming the winner and the Devil goes down into defeat. Aslan broke the spell that the Devil had over Edward. And he was truly free — forever. And forever is a very long time.

    From my heart, I hope you will come to the Cross. God is waiting.

  23. George Mueller
    November 17th, 2012 at 15:53 | #23

    I have read this long thread with interest and have two observations to share. First of all, Pastor Mark Preus’s critics appear to have some additional standard for teaching than the truth of God’s word, inasmuch as none of them rebukes Pr. Preus for what he said but rather for actually saying what he said, as if to say that there are times and places when something other than the truth must guide us in our speaking. This opinion appears to be at odds with the apostolic injunction to Timothy to contend for the truth at all times and places.

    Secondly, Mark the layman illustrates for us how the denial of the wrath of God and with it the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ (note his fondness for Eastern Orthodox theology here) goes hand in hand with his manifest impenitence concerning his homosexuality. It is interesting to observe that the holy apostle teaches the abiding reality of God’s wrath (Romans 1, 18) just a few verses before he condemns the unnatural desires for which Mark the layman apparently feels no remorse.

    At any rate, I would like to add my voice to those commending Pr. Preus for his letter and my brotherly rebuke to those pastors who appear to think that there is something that trumps the truth. There isn’t.

  24. Elizabeth Peters
    November 17th, 2012 at 18:21 | #24

    George Mueller’s post sums up the issue excellently. The law is, paradoxically, love. Not only is it the immutable will of Love itself (I mean God), it is the instrument by which sinners are brought to confess their sins. Then, and only then, should the Gospel be preached to them. Mark the layman’s posts illustrate why Mark the pastor’s message did not include Gospel, lest it be taken as a license to sin by those who want to justify what separates them from God.

  25. Abby
    November 18th, 2012 at 11:59 | #25

    @23 and 24:

    We need to be careful. Romans 2:1-24 Mark sounds like he has some true guilt. His conscience is condemning him even though he may not know exactly regarding what. (Romans 2:14-16) And even though when he experiences guilt he seeks to push it down, deny it, or seek to justify it. We need to be careful because we ourselves look like hypocrites. Romans 2:17-24, Romans 3:9-20.

    No one needs to “clean up” before they come to Jesus. We must not discourage people from coming to Him because they are not good enough “yet.”

    This father spoke not one word of condemnation to his son: Luke 15:11-32

    This woman clearly knew herself. She asked Jesus for nothing. She didn’t even say a word. Jesus did all the talking — but look who He condemns: Luke 7:36-50

    The whole key is deep knowledge and acknowledgment of one’s sin. And then coming to Jesus’ in repentance. Does this happen only once? Not in my life. I’m doing it everyday. Every hour. Why do we receive confession and absolution regularly in worship?

    Mark is still dancing around the real issues. Even though he quotes Orthodox theologians, I challenge him to take his partner to an Orthodox church, become members, worship there, take the Sacrament of Communion — and see what they would say to him. Because they agree with us on the Bible, sin, and hell (and other things).

    Mark, I pray for you to read the Bible by itself– once. Even some Orthodox priests are teaching the Bible now. Apart from other literature. My wonder now is how long it will be before someone in there (Orthodoxy) discovers what Luther discovered when he became liberated. That will be an amazing day!

  26. George Mueller
    November 18th, 2012 at 15:42 | #26

    Mark, you write:

    “The difference with Lutheran thought (insofar as I understand it) is that in the Orthodox way of thinking (and in the Roman Catholic way of thinking) grace perfects and heals a wounded nature and enables it to participate in the life of God; i.e., grace does not replace or cover over a nature that is total depraved and therefore impervious to healing.”

    We Lutherans also believe that God graciously perfects and heals us, though perfect healing of our corrupted nature does not take place until this mortal puts on immortality on the last day. That fallen nature is totally depraved does not make it impervious to healing. God sanctifies those he justifies. Where we differ from Rome and the East is that we teach that God really does justify us so that we can know and be sure we are righteous. He reckons to us the obedience and suffering of his Son as our righteousness before him so that we are perfectly righteous. Even as Jesus took the blame for all of our sin (and suffered God’s wrath as the propitiation for our sins) God gives us the credit for Christ’s perfect obedience. This righteousness is perfect. We ARE righteous through faith in Christ.

