Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Kentucky, Gay "Marriage" and the Schleitheim Confession

Around the web yesterday was a news story out one of the states we formerly lived in, the great although muggy state of hot Kentucky. A County Clerk, Kim Davis, is refusing to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals in spite of a Supreme Court decision making up a "right" for homosexuals to marry out of thin air with a heaping helping of judicial acrobatics and a subsequent appeal by Ms. Davis. According to Ms. Davis her decision is based on her religious convictions.

In one sense she is correct. There is no way to reconcile the Bible and homosexual "marriage". No matter how committed the relationship, you cannot draw an equivalence between two men sodomizing one another regardless of how long it has been going on or how much they love one another and a marriage between a man and woman. That characterization may seem jarring to our tender ears by putting the defiling act of homosexuality in the place of priority but what defines homosexuality is the act, an act that has been considered disordered and unnatural for thousands of years, and not without reason.

On the other hand, the church long ago abdicated our responsibility and permitted us to be unequally yoked with Caesar in the matter of marriage. Greedily seeking after tax and pension benefits we took from Caesar and now he is taking back, leaving us in this ridiculous state. Ms. Davis is an employee of Caesar no matter her faith. When you work for Caesar and swear an oath of office (another Biblical violation), you have to do Caesar's bidding.

So what does that have to do with the Schleitheim Confession? As a reminder, the 6th article of the Anabaptist confession deals with the sword and as part of that deals with the office of the magistrate:
Thirdly, it will be asked concerning the sword, Shall one be a magistrate if one should be chosen as such? The answer is as follows: They wished to make Christ king, but He fled and did not view it as the arrangement of His Father. Thus shall we do as He did, and follow Him, and so shall we not walk in darkness. For He Himself says, He who wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. Also, He Himself forbids the (employment of) the force of the sword saying, The worldly princes lord it over them, etc., but not so shall it be with you. Further, Paul says, Whom God did foreknow He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, etc. Also Peter says, Christ has suffered (not ruled) and left us an example, that ye should follow His steps.
Finally it will be observed that it is not appropriate for a Christian to serve as a magistrate because of these points: The government magistracy is according to the flesh, but the Christian's is according to the Spirit; their houses and dwelling remain in this world, but the Christian's are in heaven; their citizenship is in this world, but the Christian's citizenship is in heaven; the weapons of their conflict and war are carnal and against the flesh only, but the Christian's weapons are spiritual, against the fortification of the devil. The worldlings are armed with steel and iron, but the Christians are armed with the armor of God, with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God. In brief, as in the mind of God toward us, so shall the mind of the members of the body of Christ be through Him in all things, that there may be no schism in the body through which it would be destroyed. For every kingdom divided against itself will be destroyed. Now since Christ is as it is written of Him, His members must also be the same, that His body may remain complete and united to its own advancement and upbuilding.
Being a magistrate carries with it a responsibility and tacit understanding of being willing to do Caesar's bidding and carrying out Caesar's laws. If a Christian serves as an agent of Caesar while trying to follow Christ at the same time, inevitably something will have to give and more often than not it is following Christ. I affirm that you cannot be following Christ while killing your enemy as soldier of Caesar to give just one example, although it is the most obvious one. Another one would be an officer of the court that is charged with evicting a family from their home for non-payment. The law is clear, you don't pay what you owe and out you go. That is the law and whether it is just or not it is the law. How then can a Christian act as Caesar's agent in throwing the family out of their home?

That is why Anabaptists have traditionally stayed clear of being magistrates or even voting in elections. When you do either you become an agent of the state or a supporter of an agent of the state and they are bound to run into stuff that is contrary to the teachings of the faith. Ms. Davis is right to not issue a license for something that God has decreed to people who live counter to what God has declared. She also ought to resign if there is no other option. Christians should not willingly put ourselves in a place where we have to choose loyalties between the God of Creation and the god of this world, between Christ and Caesar.

Each day the simple wisdom of the historic Anabaptists looks smarter and more critical to study and understand.

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