Kim in the Christians’ Den

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Wolf-In-Sheeps-ClothingLet’s just set aside whether, according to the Constitution, Kim Davis may ignore the Supreme Court’s legislation from the bench concerning gay “marriage.”  If you’d like to explore that, I suggest this article, which offers something of a summary.

The issue today is how Christians view a person’s role in the government when the government tells him to enact or participate in laws that are contrary to nature, that is, unjust.

Christians have no problem obeying the civil authorities when it comes to anything not harming their faith.  So the drinking age is basically mandated to be 21 by US Congress through a kind of blackmail of funding.  But this doesn’t bother the Christian, since it doesn’t harm his faith not to drink.

But when it comes to being told to disobey God, well, no one should disobey God, neither a Christian nor a heathen.  God forbids everyone to disobey him, not just Christians.  The Scriptures also teach that the rulers of the earth are to be instructed by God (Psalm 2).

Now, imagine that God actually exists.  I mean, I know you all believe God exists, but half the time most people don’t actually think that means anything.  If God exists, then he is actually working, not merely alongside the government and other institutions, but through them.  This means that, for example, when a country wages a just war, it is God who is waging that war for the country with a righteous cause.  Similarly, when an executioner puts a murderer to death, God is not merely a spectator watching alongside something he set up but has no part of anymore.  God is swinging the ax.  God is injecting the needle.  God turns on the electric chair.  The government is an agent, a servant (Romans 13) of God, who actually is the one punishing the criminal.

Now let’s look at marriage.  God marries people.  He joins a man and a woman in marriage.  “What God has joined together…” (Mark 10:9).  But just as God works through agents, through means in accomplishing our salvation, so also he works through means in governing our bodies and his institution of marriage.  What agents does he choose?  He chooses those who have authority over the man and wife who want to get married.  This has in time past been the parents of the couple, while the government ruled to protect the man’s and wife’s rights as husband and wife.   Over time, the government’s protection of marriage took on the sanctioning of marriage.  There is nothing inherently wrong with this, though the lack of parental rights in marriage is a sad thing, in my opinion.  In fact, it is good for the government to act as God’s agent in joining a man and a wife together.

Along comes the Supreme Court and legislates that a man can marry a man and a woman can marry a woman, and that the Constitution guarantees them this right.  Now, again, let’s just forget for a moment that the Constitution obviously doesn’t guarantee them such an absurdity.  Let’s pretend that it’s actually legitimate.

This is what we call the “positive law.”  The positive laws are the laws that governments make.  They should generally reflect the natural law, since that is the law that God actually wants government to enforce.  In fact, the entire reason God institutes governments among men is so that the natural law can be defended and protected.   So all of our states and our country have laws against murder.  Here the positive law reflects the natural law.  But all of our states and our country allow abortion.  Here the positive law rejects the natural law.

What happens when you are a Christian who is working for the government and are told to enforce a positive law that is contrary to the natural law?  In other words , what happens when you are told to disobey God?  Whom should you obey?  Let’s put it another way.  God tells you to obey the government.  The government tells you to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  God and natural law both say, “Wait, what?  No, that’s silly, no, not silly, gross, and…why?  Stop that!  Icky!”  So whom should you obey?

I think most Christians would say with the apostles, “We should obey God rather than man.” (Acts 5:29).  Nevertheless, there are many who say, “It’s just a piece of paper.  It doesn’t mean anything.  Gay marriage doesn’t exist, so they’re just playing along with the charade.”  This, my friends, is the outgrowth of Gnosticism.  Gnosticism believes that the body is bad, or doesn’t matter, and the spirit is good.  In fact, many gnostics even deny that the body is real.  Do you see the connection?  Saying, “It doesn’t matter” in this situation is saying our actions and what we do with our bodies ultimately have no bearing on anything.  But God governs our bodies, and he wants the government to govern our bodies, to restrain us from evil and encourage us to do good.

It’s really simple.  God doesn’t give any government the authority to marry a man to a man or a woman to a woman; therefore, they have no authority to do it.  God is actually real!  He actually instructs Kim Davis not to give a marriage license to two men or two women because it’s wrong.  It matters.  In the same way, if an executioner knows a man on death row is innocent, he may not execute the man.  He can’t say, “The government told me to do it.”  Even Americans understand that from the Nuremberg Trials, where soldiers weren’t allowed to claim innocence on the basis of their obedience to the positive law.

But here is where the enlightened Christian thinker comes along, who understands things just a little bit better than some hick Pentecostal from Kentucky, and sagely and soberly advises the executioner to resign from his job rather than put the innocent man to death.  That way, he can save his conscience, and someone else can do the dastardly deed.  Now wait just a cotton-picking minute.  In order to save his conscience, the executioner leaves his job.  So he saves himself from doing something bad, right?  Wrong.  The Law doesn’t just require that we refrain from evil, but that we do good.  It is as we Lutherans teach in the meaning to the 5th commandment, “You shall not murder.  What does this mean?  We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.”  So the task of the executioner is not merely to step aside for someone else to murder an innocent man.  It is to put himself between the innocent man and the intent to murder.