    From knowing that we ARE righteous before God, clothed with Christ’s righteousness, we know that the Holy Spirit lives within us and moves us to live holy lives. While we do not depend on these holy lives for the assurance that we are justified (inasmuch as our justification precedes our sanctification and, unlike our sanctification, is perfect, while our sanctification is not perfect in this life) we do believe that God sanctifies his children. When we see sin in our lives we confess it and trust in the absolution that Christ gives us.

    What happens when we refuse to acknowledge our sin? What happens when we deliberately sin and insist that this sin is in fact goodness? What we do is we drive the Holy Spirit out of our lives and with him goes our faith and with faith gone we cannot receive the gracious verdict of justification and cannot regard ourselves as just. Not that there’s ever anything wrong with Christ’s righteousness, but it must be received through faith alone or it will not benefit us.

    Faith is born in the broken and contrite heart, as the Psalmist says, “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” If you “marry” another man, you are clearly expressing publicly to God and the whole world that you reject what God says about homosexuality being sinful, unnatural, and an offense against God. The wrath of God (Romans 1,18) is being revealed against the homosexual (Romans 1,26-27). God justifies homosexuals through faith and through faith alone, and when God brings them to faith he gives them his Spirit and moves them to obey him.

    It is possible for a man to have homosexual desires and yet be a Christian. All Christians suffer from temptation and wicked desires. Yes, concupiscience is a sin indeed, even among those who are born of water and the Spirit! But God graciously forgives us our sinful desires.

    As I said, it is possible to have homosexual desires and yet be a Christian. It is not possible to hold on to those desires as good and right and godly and yet to be a Christian. Such impenitence drives out the Holy Spirit and dooms a man to hell.

    God did not make you gay. God does not bless being gay. God does not join one man to another in marriage. But God does forgive! He doesn’t wait for you to become straight before he forgives. He forgives penitent homosexuals for Christ’s sake. For the sake of your soul, I beg you to repent of your sin of homosexuality and trust in the obedience and suffering of Jesus as your righteousness. My words to you are the very words of God. I do not say this in pride or boasting, but in the sincere hope that you will receive what I say for the salvation of your soul.

  27. mbw
    November 18th, 2012 at 20:20 | #27

    @Mark #14

    IF you are celibate (but I am not sure you’re saying that), you are still
    - creating the appearance of the opposite to your neighbors
    - asserting a false definition of marriage (lying about God’s Word)
    - and saying that the above wrongs are rights

    Saying something is not wrong is not relying on God’s grace. It is denying sin, which blocks repentance and faith (the two go together and are inseparable).

  28. Mark
    November 20th, 2012 at 13:21 | #28

    @Pastor Ted Crandall #20

    Pastor, I wasn’t “playing the bully card.” I was drawing your attention to a developing pattern of thought in your posts which I found alarming and which I was sure you, too, would find alarming once it was pointed out to you. More than you can know, I’m sorry and saddened that you mistook my concern for a move in some game you thought we were playing.

    @Abby #18
    @Abby #22
    @Abby #25

    Abby, thank you for these messages–they are characterized by real compassion, and I appreciate that.

    I hope to address some of your points in my response to George (there are some overlapping concerns there). But I didn’t want you to think that I had not read your comments.

    Suffice to say, though, that sola scriptura is problematic for me on a number of levels, not the least of which is a suspicion that such an approach is not actually practical–can we receive the Scriptures without also receiving the church that transmits them to us and teaches us how to read them?

    Thank you for your prayers, Abby.

    @mbw #16

    mbw, I’m not actually sure what you’re getting at here. Certainly there are a number of very fine thinkers hereabouts. I never claimed to have any vast knowledge, and I wouldn’t be able to begin to articulate the many and good reasons why someone wouldn’t want to join the conversation here.

    @mbw #7
    @mbw #21
    @mbw #27

    Thanks for your re-posting of this message. I appreciate, in particular, your specificity.

    @George Mueller #26

    I hope to be able to comment on this post before long. Thank you for your patience.

  29. Jim Hamilton
    November 20th, 2012 at 13:39 | #29

    @Mark #28

    Why are you doing this, Mark? What are you getting out of this? You clearly have no intention of confessing your sin or amending your life. Unrepented, willful, on-going sin risks God’s eternal wrath. Stop trying to justify yourself, stop trying to impress people with your intelligence, stop pretending that God approves of your sin because you like to commit it. Repent your sin and, with God’s help, struggle to resist temptation.

