W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
A Place for
under International Arbiters ?
Where is the
righteousness that "exalts a nation" ? (Proverbs 14:34)
The Morals of God are not For Sale
or National Restoration,
Signals to the Unwary, Signs to the Impenitent and a Call to the Spiritual Foundations that Endure
The Advertiser, May 12,1997 et al.. We learn of a 'front' for extreme right wing reaction; elsewhere, of 'surprise' that a right-wing party has been so slow to form in this country. Left and right may be fine for marching, but what is left of what is right when humanitarian insensitivity on the one hand, and reckless indulgence on the other, vie and compete ? Left or right, where is the foundation ?
and compete ? Left or right, where is the foundation ?
Updated July 1997
This is a land which was once colonised by a great power, that of the British Empire. That Empire in turn, was ruled from a land in which the Bible was the authoritatively ensconced book from God.
It was, formally, a Protestant country to which the Bible served not as a reference book, but as an instituted directive at the ecclesiastical level, tempered by a freedom which did not enforce it, though mistakenly at times it did limit the prerogatives of those who did not receive it, and worse assault the liberties of those who holding it, yet did not hold to the latest theological modes or episcopal oppressions.
Scotland in the earlier days was a chief beneficiary of these evils and errors, though in time the oppression of political powers using the church yielded to the deadly oppression of unbelief in this national church, in which the Bible was simply jettisoned nicely, with casuistical contrivances, so that what once made the nation great, now sapped it with worldly wits, dead among the dead, spouting the latest uprisings against God as if they had reverential benediction.
Despite all this, there were various constructive movements in the church and in the nation, some of great and beneficial force, so that at its best and in various segments for a time, the British Empire had an outstanding contribution, measured by the more hateful greed and oppression of harsher Empires before and after. Thus in Time Magazine, July 28, 1997, we find some reflection of this more virtuous trend in a letter (p.9):
"The real shame of Hong Kong's handover [June 30] is that neither the Chinese monarchists, nationalists nor communists have been able to accomplish in the mainland what the British did through their colonial administration of Hong Kong. Colonialism in general has a had an ugly and venal past, but not so the British version. To be sure, the British may seem to be stereotypically aloof, superior and uncompromising, but wherever they went they performed better than their predecessors and successors. They brought democracy, made a better civilisation for people, and fostered in their subjects the cultural values of the British people: strength of character, integrity, discipline and above all incorruptibility."
This then was on the topic of Hong Kong and the relative freedoms *1 and integrities which the British and the current Communist Chinese mode were indicating, each for its own. Stably back of that Britishness was the Bible with its formal position in the State, however ill-advisedly joined to the church too intimately. A non-Christian body in reality is no governor for a Christian one.
Yet the mutual penetrations of the time were in some things salutary, though in the end seductive, as one may see by following more recently, the returning Archbishops centred in the Lambeth palace, sedulously swarming towards Rome with its famed casuistries, moving from the Bible and resting less in what God requires than in what the people seem to want, and their own preferred concepts to require. (A Question of Gifts, pp. 47ff.)
This extreme however has been a relatively modern development. Certainly, the form of sound words was far nearer in Australia than might otherwise have been the case; and its majestic realities wrought much in the ways of the nation, legally, morally and culturally, despite the rampant paganism which sought, like a cornered fox, to run in among the chickens with murderous intent.
In fact, Australia had its reference in its Constitution to "Almighty God", and did not Victoria in the 1851 Constitution, for example, make Christianity the "preferred religion"!
Sundays were days, to a significant civic extent, of rest. Various moral adventures, or more precisely immoral ones, were less than mainstream; and what is sometimes referred to as hypocrisy, could better and more objectively be styled an expected standard of morals, and a British background in spiritual emphasis which, however much it may have been - and was - flouted, was nevertheless an unavoidable presence, and often an unspoken bar for thought and conscience. In the days of Menzies as Prime Minister, such emphasis was considerable, for example. Though form alone is no adequate norm, the form of sound words serves at least as reminder, not least of the meaning of freedom and the power of truth; and when they are the word of God, their power is intrinsic and searching.
A land of restraint, without dictators, with some rein on banana republicanism, freelance history re-writers, government by wildness in the wilderness, with an intense love of freedom: it had much in the way of blessing. It is not only the skies and the shores in which we might look for beauty; and cancers can be worse than physical. Not that it was by any means a Christian country; but it had a substantial relish of it.
Then the winds of clever-clever resistance to truth and justice and peace became focussed, perhaps with the sapping force and the effort of two World Wars of involvement with Britain - a situation which undeniably was not one-sided, for the Japanese might not have quaked at the Australian defence forces, and the U.S. had a Britain which had bravely and for long borne with Hitler's worst, before, much better prepared, it entered the conflict in a form of unison.
