Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Same sex marriage", natural law, and the gospel (Clark)

R. Scott Clark is not an evangelical culture warrior. In fact he spends a lot of time critiquing the political and social preoccupations of many American evangelicals. That's why I found his commentary on yesterday's court decision striking down California's Proposition 8 more compelling than say, oh, Pat Robertson's. As Clark sees it the fundamental problem is that a society once grounded in natural law is rapidly being transformed into one grounded in libertinism i.e. the absence of any restraint. History teaches us that that trajectory eventually leads, not to genuine freedom, but to chaos and tyranny. Clark writes:

The truth is that humans everywhere know naturally, by virtue of being human, by virtue of being created in imago Dei, that there are fixed moral norms. Moreover, every human knows what those fixed moral norms are (love God and love neighbor). Those norms are inscribed on the conscience of every human (Romans 1-2). Yes, humans, particularly late modern humans, are busily trying to suppress the knowledge of those norms (and of the God who revealed them) but they can no more be finally resisted than an inflated beach ball can remain submerged. Try as we may the beach ball finally slips away from our wet hands and it pops to the surface. So it is with heterosexual and homosexual libertinism. We know what the truth is. We know what reality is but we seem especially hell bent right now to deny what we all know to be true in the service of a perverse, radical, French-Revolutionary resistance to all norms, even creation. It cannot last and if it does any society that so indulges itself cannot last.

However great the social cost of libertinism, its spiritual and personal costs are even greater. The eschatology of libertinism is empty. There’s nothing there. The thrill of random sex and re-creating the nuclear family outside of natural boundaries is intoxicating but what happens the morning after? What’s next after the thrill fades? To what does one turn for the next excitement? The good news is that there is, grace is for sinners of all kinds, homosexual and heterosexual libertines alike. Jesus obeyed and died for libertines. Acceptance with God is free. All libertines of all sorts need do is admit their brokenness, their sin and sinfulness, and need of a Savior. Jesus has always accepted the broken, the dirty, and the needy. The law doesn’t really change but neither does grace. In the end we rely on that fixity, that stability don’t we? As a culture we may be sitting on our Father’s lap slapping him and he may indulge us for a time, but an end will come. Reckon now with reality, including the reality and necessity of sin and salvation. It’s the only way out of the dreadful libertine spiral and the only safety from the wrath to come.

Read the whole thing

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