This is exactly what these Christians are doing when they tell Kim Davis that she should resign.  They are denying the requirements of the law of love written in nature and on men’s hearts.  It is her duty not only to refuse to do evil, but also, insofar as she has been placed by God through the government into her position, to resist evil and oppose it.  I have heard people actually impugn her with the motive of wanting to keep her nice job instead of resigning so that someone else can do what is a flagrant mockery of marriage.

Those Christians who criticize Kim Davis need to stop and consider why it is they are doing so.  Is it because they actually believe that Christians should obey a law that is contrary to natural Law?  Is it because they believe that a Christian shouldn’t participate in the government, as the Anabaptist sects in Europe and America taught (Richard Nixon notwithstanding)?  Is it because they think a Christian shouldn’t resist evil when he is in the position to do so?  Is it because they believe the government has the right to enforce unjust laws that defy the very One who gave them their authority in the first place?  Is it because they believe that Psalm 2 doesn’t apply to our “secular” government, when David writes,

“Now therefore, be wise, O kings;

Be instructed, you judges of the earth.

Serve the Lord with fear,

And rejoice with trembling.

Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,

And you perish in the way,

When His wrath is kindled but a little.

Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”


I honestly don’t know.  In any case, those pastors and other Christians who do not defend Kim Davis have, whether they know it or not, joined with the lions in the den to which she has been thrown.  I pray God would close their mouths.

Here’s a prayer to pray in this situation:

6. Thy truth defend, O God, and stay This evil generation; And from the error of their way Keep Thine own congregation. The wicked everywhere abound And would Thy little flock confound; But Thou art our Salvation.  Amen.

from Dr. Luther’s “O Lord, Look Down from Heaven, Behold” of which a nice version can be found here.


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About Pastor Mark Preus

Mark Preus is pastor of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church and Campus Center in Laramie, WY. He graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne with an M.Div. in 2008 and then obtained an M.A. in Classics at the University of KS in 2010. He was ordained at Faith Lutheran Church, Wylie, TX in August of 2010. He has been married to Becky since 2005. God has graciously given them two daughters and five sons. Pr. Preus loves to read and write poetry, especially Lutheran hymns, and talk theology with anybody who has an ear to listen. He also likes coffee too much and tobacco too much, as well as microbrew beer. He can also prove with reasonable certainty that Paul Gerhardt wrote most of his hymns while smoking and drinking beer.

You can find more of Pr. Preus's writings at his blog.


Kim in the Christians’ Den — 125 Comments

  1. After five days behind bars, county clerk Kim Davis was ordered released from jail Tuesday by the judge who locked her up for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

    U.S. District Judge David Bunning lifted the contempt order against Davis, saying he was satisfied that her deputies are fulfilling their obligation to grant licenses to same-sex couples in her absence. But he warned Davis not to interfere with them.

    The move came down just before Davis was to receive jailhouse visits from presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz. Dozens of her supporters gathered on the jailhouse lawn for what they called a rally for religious freedom.

    Excerpted from the AP’s “Jailed clerk who fought gay marriage is ordered released.”

  2. “It is worse than useless for Christians to talk about the importance of Christian morality unless they are prepared to take their stand upon the fundamentals of Christian theology.” Herman Preus

  3. @wineonthevines #103

    The quote you gave is from Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957) in her “Creed or Chaos?” (pp. 46-7). Here’s a larger excerpt:

    “It it is worse than useless for Christians to talk about the importance of Christian morality, unless they are prepared to take their stand upon the fundamentals of Christian theology. It is a lie to say that dogma does not matter; it matters enormously. It is fatal to let people suppose that Christianity is only a mode of feeling; it is vitally necessary to insist that it is first and foremost a rational explanation of the universe. It is hopeless to offer Christianity as a vaguely idealistic aspiration of a simple and consoling kind; it is, on the contrary, a hard, tough, exacting, and complex doctrine, steeped in a drastic and incompromising realism. And it is fatal to imagine that everybody knows quite well what Christianity is and needs only a little encouragement to practice it. The brutal fact is that in this Christian country [England] not one person in a hundred has the faintest notion what the Church teaches about God or man or society or the person of Jesus Christ.

    “If you think I am exaggerating, ask the Army chaplain. Apart from a possible one percent of intelligent and instructed Christians, there are three kinds of people we have to deal with. There are the frank and open heathen, whose notions of Christianity are a dreadful jumble of rags and tags of Bible anecdotes and clotted mythological nonsense. There are the ignorant Christians who combine meek, gentle-Jesus sentimentality with humanistic ethics—most of these are Arian heretics. Finally, there are the more-or-less instructed churchgoers, who know all the arguments about divorce and auricular confession and communion in two kinds, but are about as well equipped to do battle on fundamentals against a Marxian atheist or a Wellsian agnostic as a boy with a peashooter facing a fanfire of machine guns. Theologically this country is at present in a state of utter chaos established in the name of religious toleration and rapidly degenerating into flight from reason and the death of hope.”