From whatever erosive forces, gradually, Sunday turned from a day of rest at the official level, with much restraint, to a day of sport quietly increasing, then commerce, then the Brown business of Rundle Mall opening of course on Sundays, and then questions of whether some shop-keepers, not in thrall to commerce, but with lives beyond, might suffer disadvantage BECAUSE of the thraldom to commerce, and its prostitution of life so readily found just behind it. It was as if principles were so forgotten than the (imagined) commercial advantage, sanctified by reference to world competitiveness, was enthroned, mammon in control, with not much more than a whimper.
Sunday is funday, has become the increasing norm; and the seeking for reality and righteousness is assuredly far from being at an all-time high!
Sex perversion has become a right, protectable in this way and that, although if this were everybody's deluded practice, no race would have existed. The scorn and scoffing to the Maker of our designs (see SMR Chs.1-3,10) has become institutionalised, and probably Sodom and Gomorrah would reel at the self-righteous strutting which characterises the insistence on 'normalcy' to what if normal, would have had not race in which to be normal.
Religion is increasingly downgraded *2 to become the prerogative of culture, the production of society, while the fear of God Almighty is so absent, that in South Australia He is mocked daily through the kind offices of the DSS, which has fooled the schools into what appears a submission to monstrous vilification of the Christian faith, and of any 'faith' which proclaims an objective source of divine direction. And this ? without ground, undefended upon challenge, indefensible.
In former days, John Howard seemed to lean to some sort of British past, some restraint on the rate of change; not at all racism, but rather a relish may have moved him. It is quite conceivable that the nature of the inherited achievements and of certain underlying principles may have moved him. Racism is indeed quite justly deemed an absurdity. It is not what the racial background may happen to be, but what are the principles and morals, the spiritual approach and aptitude of a nation - which is more to the point. Has the Bible become then a product of men, while mankind, the product of God, thumbs its collective Australian nose to the author of their ability to do so ?
Many have tried this style, without spectacular results, the most recent being what was the USSR. The USA is likewise moving from its moorings, till debased Christianity of the theologians of the day - the false prophets who make the Bible a place on which to launch their own thoughts, 'Christ' a name of glory from which to move in opposite directions - and irrational scepticism become the new bar, the new way. Increasingly, here is to be seen the new basis for the nation at the effectual top level of administration; while power politics and its abysmal lack of idealism and any spiritual ideology, looms like a devil mocking at truth and justice.
Now what ? Again the Prime Minister, John Howard was reported to indicate that he does not see he should tell people what to do morally. Accordingly, the obscene vulgarities, the invasive sludge of the debased spirit with considerable freedom produces, markets or moulds the pornographic jet-set, whose services, we are told by some concerned, would cost so many jobs and so much in dollars, were they to cease the corruptive supply of their wares. And the Prime Minister who did not negate or greatly limit the field, he gives some evidence of being far beyond many in spiritual sensibility. In fact, there is a perfectly vital distinction between 'telling people what to do' and requiring them to do it; moral vision fearlessly held and never suppressed, and political dictation.
There is much that is needed, even amongst our most outstanding politicians.
There are however no 'merely political' solutions. People must act first; and in seeking the Lord, act where the power of truth and the righteousness which does not change, lies.
A 'right wing' movement ? says one paper of a new Australian political party - the marvel is that we did not have one sooner, it declaims! A "front operation" for right-wing extremists, says Treasurer Peter Costello of one rightist movement. It was the same in the U.S. when my wife and I were in a pastoral situation in Chicago in 1969. There was a form of religion known as conservative, which meant either spiritual or godlessly conservative of selected elements of the past; and could equally mean faith or fiasco. While in some points it is clear, in fundamentals it is often cosily soft, inchoate and untutored.
The term 'conservative' was so broad in the U.S. that its very inclusiveness tended to stultify its use, unless it were carefully defined. What was the position semantically was mirrored socially; so that, for example, one of our main directors was not present in a crucial meeting, because a secret society claimed his prior attention. With its greater religious past than is the case in this country, the U.S. conservative movement - diffuse as it is - tends to be more religious than is the case in this country.
In fact, it seems clear that many Christians would regard such terms as irrelevant, a political label misused and ambiguous, and speak, as would I, of being liberal with righteousness, conservative of truth, prizing mercy and labouring with diligence for goodness in the power of God, armed with the Gospel of redemption without which molten political mishmashes are more likely to yield either marshallows or knives.