  30. Mark
    November 20th, 2012 at 15:12 | #30

    Jim Hamilton :
    Why are you doing this, Mark? What are you getting out of this?

    I thought I’d already mentioned that I’m here to learn.

    Jim Hamilton :
    You clearly have no intention of confessing your sin or amending your life.

    I don’t think you’re doing a very good job of discerning my intentions. (See @Mark #14 above.)

    Jim Hamilton :
    Unrepented, willful, on-going sin risks God’s eternal wrath.

    I recognize that unrepented, willful and on-going sin is destructive and seek to avoid it by God’s grace!

    Jim Hamilton :
    Stop trying to justify yourself, stop trying to impress people with your intelligence, stop pretending that God approves of your sin because you like to commit it. Repent your sin and, with God’s help, struggle to resist temptation.

    Can you point out where I have attempted to justify myself? I was not trying to engage in any such justification, and if I’ve done so, I apologize for it–with topics like this, in forums like this, justifications can only be read as prevarications or excuses and generate a lot of animosity. I was trying to avoid that.

    Moreover, I’m not trying to impress anyone with anything, least of all with my intelligence, which is meager.

    Finally, I do not pretend that God approves of sin because I like to commit it (or for any other reason).

    I’m a bit curious as to how you came to the various conclusions you did about my intentions and behaviors. I’ve written repeatedly that I don’t wish to justify myself–you say I’ve tried to do so. I’ve made reference to people and ideas who’ve formed me–you say I’m trying to impress you. I speak against sodomia perfecta, the culture of the sybarite, the modern liberal state–you say I’m pretending that God approves my sin. I make an act of repentance–you tell me to repent. I hope you can appreciate how confusing all of that can be.

    I can only conclude that you have a series of preconceptions about me from which you cannot or will not be freed. That’s okay. I’m not offended. But part of what I wanted to learn here is whether or not we could have a conversation without these preconceptions (from either of us!) getting in the way. Must a conversation regarding a highly charged topic become characterized by rivalry and animosity? At least for the time being, I think I’ve discerned the answer and will soon be on my way.

  31. Mark
    November 20th, 2012 at 17:30 | #31

    George Mueller :
    That fallen nature is totally depraved does not make it impervious to healing. God sanctifies those he justifies. Where we differ from Rome and the East is that we teach that God really does justify us so that we can know and be sure we are righteous. He reckons to us the obedience and suffering of his Son as our righteousness before him so that we are perfectly righteous. Even as Jesus took the blame for all of our sin (and suffered God’s wrath as the propitiation for our sins) God gives us the credit for Christ’s perfect obedience. This righteousness is perfect. We ARE righteous through faith in Christ.

    Hi George, and thank you for your comment. I was afraid this conversation would eventually become about anthropology, ecclesiology and the like. I’m afraid, too, that such a conversation will produce more heat than light. I don’t really want to argue with your points or your theology, so I’ll just affirm the following, if only so you know where I’m coming from:

    1–I subscribe to the traditional catholic view of anthropology–that nature is wounded, not destroyed; that grace heals our nature and allows God’s righteousness to become our righteousness in such a way that the good we do is actually good that we do, though it is God’s grace which enables and empowers us to do that good; that we are strengthened by grace in the process of sanctification to cooperate more and more fully with the movements of grace in us, gradually bringing nature to perfection.

    2–I affirm both the ransom theory and the moral influence theory of atonement, believing they are complementary.

    3–The wrath of God must be understood metaphorically or we risk thinking of God in terms of a double-bind: a God who says, “Be like me, but don’t be like me,” or, “I love you, yes, but in order for me to love you properly, you have to be something completely different from what you are because what you are makes me incredibly angry.” I fear that there is no real difference between the God of the double bind and the various gods of ancient mythologies: they behave in precisely the same ways.

    We can go into all this further if you like, but I don’t know that it will do either of us much good…

    George Mueller :
    If you “marry” another man, you are clearly expressing publicly to God and the whole world that you reject what God says about homosexuality being sinful, unnatural, and an offense against God. The wrath of God (Romans 1,18) is being revealed against the homosexual (Romans 1,26-27).

    Can you help me to understand what you mean when you say “homosexuality?” This is an honest question.