  4. Dear BJS,

    Funny, a lowly “Born again” Christian stirs the pot more than many before. God uses simple means at times, eh?

    Do we have the stomach to fight what the Early Church would simply brand “heresy” and fight with all vigor.

    Get ready, the roller coaster is starting to go down the first big hill.

  5. @Pastor Prentice #106
    You are not kidding. This became a spectacle when Kim went to jail & an even bigger one, when she got out of jail yesterday. What song was used? Not a hymn, not a contemporary Christian song, in sight. No, the Rocky theme, illegally used, no less.
    It’s not a Christian stand, it is now, a political maneuver.

  6. Old news that the fifth-column leftist media doesn’t bring up when ranting against Kim Davis refusing to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples:

    An openly gay Texas judge says she refuses to conduct marriage ceremonies for straight [heterosexual] couples until same-sex couples can also wed.

    Dallas County Judge Tonya Parker explained her decision Tuesday at a monthly meeting for the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

    “I do not perform them because it is not an equal application of the law. Period,” she said, according to the Dallas Voice, a newspaper for the gay community.

    “And it’s kind of oxymoronic for me to perform ceremonies that can’t be performed for me, so I’m not going to do it,” she added.

    Same-sex marriage is not legal in Texas.

    Excerpted from a February 23, 2012, NY Daily News article, “Gay judge won’t perform straight marriages.” On June 26, 2015, Parker officiated the first “marriage” of a homosexual couple in the George Allen Courthouse in downtown Dallas.

  7. @mbw #108
    Dear MBW,
    No, I am not talking about Kim. Yes, her theology is most likely fraught with error as we see it. But on her end, she knows that God is not happy with the sin of same-sex perversion. Can we bust her on that?

  8. @Dutch #107


    What was illegal about the use of music?

    And, here’s something from an article on it all:

    Davis walked out … to a podium backed by a 150-voice church choir. Thousands of supporters and waved white crosses and sang “Amazing Grace” and “God Bless America.”

  9. She should resign, right after Holder, who declined to support the Defense of Marriage Act, and Obama, who undoubtedly encouraged him and kept him in his exalted position.

  10. @Diane #115
    Diane & MBW,
    Thanks Diane.
    MBW, copy laws require permission & payment. They did not do, either.
    That is illegal. And the band & writer have made public statements, as to such.
    The naivety, as to all, not some, all laws, in this situation, are gobsmacking to me.

  11. @Dutch #116

    I think you’ve been tricked into having a cow about nothing. There are standard notices for collection of license fees in cases like this IF they are due (which I doubt). If any IP owners have not tried to collect, then they are more interested in piling on this lady than getting paid the pittance they would collect on one performance at a casual gathering.

    The media networks all have blanket licenses for recordings. IF the use was covered, then the networks will be paying the owners much more than anyone would have to pay for a picnic or a freedom rally.

  12. I would suggest that you all shut up and stop clogging my mailbox with these stupid posts. If you have an argument, contact each other.

  13. @Tim Schenks #121

    @Dutch #120
    Keeping it simple,
    Matthew 10:16-42, isn’t stupid. I’ve never seen ya say something like this, here. I never intend, for anything I post, to bother anyone, outside, BJS, let alone, inside it. I am sorry. I just remember, the way things used to be here at BJS.
    I was told they were not, & they were correct & echt. Point well taken.

  14. Normally I would not have said anything, until I received a barrage of posts from this topic in my email lately. I suppose I should stop subscribing to post notifications on this website.


    Hope nobody is shedding many tears for Survivor tonight. As I suspected, they’re jerks and it’s a pro-homosexual political message going on.

    Steiner says that often times, record labels and musicians will turn the other cheek when their songs are publicly played without authorization.

    “Though, in this case, I believe that EMI does not want their song associated with someone like Kim Davis, or Mike Huckabee for that matter, and will most likely seek full damages for this incident.

    Damages? What crap. The song is subject to mandatory, statutory, fixed license fees AT MOST. Nothing is going to come of this. It’s for publicity.

  16. “I don’t want to have this conflict. I don’t want to be in the spotlight. And I certainly don’t want to be a whipping post,” [Rowan County Clerk Kim] Davis said during her televised remarks [with at least seven armed Sheriff’s deputies surrounding her on three sides].

    “I spent six days in jail because I could not abandon my faith,” Davis said. She called the marriage licenses “unauthorized,” saying the [county clerk] deputies will issue documents “that will not have my name, my title, or my authority on it. Instead, the licenses will state that they are issued pursuant to a federal court order.”

    As she had before, Davis said she doubted the documents were valid. But state officials, including the governor, the attorney general and the Rowan County attorney have all said the licenses were legal.

    Excerpted from the LA Times‘s “Kim Davis returns to work as her office issues Kentucky marriage license.”

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