The Christian may approach this matter without difficulty. Truth is very exacting and very exact; and without the face of Jesus Christ the crucified, who defines it, and the word of God giving it written expression, political panaches can and do readily remove the most basic of freedoms, whether through rot, riot or misrule. A gracious basis is readily squandered, even where freedom is considerable. Conservative ? liberal ?
In fact, such terms apart, the groping on the part of some in this country includes elements such as these:
1) back-to-design civic codes for those beings known as human, male and female. Departures need not be absolutised and mythicised because some choose such things, acting as they will in private. Hence a cessation of the pretence that perversion is normal.
2) the return to modesty in Government, so that liberty to lose 3 billion in unsafe investment, or market play, or to sacrifice many on the altar of gambling, making the places attractive the better to beset people with such weaknesses, is replaced with the liberty to govern with moderation and restraint, rather than following, wise too late, the cunning lure.
3) the recognition that this country has a SPECIFIC past and background, being founded in a British nation's activities which included a reverential OFFICIAL position towards the word of God, the Bible, together with a freedom to live differently without molestation; but WITHOUT, on the other hand, secular and pagan sanctions to address those who wish freedom to speak the truth without themselves being molested by vagrant laws, rammed into the mouth of truth, as if government were a form of dentistry. Distinctives that have helped make this land attractive can be squandered, like other capital.
4) A sounder attitude to unemployment, so that value for payment is expected without question, within the norms otherwise at work for mutual concern and mercy; and doles are not paid as a form of unmitigated right, but as a privilege with commercial consequences.
5) A sounder approach to debased attitudes to families such as create State-wards with State-funds, supported as if this were the most natural thing in the world. Thus promiscuity is a freedom which is not appropriate for State subsidy, because, quite simply, multitudes of tax-payers cannot wisely be expected to underwrite the sexual extravaganzas or libertine philosophies of people who refuse to support themselves in the process. It is as simple as that.
6) A sounder attitude to education. The State intrusion of evolution first, always, at the flag pole with hand on heart (excuse the anachronism, going back to the thirties in Primary Schools, where a different loyalty was expressed by this sort of means - times and modes change, but the loyalties themselves ?), such that discriminatory examinations greet the year 12 student, discriminatory use of teacher-time obtains, so that equal and fair attention is not given scientifically to the options, with informed critiques on each as a necessary academic exercise: that is nothing to do with education.
Informed and objective presentation is required, for the purposes of assessment by students: this or nothing. By all means, what can be demonstrated to fall, let it. If this is too much, propaganda is much worse. Freedom or nothing in the State schools, in this sphere, is a fair option.
7) A sounder attitude to crime. If a criminal elects to invade a house or garden, or steal, certainly this is a risk with results that can cause death, if a householder, alarmed and feeling threatened, retaliates.
Without condoning excessive use of force, we should remember that the thief and violator is in general at the outset engaged in just that, through breaking into the confines of someone else's space and security and ipso facto is a danger which could cause death. Hence ludicrous pay-outs to those inflicting themselves in this way on others, and in many like cases, where blame is so meticulously measured that the innocent are victimised in the interests of 'sick' people who are to be exonerated: this should cease.
There is ALWAYS a standard of judgment: at one extreme, certainly, it can be this - that sickness is an amoral force which exempts those concerned from restoring what they freely break, spoil or outrage; that attitudes are social debits for which society must pay, and so forth. All these things have MUST, RIGHT and WRONG quite as much as any other code; and why such inanities should intrude into justice, re-enforcing the right to be wrong, and assisting breach of the realities of life in the nation, is unclear.
In fact, as we all can experience at any moment, we have our own elements in decisions, whatever may be the background, and the ignoring of aspects of truth is no more justice than is a hard-hearted failure to consider the provocations. (Cf. Predestination and Freewill, from our Front Page.) The thought that being determined, determines that all is determined, may have determination in its promulgation; but it is its own death. With that base, nothing is known, including this philosophy.
Government by irrational extremes should cease, and we should return to the righteousness that provides righteous fruit in self-control, courage and character that is not a mere hedonistic outburst, sybaritic thrust or riotous rage.
8) There should be a sounder attitude to religion. Gone at once should be the demonstrably irrational political follies which subordinate truth to culture, while making culture the truth as seen by the individual who says so, and hence by implication has complete access to truth in the very act of denying it. Such self-contradictions are neither scholarly nor interesting. Truth should be freely pursued, not rancidly enforced when it is demonstrably a fatuous substitute for it.