    I affirm that Scripture is against sodomia perfecta, so if that’s what you mean when you say that homosexuality is sinful, then I agree with you. If by homosexuality you mean same-sex attraction, then we’re back to our anthropological impasse (we’ll wind up talking about concupiscence…see below!). If you understand same-sex attraction to be an attraction to sodomia perfecta, then I think you misunderstand what same-sex attraction is. If you’re meaning something more nebulous along the lines of the “homosexual lifestyle” then I have no idea what you’re talking about that is specifically homosexual–”homosexual lifestyle” is generally a euphemism for a way of being towards others that is ordered by, to and for lust…and there’s nothing particularly homosexual about such a way of being–homosexuals and heterosexuals are equally capable of falling into such a “lifestyle.”

    In the end (and as I wrote to Mr. Hamilton above), “homosexuality” writ large can become little more than a socio-political category, a conceptual box into which we put “stuff we don’t like.” I don’t think that’s what you actually mean when you use the word, but with no specificity, that’s how it reads.

    George Mueller :
    Yes, concupiscience is a sin indeed, even among those who are born of water and the Spirit!

    I affirm, with Trent, that concupiscence is not sin in itself, though because reason is divorced from the sensitive appetite because of original sin, concupiscence may incline us to commit actual sin.

    George Mueller :
    It is not possible to hold on to those desires as good and right and godly and yet to be a Christian. Such impenitence drives out the Holy Spirit and dooms a man to hell.

    Again, I’d ask you to explain the thing to which you believe those desires are ordered. I would affirm that we are attracted to people in whom we are capable of discerning the good, the true and the beautiful and that our attraction is for the sake of the good, the true and the beautiful we discern.

    —–

    In all, George, I’m grateful for your comment. I do not believe that the explicit affirmations I’ve made in this post run counter to the drift of a catholic understanding of the faith, and it is to that understanding that I wish, by God’s grace, to be loyal as I believe that the catholic understanding is the most faithful witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ. It is not my desire to convert you or challenge your understanding of the faith insofar as it differs from mine–I only wanted to state what I affirm (so you know where I stand) and tell you where I could use more explication in order to better understand what you’re talking about when you refer to homosexuality.

    Pray for me, a sinner.

  32. Jim Hamilton
    November 20th, 2012 at 17:37 | #32

    @Mark #30

    Mark, you’re a strange guy. The more you talk, the creepier you sound. Here is my last comment on this thread (and this time I mean it):

    If you’re engaging in homosexual activity, you are sinning. You need to stop. You need to repent. You need to pray to God to help you resist this temptation. If you continue to wallow in this willful and unrepented sin, you will, according to God’s Word, burn in hell forever. God’s grace cannot exist in heart given over to sin. Good luck, Mark.

  33. Abby
    November 20th, 2012 at 18:47 | #33

    “. . .can we receive the Scriptures without also receiving the church that transmits them to us and teaches us how to read them?”

    Yes — you can receive the Scriptures.
    No — you do not have to read them through the filter of my or any other church.

    I really wish you would — just once.

    I do really hope and pray for you.

  34. George Mueller
    November 22nd, 2012 at 06:26 | #34

    Mark, I will reply to your post. I’m too busy to reply just now.

  35. November 22nd, 2012 at 08:34 | #35

    Mark :
    Pastor, I wasn’t “playing the bully card.” I was drawing your attention to a developing pattern of thought in your posts which I found alarming

    The developing pattern was yours. When you first appeared here, I assumed you were a victim who had been led astray and were open to hearing the Word of God. Your progressive comments made it more and more obvious that your mind was closed. Perhaps you once were a victim, but you are now an unrepentant sinner leading others away from the cross of Christ by trying to convince them that God embraces sodomy. As Elizabeth already explained to you (@Elizabeth Peters #24 ), the most loving thing we can now give you is not the Gospel, but the Law of God. I echo Jim’s words (@Jim Hamilton #32 ), which are words of love for a lost brother. Mark, it’s later than you think. Now is the hour of our salvation.

  36. Tim Schenks
    November 22nd, 2012 at 15:14 | #36

    Rev. Mathew Andersen :
    Mr. Preus has therefore, by this letter, done nothing but violated his oath of ministry and to create despairing sinners.
    I have no objection to the Law, no matter how forcefully or badly proclaimed. I have great objection to a pastor forsaking his calling and tearing apart the sheep by neglect of the Gospel.

