(GC) Kevin Deyoung on the World Vision Controversy–Why Is This Issue Different?

I don’t relish writing about the same thing over and over (especially in light of World Vision’s stunning and humble reversal of their two day-old hiring policy). Believe me, if there were never the need to talk about homosexuality again, no one would cheer louder than me. But that’s not the world we live in. So here’s one more post.

I received an email yesterday afternoon to this effect: Could someone please give a short, simple explanation as to why the issue of homosexuality is not like Christians differing on baptism or the millennium? Many Christians are willing to say homosexuality is wrong, but they’d rather not argue about it. Why not broker an “agree to disagree” compromise? Why can’t we be “together for the gospel” despite our differing views on gay marriage? Why is this issue any different?

1. Approving of homosexual behavior violates the catholicity of the church.

Read it all.


Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Church History, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

8 comments on “(GC) Kevin Deyoung on the World Vision Controversy–Why Is This Issue Different?

  1. Catholic Mom says:

    Don’t disagree with the writer, but I’m not sure that this article really deals with the totality of the possible other issues that could be mentioned. First and foremost is divorce, a subject that was spoken about in very strong terms by Jesus and about which the Western world was pretty much of one mind until very recently. The teaching about divorce is truly at the root of the entire Christian view of marriage (and of our relationship to other people) in a way that even the teaching about homosexuality (however important that may be) is not. While it is true that no Christian group celebrates divorce, yet it is pretty much a non-issue for Protestants, even very conservative Evangelical Protestants, these days. I can distinctly remember how amazed (in my 20’s) I was when I found this out. You have divorced and remarried pastors and divorced and remarried bishops, and many of these don’t even involve the debatable issue of whether or not adultery is grounds for divorce. So that’s one question that is always deflected.

    Then I would also say that the issue of infant/adult baptism is a pretty big one as well. I also distinctly remember in my teen years when a dear friend who belonged to an Evangelical denomination hinted very kindly that I wasn’t really baptized (with all the implications — for a Catholic at least — that flow from that) and that I might want to consider being re-baptized as an adult to be on the safe side. I would say my Church recognizing her baptism and her Church not recognizing mine (and by extension that of probably 80-90% of all Christians) would have to be a pretty big “agree to disagree” in order for us to continue to view each other as sisters in Christ.

    So it’s not totally naïve to ask “how come you guys can agree to disagree on some pretty huge stuff but this one is such a deal breaker that you can’t sit down at the same table with people you disagree with?”

  2. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Hi, Catholic Mom.

    You’re right, of course, that DeYoung doesn’t deal adequately with some of the other controversial issues that are sometimes held to be of a similar sort. He couldn’t in a short article like this. But what he does says, he says well, very clearly and emphatically and cogently.

    I agree with you in lamenting how many conservative Protestants and Anglicans have gravely compromised on the issue of divorce and remarriage. Personally, when I look back on where TEC began to cross a fateful Rubicon and went over a cliff morally, I think the decisive tipping point was indeed probably when General Convention in 1970 gave its approval to what amounts to little less than no-fault divorce and remarriage on demand. That’s when we capitulated to the Sexual Revolution of the 1960’s. (Of course, I recognize that some folks would put the fatal tipping point much earlier, back in 1930, when the Lambeth Conference gave its OK to the “responsible” use of birth control).

    As for the infant vs. “adult” baptism issue, that is far more complicated. Suffice to say that although DeYoung is proudly Reformed, and with his ethnic background I assume that’s as in the Dutch Reformed variety that practically insists on not only the propriety of baptizing the infant children of Christian believers but the virtual necessity of doing so (as opposed to Reformed Baptists like John Piper or Charles Spurgeon), there is still a huge problem that often goes unrecognized. And that is that the classic, primary defense of infant baptism among Reformed Christians (whether Dutch, Swiss, Scottish, German or English etc.) is, alas, on the fallacious grounds of the putative (but false) parallel with infant circumcision. That grossly mistaken way of defending the venerable ancient practice of infant baptism is blatantly anti-biblical. Infant baptism can be defended, of course, but NOT on that spurious basis.

    David Handy+

  3. Sarah says:

    RE: “how come you guys can agree to disagree on some pretty huge stuff but this one is such a deal breaker that you can’t sit down at the same table with people you disagree with?”