It is not least because Christianity - with its document in print, the Bible, and in flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ - persistently demonstrates this irrevocable power, that the world should look to Him rather than to itself, which it neither made nor understands. (See SMR Chs.1-3,10). "Taste and see that the Lord is good," is a further aspect readily verifiable (Psalm 34:8).Yet there should be freedom: lest a secular State play god yet more and more; and without doubt, it lacks both His power and His wisdom. Christ died under force, as predicted, planned and required for the salvation of those who come to Him for salvation; but He did not kill, corrode liberty or dictate to the vacant ear.
It is time, in government matters, that religions were given a rein to act and teach according as they can stand up to rational (not philosophically intrusive, propagandising rationalistic) enquiry in the academic places of the State, with a freedom and a self-control which is more than a face-saver; or else be left alone at State educative level. And this ? it includes the case of implicative religion, religion real enough in the preaching, but unadmitted. Such a case is found in the S.A. school situation, an old-fashioned existentialist subjectivity is the dogma par excellence. This premature, immature substitute for logic and scholarship is merely one of the reactionary follies of the land revealed as if in mockery or in self-condemnation, in the notorious Circular to Principals, January 1988.
FREEDOM IS LACERATED while RIGHTEOUSNESS is put in restraint. Freedom ? Yes. But where ? Not in this field.
This is not to deny an element of freedom which persists; merely to point out that when tens of thousands of children and young people are forcibly put in these philosophic strait-jackets at tax-payer expense, it is nothing short of untempered folly, and is a slave trade which makes any thought of freedom of religion one requiring intensive qualification. But what of effort ?
9) There is need of a better regard for effort. Is every soul to be so pampered and so treated that appalling lacks in education, such as in word power, mathematical power, knowledge of world basics in geography and history are to be the quite expectable partner of those who spend 10 years - I find it too hard even to mention more - in school ?
Is indulgence to replace realism ? Is the sacrifice of children on the basis of warped and ultimately destructive psychologies to be the new look so that real effort is not required, and the paraphernalia of advance is dismantled in the thrust for pleasure and self-esteem ? Is this to be engendered by psychological techniques, and the use of talents with zest to be replaced by
an indifference to standards ? Is virtual imagery to replace factual reality ? And where does a refusal to face the facts lead ? in any discipline ?
While talk may go on about new ways of monitoring the disaster area in education which we, with the U.S., have tended to engender, the underlying psychologies are in general relaxants that imperil life in a world where there is far more than this to consider. Mercy must be free, but indulgence merely corrupts; while pretence is mere deceit.
10) Freedom of speech ought also to be on a far stronger basis. If logic can be used one way, let the answer be heard without fear or favour. Here Prime Minister, John Howard deserves some praise. The background studiously wrought, for free speech, free discussion and unpre-empted movements in thought is not to be discarded in favour of a social fear which has nothing more on its mind than power to make money while the pawned item, yes sold, the human soul is scrupulously thrust into its box, lest it should upset somebody.
In this, you
very readily get what you ask for. Is Australia to be a spiritually supine
recipient of directives from the U.N., sometimes of an amusingly unworkable
kind, while freedom is traded in for conformity to international standards,
whatever their heredity may be, and their spawn ? If so, the voters know
how to ask for it. Is the UN so illustrious ? Is the international body
so informative, is radiance and reality alike to be found in its countenance,
and do its works follow it like a glorious wake ?
(See Appendix 1 infra, The Mystery of Iniquity, for details.)
As to the last point, they do; except that it gives no evidence of being glorious. In this, it is wholly unlike Jesus Christ.
11) Standards ? Are we, again, like pre-Wilberforce England awash with slavery without enough regard to the intolerable cruelties promoting wealth, to seek cheap goods internationally WITHOUT REGARD to what is called 'human rights', but what might better be termed incredible and sustained cruelty ? Whatever the race and whatever the place, it is no right place for Australia to fortify oppression elsewhere, any more than at home. It is gross to talk of commercial gain in such a setting. Do we cease to be concerned if the skin has a different colour, neither brown nor white, but yellow ? DO WE 'BUY INTO' what is a source of oppression and torment, and reap the gain ?
It is not a 'conservative right' which is needed but a realistic assessment of the past of this nation, of the grounds which have made it so intensely attractive to so many, of the costs to many to sustain those grounds, and an end to wild-eyed irrationalism which imagines that God is mocked, and can be forcibly mocked by empty panderings to the mobilities and modalities of hedonism or opportunism, whether commercially expressed or in any other way. The sale of the human soul can be a mass phenomenon, enveloping much of a nation. It should be realised that the sale has an income, and an outgo. The latter is the soul itself.