    Rev. Andersen, you are wrong.

  37. Tim Schenks
    November 22nd, 2012 at 15:18 | #37

    Pastor Mark Preus :
    My conscience has been attacked since I was a young man because “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” This is guilt I refuse to bear in this instance. God does not accuse me of this, and I don’t need to be accused of it by my own brothers. I am not refusing correction; I am in fact correcting.

    That’s like when I was told by an older member when she was trying to get rid of my pastor “You have the Holy Spirit in you, Tim, but you need to be more loving…” ???

  38. Tim Schenks
    November 22nd, 2012 at 15:33 | #38

    Robert Hoffman :

    Jim Hamilton :@Mark #27 Sir, you’re actively engaged, by your own admission, in a same-sex relationship. This is sin, plain and simple. You are not at all repentant. No matter how polite or sophisticated you try to sound in your postings, the plain fact is that you, as an unrepentant sinner with no intention of ceasing your sinful conduct, are in serious danger of judgment. You need the hammer of the Law, sir. I hope it penetrates.

    Jim, What you said is true…but you deliver only the Law and the Law convicts and kills. The Law with the Gospel is what Mark needs. He’s denying the law which leaves him in a state where the gospel does no good. It is the tension between the two that provides the motion for the Gospel. Your response, while completely accurate, strikes me like a law-only, fire and brimstone baptist who thinks beating someone with the hammer of the law is the answer.
    Mark is an unrepentant sinner who has found comfort in the arms of false doctrine as well as another man. He has certainly conducted himself in a very polite manner. The mere fact that he is posting at this website and on this post indicates to me that somewhere in there he recognizes (but probably doesn’t admit) the jeapardy he is in. I suggest you re-examine yourself (Jim) and perhaps reflect upon Jesus at the well. Yes, He delivered the law to the woman because she needed to see her sin and be convicted by it. However, He didn’t stop there, He also delivered the gospel to her which saved her. Your response strikes me as just what he (Mark) was expecting (but not hoping) to find.

    Mr. Hoffman, I can’t believe you are actually advocating Law-Gospel Reductionism on a Confessional Lutheran website. This is ridiculous!

  39. November 22nd, 2012 at 18:31 | #39

    Tim Schenks :Mr. Hoffman, I can’t believe you are actually advocating Law-Gospel Reductionism on a Confessional Lutheran website.

    Bingo!

    “Go, and sin some more”?

  40. George Mueller
    November 23rd, 2012 at 18:24 | #40

    Mark, I don’t know what sodomia perfecta is. I know what homosexuality is. You said you are “same sex attracted.” That’s how I would define a homosexual. I don’t know exactly what you and your partner do with each other and I don’t really want to know, but inasmuch as you claim to have married him, I must conclude that you and he engage in some kind of intimate physical contact that, if not actually “sodomia perfecta” (whatever that is), is nevertheless a part of the sex act, that is to say, it is something you would not do with your mother, father, sister, or brother.

    You are not married. God made us made us male and female and he established marriage in Paradise as a lifelong union of one man and one woman. It is not possible for a man to be married to a man.

    I thank you for your candor in expressing your views on justification. They run counter to the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. If you would like to become familiar with the Lutheran teaching on justification, I recommend that you obtain a copy of the Book of Concord and read the fourth article of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession and the third article of the Formula of Concord.

    I find it interesting that you have come onto this site to discuss this topic but you have not engaged Rev. Preus in a discussion about what he wrote in his initial post. Why not?

    I will pray for you, as you ask, but it appears to me, by what you have heretofore written, that you are quite firmly committed to your homosexual orientation and that you have no intention of giving an honest hearing to the arguments that Preus raised. The homosexual orientation is essentially idolatrous, in that it takes sexual intimacy and severs it altogether from the procreative activity of God. Whereas a heterosexual desires one who is meet for him, the homosexual desires one who is just like him. What he is really doing is desiring himself and using another for the purpose of pleasuring himself. This is self-worship. The one who worships himself will always reject the propitiatory sacrifice because he cannot tolerate the existence of God’s wrath except as a metaphor (for what, God only knows).

  41. November 23rd, 2012 at 19:02 | #41

    George Mueller :I recommend that you obtain a copy of the Book of Concord and read the fourth article of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession and the third article of the Formula of Concord.

    http://www.bookofconcord.org/

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