Thursday, March 3, 2011

Neuhaus' Law Revisited...

Richard John Neuhaus, of blessed memory, is famous for his rule or law:  "Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed."  It seems that we may well be on our way to a slight change in that law to suggest that where Christianity is optional, it will sooner or later be proscribed.

From Touchstone and the MereComments Blog: The Telegraph reports on an UK High Court ruling against a Christian couple who wanted to be foster parents. They were disqualified because they couldn't not tell a child that a homosexual lifestyle was acceptable.  The judges had stated that "biblical Christian beliefs may be 'inimical' to children, and implicitly upheld an Equalities and Human Rights Commission (ECHC) submission that children risk being 'infected' by Christian moral beliefs".   The [Christian Legal Centre] said the judgment summary "sends out the clear message that orthodox Christian ethical beliefs are potentially harmful to children and that Christian parents with mainstream Christian views are not suitable to be considered as potential foster parents".

From Al Mohler:  Attorney General Eric Holder informed Congress yesterday that President Obama had ordered the Department of Justice to cease all efforts to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in the courts. The announcement came without public warning, even as the administration was dealing with an international crisis in Libya and a political showdown over unions in Wisconsin.
The Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] emerged in 1996 as at least one state — Hawaii — indicated the very real possibility that it would vote to approve same-sex marriage. The Act makes clear that no state can require any other state to recognize a same-sex marriage, and that the federal government is prohibited from extending marital benefits to same-sex couples. The Senate approved the measure by a vote of 85 to 14. In the House of Representatives, the vote was 342 to 67. Faced with such overwhelming congressional support, President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law.But 1996 was a long time ago, politically and culturally speaking. President Obama vigorously and repeatedly declared his opposition to DOMA during the presidential campaign of 2008. 

Churches will find little support from the law or the government when it comes to defending positions that conflict with the progressive beliefs of the social justice movement.  Although the issue is same sex marriage and homosexuality in general, other issues will soon replace these as this movement for radical social change marches on.  Euthanasia,  assisted suicide, abortion, genetic engineering of babies, reproductive technology in general, stem cell research, etc... these are all issues in which orthodox Christianity may find itself the enemy of the state whose opinions mirror a secular agenda in which the particularity of life and the family order are exchanged for a values neutral world (except to insist that all opinions/stances/orientations are equal).

I am no doomsday prophet but it would be foolish not to consider how these things will impact the status of the church before the world and the work of the church on behalf of Christ.  We have lived under the illusion of being not only a protected estate before the Law but also a preferred perspective by the nation and its people.  That illusion has surely been shattered by events such as those reported above.  Maybe it is true that what we thought was only an illusion of reality, a false perception of friendliness between culture and Christianity, but how many people my age would have thought that at this time in history Christianity would be seen by many as an enemy of culture, education, science, and justice?  At this point in our history, it is even more important that we not soften or adjust the message of the cross but speak even more clearly and boldly the truth of the Scriptures in love.  As much as these indicate that we may find ourselves an unpopular minority, it also indicates that the message we preach and teach is needed now more than ever.


Paul said...

What irony that this Christian couple in the UK would most likely be the best foster parents for confused and hurting young people. More evidence of appalling ignorance of true Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Galatians 1:4 "The Lord Jesus Christ
who gave himself for our sins and to
deliver us from THE PRESENT EVIL AGE"

Martin Luther in his commentary says
that the present world system is in
contrast to the age to come which is
eternity in heaven for the Christian.
This age of the present time is evil
because it is subject to the evil of
the devil who rules the entire world.

The world is called the kingdom of
the devil, for there is nothing in
it but ignorance, contempt,
blasphemy, hatred of God and
disobedience of the words of God.

Anonymous said...

The last book Richard John Neuhaus
wrote was "American Babylon: Notes
of a Christian Exile" (2009)

This book is his magnum opus as far
as what it means to live in a culture
which has disregard for Christian
and Biblical morals which transcend
the political arena. This book is
a MUST READ for any theologian pastor
living in the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

I'm posting this anonymously as what I'm writing of is personal:

Especially in regards to foster care, make no mistake: this is not far off in the United States either. Almost every state (in fact, probably all, but I don't know that for a fact) requires that their foster caregivers subscribe to a tolerance statement that basically requires them (the caregivers) to not judge *any* sinful behavior, including homosexuality, abortion, etc. Also, the caregivers cannot in *any* way change the culture of the foster child in their care - in other words, unless you child was already a Christian, you cannot legally take them to church with you.

Currently many Christian families (and organizations that participate in the foster care system) look the other way on this. But it's only one lawsuit away from removing Christians from this process of serving our neighbor.

Personally, it was very painful as my wife and I recognized that this was not a situation we could ethically agree to. It's also very painful to see the world so quickly abandoning the truth of natural law in order to push its progressive ideology.

Rev. Allen Bergstrazer said...

'He who testifies to these things says' Yes, I am coming soon."
Amen. Come Lord Jesus.'