This ? gone in no small part to other management, the cost manifests itself as in the Communist spectaculars and the Fascist splendours of a day, which qualify in the end for garbage, this time tinged with a radio-activity which serves to remind: GOD IS NOT MOCKED. His word still rings as it did for thousands of years: Jeremiah called then as call must now be made (8:7-8):
"Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times,
And the turtledove, the swift and the swallow observe the time of their coming,
But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord.
How can you say, 'We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us?'
Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood,
The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken.
Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord,
So what wisdom is in them!"
"What iniquity did your fathers find in Me,
That they have gone far from Me,
Have followed idols and have become idolaters ?"
See again Isaiah 26:13-14 - "Other lords besides Thee have had dominion over us; but by Thee only will we make mention of Thy name. They are dead, they shall not live."
Will the nation
continue restlessly riven and in parallel with both vice and spiritual
vacuity as lords of the land ? Is not Christ available for Gentiles as
well as for Israel of old ? Will an oak be traded for a
thistle ? (Cf. SMR Chs.3-4, 10.) Even Isaiah (11:10) over two and one half millenia ago predicted the Messiah saying:
"And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people"
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious."
(Cf. SMR Ch.9, including the initial survey.)
Peace is found in purity and repentance, in returning to the Lord, in a basis that stands, on a rock which does not crack, on a foundation immutable, in the Lord who has shone, fulfilling His word, from Bethlehem to this day. There is no other light, but reflection, deflection and darkness. As that Christ Himself put it (Matthew 6:23), "If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness!" And in darkness ? It is in that that one stumbles (cf. Jeremiah 13:16-17.)
It is time to seek the Lord whose mercy is free and whose truth undefiled; or to acknowledge other lords of lesser kind, each with price tag, strictly for temporary use, from the idols counter. (Cf. SMR Chs.1,4,7,10; and Isaiah .) If bought - and the attraction seems intense - this would be, in declared form, The Other Australia.
It is time to seek the Lord whose mercy is free and whose truth undefiled; or to acknowledge other lords of lesser kind, each with price tag, strictly for temporary use, from the idols counter. (Cf. SMR Chs.1,4,7,10; and Isaiah .) If bought - and the attraction seems intense - this would be, in declared form, The Other Australia.
Life is not a country or a community
ruling; it is God who made it, who bade it be abundant and without whom
it is a joke, a mockery and a reductionist, indeed virtually surrealist
residue, a sour and poignant residue, husk without grain, ashes blowing
about what could have been splendid. With HIS provision, like dental care,
but realised in
resurrection not mere restoration,
there is beauty and truth, peace and stability (cf. Ezekiel 21:27, Isaiah 55:1-6).
In The London Free Press, Canada, Monday, July 14, 1997, there is an interesting addition to this matter. There is soon to be a handover of another inlet of international kind, to China. In Dec.20, 1999 the Portuguese colony of Macau is to be handed over. There was of course a fundamental religious difference between the two colonial powers concerned.
The contrast in the assessment of what was done for this colony, or what is the opinion of what was done, is provocative of some thought. Deeming the British handling of Hong Kong immeasurably superior in the conspicuous areas of crime, justice and safety, the writer of this extensive article proceeds, p.A2 of the Regional Edition:
'While not keen on the Chinese, few in Macau have anything good to say about the departing Portuguese or their mixed race allies, the Macaenses. The Portuguese are not nearly as popular as the British were in Hong Kong. They often are accused of corruption, of turning a blind eye to the antics of the triads and being impotent when confronted by the crooks from the mainland. The British did a very good job, Ben Ku said. "The biggest thing is that they made the laws the same for everyone in Hong Kong." '
Without going into details relative to this viewpoint, the concept of the popularity of the British and the cause of it, put by a tour guide and here quoted within the substantial article in this newspaper, is worthy of note in the popular conception area. The statistics on crime and criminal, loose, immoral activities also given are staggering.
The MORALS of GOD are NOT for SALE
The Natural, The Supernatural and the Unnatural
For the record, since a Uniting Church speaker has recently been reported (The Australian, May 9, p.7) as declaring that God in the Bible is silent on sexual orientation (topic, homosexuality): it might help to read for information on that topic what is written in that place. Included are: Ephesians 5:3, I Corinthians 5:11, 6:9,18, Romans 1:19-20,24-27, I Timothy 1:9-10, II Peter 2:1-3, Leviticus 18:22-28. The last is an evocative and excoriating passage, with extreme international implications noted: not a 'mere' commandment. Listen then!
Precisely for such things - "abominations", we read, God removed Israel's precursors! The land that did this "spewed out" its people at His will. Whatever a person's will may be, the text of the Bible is exceedingly clear.
