Andy Jacobsen served as lay delegate to the WELS Synod Convention in Watertown, WI July 31-Aug 3. He gave an overview & update on the Convention, as well as what's new & good in our Synod. Additional links & documents can be found here.
We discuss the four voices that influence church teachings & practices. In the second half, we've got a sermon on the topic of predestination.
Today's excerpt comes from Grace Abounds, by Rev. Daniel Deutschlander, published by Northwestern Publishing House in 2015. This excerpt covers pp. 542-547.
“My heart knows me better than I know myself, so I’m gonna let it do all the talking.”
- KT Tunstall
In the recent homosexual marriage debate, the hearts have spoken. In the name of love, tolerance, and acceptance, our beloved state has changed its definition of marriage.
But there’s one problem: The arguments in favor of homosexual marriage don’t hold up.
Homosexuality is wrong. It always has been and always will be. No emotional plea, no legislation can change that fact.
You might not agree with me. I realize that. Under the banner of “tolerance,” I presume that you will read what I’ve got to say anyway.
I concede that you might be “born that way.” Really - we’re all born that way.
In the very first book of the Bible, God says that our inmost thoughts are “only evil all the time,” (Gen. 6:5). That verdict is as true today as it was in Noah’s day. God’s verdict is as true about me as it is about you.
And yes, that verdict is equally true on both sides of the marriage debate.
I’ll grant there may be a genetic predisposition toward certain behaviors. Such predisposition may certainly be an effect of sin’s corruption. Alcoholism, for example, may have a genetic link.
But being “born this way” does nothing to change the morality of a behavior. “I was born this way” does not absolve a person of culpability for their actions. And some actions are always wrong, even though a large group of people (what we call “society”) may loudly protest to the contrary. The truth of the matter remains unchanged, no matter how loudly that truth is challenged.
Take, for example, the rallying cry of the pro-homosexual marriage movement. “Love is love!” The implication is that I have no right to speak against the thoughts and innermost feelings of someone else’s heart - because love is a sacrosanct emotion.
Really? A person’s heart is the final authority, the final determinant of their actions? If the statement “Love is love, and love is sacred!” is true - it must be universally true.
Quite to the contrary, we know from experience that the emotion of love, by itself, is never enough justification for any particular action. Without an equal dose of the truth, any semblance of love simply degenerates into selfishness and depravity.
A husband deserts his family (all of whom, by the way, love him very much) and runs off with his mistress. Why does his love for his mistress trump the love of wife and children? What happened to his public commitment to his wife?
An advocacy group in Maryland has begun using the phrase “minor-attracted people” instead of the more offensive classifications commonly found in child-protection laws. “Love is love!”, they cry. What about the state’s love (and protection) for their most vulnerable citizens?
Despite our inmost thoughts being “only evil all the time,” we have not entirely taken leave of reasoning and common sense. No matter what bill the governor signs into law, the state cannot erase the voice of God’s law from our hearts. No matter how many parades and public affirmations, we cannot change morality. Nor can we negate our culpability - and all of us, homosexual or not, stood guilty in God’s court.
A solid dose of this truth must preface any talk about love.
Only after hearing this truth can we begin to discuss love. And we begin by examining our love in the light of God’s word: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins,” (1 John 4:10).
Love doesn’t condone what God condemns. That’s the truth.
And that truth seems to be strangely absent in this debate.