    The answer has always been crystal clear.

    One can see how somebody could be a Gospel-believer and believe in [fill in xyz baptism or divorce], however mistaken we may believe them.

    The amount of deconstruction of the Christian faith — Scripture, tradition, reason, the nature of man, sin, the Fall, repentance, salvation, sanctification — that has to take place in order to get to “we announce God’s blessing on sexual relationships between two men” is truly a devastating and crushing grinding into fine powder. Literally nothing is left by the time they’re finished, as this blog has amply demonstrated by carefully detailing the *accompanying worldview and practices* of those who are same sex activists/leaders in TEC and elsewhere.

    When I debate divorce or baptism with a Christian I can see that we’re “playing the same game” with the basic theological concepts of the Christian faith.

    That’s never been the case with those who purport to announce God’s blessing on sexual relationships between two men or two women. We’re not only not playing the same game, we’re not on the same playing field, or in the same moral universe at all.

  4. Milton says:

    #3 What Sarah said! When GLBT “Christians” deconstruct the Christian faith, all that’s left is a COEXIST bumper sticker, a luke warm swill that Jesus said made Him want to vomit it out of His mouth.

  5. Catholic Mom says:

    Sarah — it’s crystal clear to you, so of course you necessarily think it’s crystal clear to everybody else. It’s not clear how crystal clear it is though.

    When I discuss divorce with Protestants, for example, it sometimes seems to me that their mind set undercuts the entire Christian worldview in terms of the relationship of man to woman, Christian to Christian, Jesus to the Church, and a lot of other central elements of the Gospel, including sin and repentance.

    Of course we can be ‘on the same playing field” when we’re discussing things like “is adultery grounds for divorce? what should be done in the case of an abusive relationship? what if the spouse is permanently non compos mentis, what if the couple should probably have never gotten married in the first place? etc.” But a lot of the time the Protestant view (and I’ve heard it expressed pretty much this way on Stand Firm) is “Divorce is a sin. We are all sinners. It is a terrible sin when a man puts away his wife (or woman her husband) and takes another. But Jesus forgives and so must we. The sinning party should repent and express contrition. And then move on with their life. And we should let them. (Possibly ordain them while we’re at it.) Because that’s what Jesus would want us to do.”

    Hamlet’s uncle Claudius, wanting to pray for forgiveness for the crimes by which he obtained his brother’s kingdom and his brother’s wife asks “May one be pardoned and retain the offense?” He concludes that he cannot seek forgiveness while he still retains his crown and his queen, which, of course, he has no intention of giving up. This is not even a perfect metaphor for divorce, because renouncing the throne and leaving Gertrude (even if Claudius wanted to, which he doesn’t) couldn’t bring Hamlet’s father back to life.

    Do I think gay activist are deliberately destroying Christian churches and undermining the Gospel? Yes. Do I think a lot of Christians, when they swallow the anti-Gospel divorce party line hook line and sinker, do the same thing? Yes. And the effects on society have been infinitely more devastating. So no, to me, while the fact that these are different issues is “crystal clear” the fact that gay marriage is a non-starter for Christians but divorce is just one of those things that we debate while standing on the same playing field is not immediately clear.

  6. Sarah says:

    RE: “it’s crystal clear to you, so of course you necessarily think it’s crystal clear to everybody else.”

    Yes, I do — to everybody [including you], but the disinterested moderates and uninformed and they don’t think enough or care enough to have any kind of opinion at all. The gay activists know exactly what they’re doing with Holy Scripture and the Christian faith — and they’re doing it deliberately, calculatedly, and maliciously.

    As to the rest of your comment. . . .

    Yes, I agree that Protestants and RCs don’t agree about a very important issue.

    Yes, I agree that various un-informed, shallow folks who purport to be Christians — both RCs and Protestants — have cavalierly adopted all sorts of secular viewpoints and are inflicting all sorts of devastating effects on society.

  7. MichaelA says:

    “When I discuss divorce with Protestants, for example, it sometimes seems to me that their mind set undercuts the entire Christian worldview …”

    I wouldn’t doubt that, for a moment.

    Mind you, I have exactly the same experience when talking to some Roman Catholics, and some Orthodox. That sometimes includes priests and bishops, not just laity.

  8. Catholic Mom says:

    I know. That was kind of my point.