In Romans, the Leviticus position is mirrored - a position someone called GOD has on a creation of His, called man: and HE should know, does know and does declare the character of the matter in hand: death is fitting where design in this is not followed, and perversion strictly so-called is wrought. Thus Romans 1:20-32 has this wreath for the altar of perversion (as at a death, a funeral, not a laurel wreath). It states this - that WHEN they knew God they:
a) did NOT GLORIFY Him as GOD, and
b) were NOT THANKFUL, so that they became
c) VAIN in their imaginations, and their imaging, and
d) had FOOLISH hearts which were DARKENED. Indeed, they
e) PROFESSED themselves to be wise, while in fact being FOOLS.
As a result, they moved from the actual God - to one who is not the eternal,
not omniscient, to one whose understanding is not infinite, who does change.
In this, they became contrary to God - (Malachi 3:6, Psalm 147:5), whose word is Truth (John 14:6, 12:49, 17:14-17, Matthew 24:35, Jeremiah 23:17-34, Isaiah 8:20); for theirs was some other image.
And then ? this is what happened next (Romans 1:24-26):
a) GAVE THEM UP - they became God-forsaken in their ways.
b) yielded them to UNCLEANNESS through lusts, and
c) suffered them to DISHONOUR their own bodies.
What prevailed in this sequence ? Let us see.
a) changed the truth of God into a lie.
b) worshipped part of creation more than the Creator.
c) were given up to vile affections.
d) changed the natural sexual usage - to what is "against nature" (1:23-25).
In 1:26, what is so "against nature", "against the natural function" is "vile" affection by divine definition. 1:27 refers to "men with men" committing "the shameless deed" (NASV). The REASON the passions are referred as "degrading" is actually stated: "FOR" , we read" their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural".
Stronger language, temperate in objectivity, deeply probing in evaluation, could scarcely be imagined from Paul, as he weds words with deeds to strike out this sin like a plague, as indeed it was in Sodom which paid the just reward (Jude 7) in terms of their going after "strange flesh", paying the punishment of eternal fire, as that Biblical passage indicates, summing up both cause and consequence. And Paul, he is the one who "received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His name." (Romans 1:5-6). And those at Rome ? where do they fit in ? Why, they are "among" those nations, as "the called of Jesus Christ."
What then of Paul's command in the name of the Lord (cf. I Cor. 2:9-13, 14:37), as later in this context, at Romans 16:17, in the light of these facts and affirmations, in Romans 1:5-6 and allied places. What then is the status of Paul's injunction in Romans 16 concerning aberrant doctrine, departing teachers and the like: it is absolute, universal, of incalculable force.
Thus here the international becomes national, the general specific, the generic is exemplified.
First however note the emphasis expressed in the phrase "obedience to the faith" - that shown in Romans 6-8: that faith works. Like a car it is manufactured by others than the driver who receives it; but once it is on the road, it works. That, it is because it is a good car. It is a car which knows its lord; just as the child of God knows his Father, and has plenty of power (Ephesians 1:19) supplied with which to serve. The grace which supplies the car (for in this case we do not pay) must never be confused with the power by which it runs; nor may its imperfections in use - since we are still sinners though not under the dominion of sin (John 8:31-32, Matthew 7:22ff.) - be confused with wilful abuse, or departing, loving this present world. That is not what God's children are.
Let us then revert to his moral and doctrinal teaching at length in Romans 1, as later in this context, to Romans 16:17 and what that implies concerning separation that is spiritually defined, not carnally impelled.
Romans 1:24 with 26 affirms and re-affirms the divine Lord abandoning what had wilfully cast itself away.
Thus when GOD GAVE THEM UP, these 'slightly healed' people as it would appear (cf. Matthew 13:21-22 where the word died in shallow hearts with unbroken - unrepentant hardness underneath; Jeremiah 6:14), and this because of their spiritual inventions: then they changed the natural usage in sexuality. It was vile, and it was one of the RESULTS of being forsaken.
It was AGAINST NATURE. God characterises it as lust, whatever they say; and God is here making it clear that it is PRECISELY the turning from HIM and what HE has to say and to declare and to define, that constitutes the FOOLISHNESS, which is VANITY. UNCLEANNESS is defined as per the word of God who is here objecting to its overthrow, disregard and the change in Him which is implicit in the rejection of what HE calls worthy of death; of what HE calls natural; and of what HE calls clean.
It is a rejection so total that DEATH penalty, to the minds of those here called reprobate, is to be regarded as wrong-headed. That is, GOD in HIS definition of man and mankind has to be revised; and another god is on stage; and that is of course the god of this world.
JUST AS they did not like to retain GOD in their minds, so God gave them up to a REPROBATE MIND. That then is the mind that condemns the word of God by asserting its own, worshipping the creation in its images, especially itself as the new purveyor of what God thinks; and hence becomes an enemy of God, God-forsaken. That is incontestably the teaching here.
Thus JESUS CHRIST indicated in extremely categorical terms that He did not come to ABROGATE the LAW, but to FULFIL IT (Matthew 5:17ff.).
When death becomes life, and condemnation becomes commendation, when unclean becomes clean, and detestation becomes acceptation: then we know that a divinely defined "reprobate mind" is in view, which may indeed declare ANYTHING of its affections; just as adulterers with those of the opposite gender may; but it is still death, so that Paul declares in I Corinthians 5:11 that COMPANY must NOT be kept with so-called Christians who, amongst other things, are "fornicators" - that is loose users of sex other than as Biblically prescribed as correct. Indeed, in I Corinthians 6:9, he spells out in ignominious detail the list of what excludes from the kingdom of heaven, including perverse practices in sexuality.
THIS, he says ...DON'T YOU KNOW ? is what is the position: SUCH PEOPLE SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD. "Be not deceived!" he warns. Now if they did, Paul would be WRONG, presuming to categorise for the kingdom of God Himself in the future, while in fact it would be otherwise!
That then is no "mere" cultural matter (cf. Romans 1:5-6 where the "obedience to the faith among all nations" was exposited, earlier in this Item); nor was it in Leviticus where God Himself specified definitively for human relationships; nor was it so by inspiration of Paul from the God who is beyond culture, and whose word, being truth, does not capitulate to it in declaring what is right and wrong: for HE is God, and man is flesh (I Corinthians 2:9-13).
As to God: He does not hide His word in some secret place (Isaiah 48:16). Indeed, in that very place, He declares that idols say things which DO NOT come to pass, while HE ALWAYS is reliable in fulfilling precisely and exactly and always JUST what He says. He would exclude Himself, if His alterers prevailed! (Cf. SMR pp. 422Q-T.) Christ, "the same", the wisdom of God (Heb. 13:8, I Cor. 1:24,27-31) shames the world!
The issues are drawn. It is God or another. It is the god of this age or the God who made all ages. It is the truth or a lie; it is a howl or holiness. It is wolves or wisdom; and the fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING of wisdom.
Further: was Paul a master-builder of the church (I Corinthians 3:10 affirms that he was), and was he divinely inspired to issue commands in the name of the Lord (I Corinthians 14:37 affirms that he was), so that if any man thought himself spiritual, he was to acknowledge Paul as sent! Paul, in specifying his inspiration for revelation (I Corinthians 2:9-13), makes it clear that it is GOD who gives BOTH the words and the material, conveying in His own way, the substance and the communication means to ensure the teaching was correct.
Hence it is not PAUL but GOD who would be wrong! for there is no limit, qualification or other restriction whatever. To add here is to defy the word of God (Proverbs 30:6), and to identify oneself, if teaching so, in the terms specified by the apostle to the Ephesians elders ( Acts 20:28-30): the howlings of wolves. It is unpleasant: hell is more so. This is what is taught; and it is what nature teaches, as the word of God expressly declares.
Now how does one know that it is false teaching ? because it contradicts the apostle who warned of its onset ? or because it agrees with him ? WHAT is the nature of a warning from the apostle who tells them he has preached the whole counsel of God to them (Acts 20:27), except to identify diversions of false teaching in terms of the true: namely that given by him as master builder, who spoke his doctrine as inspired by God, matter and expression, and laid it down not as TAUGHT of men, but as TAUGHT of God, explicitly.
Other gods, as specified in Romans where it deals at length with perversion, are in view for such affairs; and a reprobate mind is the container unit for ignoring what is of NATURE and specifying for sexual orientation what is AGAINST it, in conduct or teaching. It was DOING those things which are "not convenient" which summed up the perversions noted by the apostle Paul; it was being "against nature" which expressly characterised them.
Fornication, Biblically defined, since Christ came to FULFIL the law, and Paul indicates he does not abort the law, but ESTABLISHES it for practice (Romans 3:31): is one expression of the reprobate mind which is so oriented, so regards and so practises. It embraces every sleight of sex in human relationships, taken as a way of life. And this, says Paul ? it results from being God-forsaken. It is part of the itinerary OUTSIDE the KINGDOM of God. And that ? it is a matter of "receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved" so that we "may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear" (Hebrews 12:28) - for God is a "consuming fire", of indescribable purity.
It is this God into the gates of whose city, as John tells us in Revelation 21:8, "those who engage in unlawful sexual intercourse" (Greek - pornois) - shall not enter. That, very definitely, again marks the end of the matter, as John is careful to express it in 22:18. God is not mocked, and is not immoral, whose apostle roundly condemned that misinterpretation of "grace" which was that "sin might abound". Saved without works (Romans 3:28), we are directed as to the expression of that free salvation, without itch or hitch (I Timothy 4:1).
What then is to be done in such a case, therapeutically, theologically, spiritually ?
Naturally, the solution to the whole matter lies in the supernatural diction of deity, not the international contradiction of the UN, or some uniting Church or any other body that by toleration sanctions rebellion, Biblically defined.
To enshrine such activities and attitudes in a law is merely, after all, to legislate rebellion. Nationally, however, it is righteousness which exalts a nation (Proverbs 14:34), whilst "sin is a disgrace to any people". People are judged by their use of liberty, be they free as you please; and having it does not sanctify its use for all purposes! Man is answerable to God in every aggregation, at that particular level, and will always remain so.
What then is the divine requirement for sin in general: it is repentance from its mind and kind, with faith in the finished work of Christ, in Him personally, in His mercy, goodness, truth and gospel, leading to a new heart, an imputed righteousness and action in the power of God who raised Christ physically from the dead: a new way (John 6; 15; Romans 3; 5; 6-8; 10:9; I Corinthians 15:1-3; I John 3).
What God especially detests, we see in the last verse of Romans 1, is the practice not only of the sin, but the willingness to "give hearty approval to those" who practise it (NASV). In other words, this is their milieu. To illustrate: it is like a child who is not only rude, but relishes and devises means for it, co-operates and co-ordinates with those of like mind, as if in an unruly school. It is really quite simple: the natural according to the rules of the supernatural, the created person in accord with his/her Creator, or lapse with possible extension to cherished rebellion - and then of course, to the finale of actually teaching it.
Those who do this are required to be left (Romans 16:17, cf. Titus 3:10), by the "apostle to all nations" who minces no matters and makes no exceptions. Whereas once in the unnatural case, it was death as shown in Leviticus, now it is departure which must ensue. In either case, the type of community involved is not suffered to Sodomise, as in the present case, to acquiesce in unrighteousness, far less is it to teach it! The Biblical emphasis on cleanness is all categories is intense and immense, as we see not only in the extraordinary development of the concept and practice in many ways in Old Testament law, but in Ephesians 5:1-17, where the emphasis is on ALL uncleanness, in what is virtually the most categorical exhortation conceivable.
As to Paul, His role is as broad as the church is long (Ephesians 2:20, Acts 20:29-30, Psalm 11:3), whose God speaks the truth (John 14:6) without turning (James 1:17), to the redeemed (I Corinthians 6:9-20), and relates as long as being "bought with a price" relates - indeed, till we see Him face to face (I Corinthians 13). The alternative ? "Awake you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light. See then you walk circumspectly and not as fools..."
Compassion exhorts, calls and helps; but it does not betray, condone or acquiesce in what is Biblically defined as folly in the name of the God of truth and Creator of man. Membership of unrepentant workers of Biblical uncleanness in a church is as far removed from the Bible as the sun from the moon; and indeed further: for association in fellowship is forbidden, and even the practice of eating where there is an issue ( I Corinthians 5-6). Each "team' gets on with its work, not playing golf on the cricket field; and if someone likes golf on cricket fields, then it is a simple matter of purchasing land and setting it up as a cricket field, and then proceeding to play golf on it - a strange practice certainly, and showing some conviction; but much better than playing games (of golf) where people are assembled and committing to playing cricket.
With God, it is not games: the matter is vital, crucial and ordained. Where these or other practices are tolerated - that is, proceed and are amplified in news and so forth for a given institution, the people of God are quite simply forbidden to be. The practices, where in, mean the people of God are out!
That is the Biblical teaching. The error does not have to be a matter of all in and always in; if the fellowship is "broad" enough to have these things occurring, the Christian way is narrow enough to require you to be elsewhere, or else you are implicated, involved in the fellowship by virtue of the character of the fellowship as defined by the Church.
It is not a matter of agreeing or not; it is a matter of purging it or leaving. Tolerating such things is NOT tolerating the word of God which - with incalculable force - condemns them and requires no such fellowship. It is ipso facto contrary teaching (Romans 16:17), as well as forbidden fellowship.
Where God is,
there is His love and there is His power also; and where His power is annulled
there you have another religion, as Paul equally predicts (II Timothy 3:5).
From such, says Paul, turn away. Lot was a little slow in leaving the area
of such practices, categorically condemned in the Book of Jude: and it
cost him more than a little. The mere presence in such an arena was a crucial
issue, and in the end he had to be hurried away.